Clinton Lake, Illinois, USA

Also known as:  Clinton Reservoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Clinton Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Clinton Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Clinton Lake

Travel to central Illinois and you’ll find Clinton Lake, a 4,900 acre lake just 3 miles east of Clinton. Though the lake was originally built as a cooling tank for the Clinton Nuclear Generation Station, the reservoir pulls double duty as one of the area’s premier vacation destinations.

Open since 1978, Clinton Lake is a fantastic game fish lake, with an unofficial specialization in catfish. Anglers launch their boats from any of of the lake’s six launch sites, or cast off the special piers at the Mascoutin Access Area, Spillway Access Area, and Valley Mill Bank Fishing Area. Pier anglers are likely to catch crappie, while those trolling in boats hook hybrid bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and striped bass, in addition to the lake’s signature catfish. Other fishermen tend to head to the lake’s bridges, where they often reel in stripers and walleye.

Boating is also popular at Clinton Lake, and every boater can find a place here. The upper arms of the lake are no wake areas, providing excellent opportunities for canoeists and kayakers. Those who love to open up the motor and feel the breeze in their hair head to the main channel, where there are no horsepower limitations and plenty of space to have a bit of fun. Sail boaters take advantage of strong breezes to enjoy the lake’s natural scenery.

With the warm sun on your skin, eventually you’ll want to take a refreshing break in the cool waters of Clinton Lake. Luckily for swimmers, a 1000-foot white sand beach paints part of the shoreline, providing the perfect location for sunbathers, swimmers, and picnickers looking to enjoy a relaxing afternoon.

Nature lovers also find plenty to do at the lake, with miles of hiking trails winding their way through the natural beauty. Clinton Lake Recreation Area features three hiking trails, between 5 and 10 miles each. Houseboat Cove Trail stretches 5 miles long, running north of the beach and through the woods. North Fork Trail, at a more challenging 9.3 miles, will weave you through forest, up and down hills, and offer unbelievable vistas. Lastly, a 10-mile equestrian/cross country skiing trail lies at the north side of Clinton Lake, providing wider trails and beautiful views.

Clinton Lake is a place where natural beauty combines with modern conveniences to give visitors the best of both worlds. If you’re looking for a beautiful escape, take time to visit and enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures.

Things to Do at Clinton Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding

Fish Species Found at Clinton Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Walleye

Find Places to Stay at Clinton Lake

If you’re considering a Clinton Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Clinton Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Clinton Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Clinton Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Excelon Corporation

Surface Area: 4,900 acres

Shoreline Length: 130 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 690 feet

Average Depth: 15 feet

Maximum Depth: 40 feet

Completion Year: 1978

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop Clinton Lake Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


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