Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Illinois - Chicagoland -

Crystal Lake, in the Chicagoland Region of Illinois, is a water playground surrounded by a decidedly urban landscape. Located in the Chicago Northwest suburbs, Crystal Lake is easy to get to and a great place to live. An easy commute via train makes Crystal Lake the ideal spot for a working vacation. One of many glacial lakes in the area, Crystal Lake gains most of its water from springs bubbling up from the aquifer. The lake was named in 1835 by a man named Beardsley who remarked that the water was a clear as crystal. Beardsley moved on, but the name stuck. The first settlers arrived in 1836 by covered wagon from New York state and the area was quickly settled, with farming the primary enterprise.

Located a few miles west of the Fox River, Crystal Lake attracted the same adventurous residents the many other lakes did; hunting and fishing were the first lake-area activities. Inns and cottages for visitors were soon established. By the 1920s, the area saw many visitors of less than stellar character: the criminal element that thrived during the ‘Roaring Twenties’ appeared to find Crystal Lake attractive for their nefarious business activities. The era of gangland lawlessness soon passed, however, and the Crystal Lake area settled into the safe, low-crime upscale community that it is today.

Fishing is always popular at Crystal Lake. A local angler’s club organizes fishing events both at Crystal Lake and at other area lakes. Some of the sport fish species found in the lake are bluegill, channel catfish, largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye, white crappie and yellow perch. The Crystal Lake Anglers also arrange for regular stocking of the lake and work to protect and improve water quality. In winter, the lake is visited by ice fishermen who brave the cold for an opportunity to indulge in their favorite sport year round.

The shoreline of Crystal Lake is heavily developed with private homes. The village of Crystal Lake acquired three properties on the lake that have been developed as community parks. Some of the amenities provided at the Main Beach Park include an annual Cardboard Cup Regatta, an auto show and ‘water-ski spectacular’ weekend, and a fishing tournament. Boat rentals are available along with a fishing pier, boat launch, swimming, picnic area, playground, basketball courts, ball diamonds and groomed ice skating in winter. At the opposite end of the lake, West Park provides another public beach, ice fishing access, playground, regular fishing derbies produced by the Crystal Lake Anglers Club, and another boat launch. Nearby, Naoki Kamijima Park provides yet another fishing pier, a boathouse used by the municipal rowing club, and a playground. These facilities assure that every area resident has access to the lake for their choice of chosen activities even if they don’t own lakefront. An all-sports lake, Crystal Lake sees much use by visitors and residents who water ski, jet ski, pontoon, power boat, sail, wakeboard, kayak and canoe. Lakefront residents have the advantage of their own docks and can go for a quiet early-morning paddle or a twilight pontoon trip around the 228-acre lake. A summer barbecue on the deck overlooking the lake is the time-honored way to entertain visitors and neighbors.

There is never a shortage of activities near Crystal Lake. Just north of the lake, 310-acre Lippold Park offers an 18-hole disc golf course, softball, soccer, football and baseball fields, a dog park, sand volleyball, more than five+ miles of biking/walking trails, 60 acres of ponds and wetlands, fishing piers, picnic shelter, playground, miniature golf, putting green, driving range, pro-shop and golf lessons. Several other parks and reserves in the area offer public access for hiking, nature viewing and bird watching. Those wishing adventure farther afield can bike or hike the Fox River Trail that begins in Crystal Lake and travels south all the way to Aurora. Barely six miles to the east, the serious boater can access the Fox Waterway near McHenry and cruise the entire Fox Chain of Lakes. Golf courses are also plentiful around Crystal Lake.

For indoor activities, this area is rich in urban conveniences; within five miles of Crystal Lake there are movie theaters, performance arts venues, historical museums, restored period homes, grocery stores and shopping malls. A wide variety of restaurants and nightclubs exist to suit everyone’s tastes. And serious shoppers will want to take the Metro into Chicago where they can find every possible type of shopping. Chicago offers a wide variety of evening entertainment, museums and galleries of every sort.

Lucky visitors may be able to find lakefront vacation rentals, including private homes, townhomes, and condos. Monthly rentals are more common. Bed and breakfast lodging is also available in the area. A variety of real estate can be found near the lake, and sometimes on the lakefront itself. A visit to Crystal Lake will convince you that you need to stake your claim to a spot near the shoreline. Once the children see the beach, the playground and the activities they can engage in, they’ll beg to come back again and again. So, hop on the train bound for Crystal Lake . . .you’ll be home before you know it!

Things to do at Crystal Lake IL

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Golf
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Hunting
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Miniature Golf
  • Movie Theater
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Crystal Lake IL

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • White Crappie
  • Yellow Perch

Crystal Lake IL Photo Gallery

Crystal Lake IL Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 228 acres

Shoreline Length: 2 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 890 feet

Maximum Depth: 41 feet

Lake Area-Population: 38,000

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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