Third Lake and Druce Lake, Illinois, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Illinois - Chicagoland -

Also known as:  Chittenden Lake and Second Lake

The Village of Third Lake, located north of Chicago, is one of those secret locations that blends life in the big city with outdoor amenities. Small Druce Lake, named after Alexander Druce who came from New York state to purchase property in 1844, was originally called ‘Second Lake”. Just west of Druce Lake is Third Lake, originally named Chittenden Lake.

Druce Lake is entirely within the Village of Third Lake, along with the eastern part of Third Lake. Both provide water recreation and fun to residents and invited guests throughout the four seasons. Not quite a part of the Fox River Chain of Lakes, the surrounding area is liberally sprinkled with glacial pothole lakes and accompanying wetlands. Third Lake covers 157 acres while Druce Lake encompasses 89 acres. Both are natural lakes, although Third Lake has a small water control spillway at the outlet. Neither lake is open to the public, although boat launches and water access are available to village residents via permit and key system.

This inviting water wonderland, less than 50 miles from Chicago, became popular as a resort area early in the 1800s. Once the railroad passed nearby, resort hotels and amusements were built on nearly every lake in the area. As late as 1940, Druce Lake supported an Association Camp that apparently shared space between private cottages and church-operated facilities. The resorts and camps are gone now. In their stead are year-round homes, condos and summer cottages. The railroad has become the Metra, part of northern Illinois’ excellent mass transit system serving the Chicago area. Convenient travel makes the Third Lake area an ideal bedroom community for Chicago’s North Side.

The shoreline along Druce Lake is nearly all residential property. The southern shoreline of Third Lake is part of the Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve with the rest holding numerous private homes. Off-shore residents may obtain keys to Village boat docks and swimming beach from the Village Office. Gasoline motors are not allowed on Druce lake, and boat permits must be obtained from the Village. Such restrictions protect natural vegetation along the shore and prevent unnecessary erosion from the wake of power boating. The no-wake speed limits assure Druce Lake will remain a quiet venue for canoeing, kayaking and rowing. Third Lake does permit gasoline motors, but regulations are in place to assure a harmonious lakefront community. With a maximum depth of 65 feet, Third Lake is the deepest lake in the area.

Fishing on both lakes is excellent. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources fish survey shows that largemouth bass and bluegill are the most common species. Black crappie and northern pike are also caught. Both lakes are ideal spots to teach children to fish or simply enjoy the flora and fauna around a Midwest natural lake. Ice fishing takes over when the lake freezes and provides endless hours of fishing fun for hardy souls. A narrow channel connects Druce Lake to Third Lake just across the narrow peninsula. Both lakes can be accessed from the Village dock. Anglers should check the Illinois Fish Consumption Advisories if they plan on eating many meals of locally-caught fish.

Although the atmosphere surrounding the Village of Third Lake is peaceful, the area is neither isolated nor difficult to access. Only eight miles west of Gurnee, modern shopping and services may be found a short distance away. Many visitors come to enjoy the specialty shops at Gurnee Mills Mall. Six Flags Great America Amusement Park still possesses some of the world’s best and fastest roller coasters. There is no shortage of local restaurants and shopping along US highway 45, and nearby Greyslake provides nearly all of the services one might desire, including hotel and motel accommodations, movie theatres, hair stylists, skate parks, playgrounds and video game facilities.

Those wishing for more outdoor activities can make the short trip to Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve, just west of Third Lake. The Preserve is the largest in Lake County, encompassing 1,216 unbroken acres of trails, woodlands, ponds and wetlands on the north, south and west of Third Lake. Teeming with wildlife and wildflowers of riotous colors, 5.5 miles of trails, bridges and boardwalks encircles the site. The multi-use trail is open for bicycling, hiking, cross-country skiing and nature observation. Birding is a popular pastime as the wetlands provide excellent habitat for ruddy ducks, blue-winged teal, great blue herons, egrets and a variety of waterfowl species. In winter, snowmobile trails can be accessed from the preserve.

One of the must-see locations near the Village of Third Lake is the New Gracanica Monastery and Church just north of the lake. The Serbian Orthodox Church is a scaled replica of the original Gracanica in Kosovo. The original church is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as an endangered example of medieval monuments. Built 18 percent larger than the original, the entire inside of the structure is decorated in traditional iconic fresco painting by Polish-American artist Fr. Theodore Jurewicz. The spectacular artworks in the Byzantine style cover walls, pillars, dome and vaults of the church, while ornate carved doors depict 23 monasteries and churches in areas of Serbia. This is an operational congregation so those wishing to visit should contact the office to find out the particulars, or visit during one of the festivals that are open to the public.

Private vacation rentals are available at Third Lake and Druce Lake by the week or season, and real estate is often available with lake frontage and lake views. There is no longer a public campground on the shore, but tent and RV accommodations are available at other nearby lakes. Commercial lodgings in the form of hotels and motels can also be found in the area. It’s a comfortable train ride from the Village down to the Loop, making both lakes the perfect location to become a resident Lake Lubber. Come check out the Village of Third Lake.

*Statistics are for Third Lake only.

Things to do at Third Lake and Druce Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Playground
  • Amusement Park
  • Movie Theater
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Third Lake and Druce Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Pike
  • Sunfish

Third Lake and Druce Lake Photo Gallery

Third Lake and Druce Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Surface Area: 157 acres

Shoreline Length: 2 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 764 feet

Average Depth: 20 feet

Maximum Depth: 65 feet

Water Volume: 3,079 acre-feet

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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