Lake Carroll, Illinois, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Illinois - Northern -

Lake Carroll is a sparkling freshwater lake located in Carroll County, in the northwest corner of Illinois. This private body of water sits in the middle of an exclusive residential community nestled in the state’s Northern tourism region. Monitored and maintained by the Lake Carroll Association, it has a surface area of 636 acres and an average depth of 20 feet.

Conveniently situated just two hours from Chicago and 20 minutes from the Mississippi River, Lake Carroll offers a variety of year-round fun for visitors of all ages. Land activities include golfing, ATV cruising, snowmobiling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and hiking along 15 miles of designated trails. Water sports are equally as popular, particularly swimming and sailing. Other entertainment pursuits include boating, water skiing, and fishing. Anglers especially seek bluegill, gizzard shad, and brook silverside, as they are the most common species found in the lake; however, largemouth and smallmouth bass are also fair game.

A number of facilities are available for members at Lake Carroll, including an 18-hole golf course, campground, clubhouse, ski hill and tennis courts. For nature enthusiasts, a fish hatchery, aquarium, and local nature center — featuring stuffed specimens of local animals (don’t miss the full-grown bear) — are at visitors’ disposal. Camping enthusiasts take advantage of amenities like showers, playgrounds, and RV storage areas. Various boat launches and a small bait store make access to fishing resources easy for residents and their guests.

North of Lake Carroll you’ll find Castle Rock State Park, named for an enormous sandstone cliff on the Rock River. This river was originally called the “Sinnissippi,” or “rocky river,” by the first native inhabitants to occupy the area. The 710-acre Castle Rock Preserve was unofficially designated a protected zone back in 1921, but not technically declared so until 1978. Hunting, boating, and angling are fantastic at the park. Fishing along the riverbank yields abundant catfish, along with less copious bass, crappie, and walleye.

Twenty minutes west of Lake Carroll lies the Mississippi Palisades State Park, named for a series of dramatic cliffs lining the Mississippi River. This unique park is also characterized by its striking ravines and mysterious caves. An assortment of birds call the Palisades their home, like woodpeckers, wild turkeys, and eagles. Deer, skunk, badger, muskrat, red fox, and mink are just a few of the mammals to dwell in this isolated habitat. Boaters love the fact that the river has no engine limit; and fisherman adore the carp, catfish, bluegill, and bass commonly fished here. Additionally, 10 trails make up the reserve’s 15-mile hiking system — the most difficult being the precipitous southern loops. Less strenuous routes include the High Point Trail (3.5 miles) and the Aspen Trail (1.9 miles); the easiest walking paths are Ozzie’s point, Louis’ Point, and Lookout Point.

Just to the north of Mississippi Palisades State Park, about a 30 minutes from Lake Carroll, you’ll find one of the oldest parks in Illinois: the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge. Composed of 240,000 acres of forest and wetlands, the refuge is home to numerous birds and aquatic plants and animals. Navigable pools created by eleven locks and dams maintain the vulnerable habitat belonging to these species and thousands of others. The park features three amazing hiking trails: the Great River State Trail (six miles) is an easy trek, perfect for walking, biking, and – during the winter – snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing; the Goose Island Interpretive Trail (one mile) stretches for a single, scenic mile; Sturgeon Slough (0.8 miles) is even shorter, but can become quite slippery after a hard rain.

Lake Carroll is the perfect place to enjoy nature at its finest. Gorgeous lakefront vacation rentals are just right for nature lovers looking for a respite from hectic city life. For those looking to extend their stay indefinitely, real estate property is also available. Outdoor enthusiasts should not miss out on the beauty, seclusion and tranquility unique to this Illinois treasure.

Things to do at Lake Carroll

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Playground

Fish species found at Lake Carroll

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Gizzard Shad
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Shad
  • Silverside
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sturgeon
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Lake Carroll Photo Gallery

Lake Carroll Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Lake Carroll Association

Surface Area: 636 acres

Shoreline Length: 16 miles

Average Depth: 20 feet

Maximum Depth: 55 feet

Completion Year: 1974

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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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