Lake Petersburg, Illinois, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Illinois - Central -

Also known as:  Petersburg Lake, Petersburg Reservoir

Something in human nature seems to require a water body to feel complete: Lake Petersburg fills that need. The people of Petersburg on the border between Illinois’ Central and Western Regions felt the lack and created a lake. Lovely Lake Petersburg was created two miles south of the town of Petersburg in 1963 to provide a home for lake lovers in the area. Completed without financial assistance from either State or Federal government, Lake Petersburg is wholly-owned by the Lake Petersburg Association of property owners for their enjoyment. Nearly 200 acres of water provide recreation, fishing and waterfront enjoyment for those that have built homes and cottages along the water’s edge.

Petersburg lies in prairie lands dotted with corn and soybean fields. Here in the nation’s breadbasket, families remain in the same area for generations. This is the land that produced Abraham Lincoln. It does not produce lakes, however. Water here is always on the move, just passing through, in the creeks and rivers that drain the prairie. Perhaps that’s why the city fathers were so immediately enthusiastic when the idea was proposed to build a reservoir to attract new housing development. The idea quickly took root and grew rapidly: within five years, the property had been obtained, the dam across an intermittent tributary stream finished, fish stocked and lots starting to sell. Land was leased at the west end of the lake for a golf course. Homes were built, building covenants were drawn up and a lake community was born. Lake Petersburg became a vital part of the central Illinois geography.

Lake Petersburg portrays perfectly the benefits of a carefully-planned lake community. All housing is connected to public sewer. City water is purchased from the town of Petersburg. Boat houses and boat docks meet regulated requirements and wetland areas along the many coves and inlets are protected. Waterfowl and wetland flora and fauna call the shoreline home. Only property owners and their guests are permitted use of the lake. An all-sports lake, all types of watercraft except jet skis are permitted, although reasonable size restrictions are in place. The lake is used for sailing, water skiing, tubing, wind-surfing, canoeing, kayaking, pontooning and swimming. Scuba diving is permitted in designated areas. Fishing is a favored pastime, with black bullhead, sauger, black crappie, bluegill, white crappie, carp, yellow perch, channel catfish,flathead catfish, green sunfish, largemouth bass and redear sunfish all caught. State of Illinois fishing regulations apply. There is no public access and anyone using the lake must have a permit issued to the property owner. The American Legion has built a meeting facility on the lake that is used for community meetings and events. The Association plans occasional family activities and orchestrates a July 4th fireworks display over the water each year. Lake Petersburg is a great place to live.

Lake Petersburg is not the only attraction found in the area: just south of the lake, Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site is a reconstruction of the village where Abraham Lincoln spent his early adulthood. Besides camping and nature trails there are historic building reproductions,where craftsmen recreate early village life. A Chautauqua series of performances and Theatre in the Park portray the type of mid 19th century daily life and community entertainment a young Lincoln might have experienced. Check the website for schedules and performance information.

Only 20 miles to the southeast, the Illinois capital of Springfield offers the big-city attractions and opportunities missing at the quiet country lake. Springfield is well-supplied with shopping, arts and entertainment facilities. The Route 66 “Mother Road” is celebrated here with several preserved facilities as would have been common on a 1950s road trip. Here you can visit a gas station museum with it’s full-service charm, antique fixtures and the necessary accessories to accomplish road travel before the era of the interstate highway. Be sure to drop in at the diner and get a hot-dog-on-a-stick. Springfield even has a twin-screen drive-in theater to complete a nostalgic day. Springfield is well-supplied with museums to suit every interest, starting with the Illinois State Museum’s archaeological finds, including dinosaur bones. A Fire Museum exhibits antique fire fighting equipment, including a horse-drawn, hand-pumping water tanker. There is even a Museum of Funeral Customs! And, of course, the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. There are many fine tours of historic buildings and even a walking tour commemorating the 1908 race riot that resulted in the deaths of seven persons.

A favorite attraction for the entire family is an action park with two golf courses, batting cages, go-kart track, kiddie rides, 1930s Ferris wheel and water park. Hoagland Center For The Arts offers a full schedule of performances of interest to adults. And the entire family can enjoy the activities surrounding Lake Springfield, a 4200-acre municipal reservoir with eight public parks, Henson Robinson Zoo, Lincoln Memorial Garden, swimming, fishing, boating and golf. Springfield has a full compliment of choices in restaurants, nightlife and lodgings for your Central Illinois vacation.

Vacation rentals at Lake Petersburg may be difficult to find, at least right on the lakefront. Occasionally, private rentals are available in the surrounding area, often as bed-and-breakfasts. And commercial-type lodgings are found in the larger cities in the area. Real estate is often listed for sale around Lake Petersburg, many times with lake frontage. A spot on Lake Petersburg may be just what you’ve been searching for. But you’ll never know until you visit here. Come and see if Lake Peterson holds a home for you.

Things to do at Lake Petersburg

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wind Surfing
  • Tubing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Museum
  • Drive-in Theater
  • Antiquing
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lake Petersburg

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Bullhead
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker)
  • Sauger
  • Sunfish
  • White Crappie
  • Yellow Perch

Lake Petersburg Photo Gallery

    Lake Petersburg Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Lake Petersburg Association

    Surface Area: 191 acres

    Shoreline Length: 15 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 581 feet

    Average Depth: 24 feet

    Maximum Depth: 65 feet

    Water Volume: 4,310 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1963

    Water Residence Time: 3.9 yrs

    Drainage Area: 2 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

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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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