Lake Galena, Illinois, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Illinois - Northern -

Also known as:  Galena Lake, Galena Reservoir

Tucked in a corner of the Northern Region of Illinois, Lake Galena presents one of the finest examples of a well-planned manmade lake. Galena Reservoir, as it is also known, was created when developers dammed Smallpox River with an eye toward building an exclusive residential complex. With foresight not commonly seen in housing developments, the resulting 225-acre Lake Galena was planned as a celebration of the water – and the woods and fields surrounding it. The shoreline is primarily set aside as greenway owned by the Galena Territory Association for all residents to enjoy. Nature trails and a riding stable urge residents to get outside and enjoy the woods, wildflowers and native wildlife. Residential lots are sprawling and the housing upscale. A private marina provides docking space for homeowner’s boats. A clubhouse offers all of the community amenities one would expect in such an exclusive development. The beautiful, crystal-clear lake acts as the focal point of the entire Galena Territory. As a crowning touch, an idyllic resort and spa complex sporting 63 holes of golf occupies a portion of the southern shore.

Smallpox Creek drains into the Mississippi River less than ten miles to the west. The completion of the dam created a lovely 40-foot waterfall at the outlet, much to the enjoyment of local residents. Although the water is 50 feet deep at the dam, most of the lake averages around 12 feet – perfect for a variety of fish. And fishing is the most favored activity at Galena Territory. Lake Galena boasts some of the best fishing in the area; the water holds an abundance of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, channel catfish, perch, bluegills, and tiger muskies. A fish cleaning station is provided. The Association works with State officials to assure optimum water quality and make sure fish are stocked regularly. There is no public access to the lake – it is reserved for property owners, their guests, and guests at the resort. To encourage a tranquil setting and reduce shoreline erosion, no boat motors are allowed over 10 horsepower. Neither water skiing nor jet skiing is permitted. Pontoons and fishing boats are available for rent at the marina; boats are limited to 17 feet and under. Canoeing and kayaking are enjoyed, as is sailing. Swimming is restricted to the outdoor swimming pools at the Owner’s Club Complex. Private docks are also prohibited, keeping the shoreline natural and inviting to a variety of waterfowl and birds such as eagles, owls, ospreys, blue herons, and wild turkeys.

The 6,800-acre Galena Territory contains over 1,500 acres of protected recreational land. The walking and hiking trails travel through wildflowers and woods as do the bridle paths. The natural areas are home to a variety of animals including white tail deer, beavers, coyotes, and fox. In winter, there are plenty of areas available for sledding and cross-country skiing. Ice fishing and ice skating are enjoyed on the lake. The Owners’ Club Complex includes meeting rooms, game room, video arcade, gymnasium, kids’ play equipment, banquet and party facilities, outdoor swimming pools, an activity center and tennis courts. A picnic area with grills, a badminton court, horseshoe pits and volley ball nets are available on the sandy beach. Organized activities for adults, children and families occur year-round and include such things as children’s art projects, field trips to historical sites in the surrounding area, and holiday parties. No one need ever be bored at Lake Galena.

The Galena Territory development takes its name from the historic city of Galena only five miles away. The historic city contains a variety of restored buildings and attractions dating to Galena’s founding as a lead mining capital. Most daily shopping and entertainment facilities can be found in Galena, with snowboarding, skiing and sleigh rides provided during the winter months. Many shops and art galleries make Galena a tourist mecca all year long. The annual Galena Triathlon and Duathlon draw hundreds of participants and spectators every summer. Only 20 miles from Lake Galena, the city of Dubuque, Iowa towers on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi. The oldest city in Iowa, founded in 1788, Dubuque sits at the junction of Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois with a history of river lore, early settlers, colleges and seminaries. Simply touring the many historic and restored buildings could take several days. One interesting attraction is the Fenelon Place elevator. Described as the world’s shortest, steepest scenic railway – 296 feet in length, the cable cars on rails elevate passengers 189 feet from Fourth Street to Fenelon Place. The ‘elevator’ was actually built for a wealthy banker in the mid-1800s who wished to avoid the slow ride home around the bluff for lunch. When visitors see the towering bluff, they quickly understand the sentiment.

Also at Dubuque, the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium holds a preserved sternwheeler which is available for cruises, demonstrations of early dredging equipment, aquariums featuring river species such as giant catfish and nature exhibits with otters, ducks, turtles, reptiles, frogs and other river-swelling species. Interactive exhibits explain the history of the Mississippi and its place in the life of those who settled along the river. From Dubuque, many historic areas across the river in Wisconsin are quickly reached, such as a Cornish miner’s colony at Pendarvis near Mineral Point or the Potosi Brewery National Brewery Museum established in 1852. All are within a 50-mile radius of Lake Galena.

Vacation rentals are sometimes available on Lake Galena, usually with a stunning view of the lake. Several private residences can be found with weekly or monthly lease. Bed-and breakfasts are available around Galena as are hotels and inns. The resort and spa have daily and weekly rentals with all the amenities of a high-end villa and is particularly attractive for the golfing family. Real estate is often offered with lake views in Galena Territory. A week here can provide all of the activities everyone in the family desires. So come enjoy the unique surroundings of Galena Lake. One week can easily become a lifetime – or a lifestyle.

Things to do at Lake Galena

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming Pool
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lake Galena

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Walleye

Lake Galena Photo Gallery

    Lake Galena Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Galena Territory Association

    Surface Area: 225 acres

    Shoreline Length: 7 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 710 feet

    Average Depth: 12 feet

    Maximum Depth: 50 feet

    Completion Year: 1975

    Drainage Area: 16 sq. miles

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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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