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Lake Information for Clinton Lake


Clinton Lake is a 4,900 acres (19.8 km2) lake located in Clinton, Illinois. The lake is a part of the Clinton Lake State Recreation Area, which encompasses 9,300 acres (37.6 km2). Clinton Lake is located in the central part of the state. It was built in the 1970s as a cooling source for Clinton Nuclear Generating Station. The lake opened in 1978. Clinton Lake is one of the best lakes for catfish, and other gamefish. There is a 1,000 ft (300 m) long white sand beach on the lake.

Facilities and Parks: 

Boating power is unrestricted on the main body of the lake, and the upper arm of the lake is reserved as a no-wake area and some limited areas are reserved for electric trolling motors. There are six boat launches on the lake, as well as one canoe launch.

Fishing Description: 

Tackle-smashing tiger muskies and exciting hybrid striped bass had east-central Illinois fishermen talking not long after Clinton Lake opened to the public for fishing in August of 1979.

It also has evolved into an excellent fishery that provides good, largemouth bass, walleye, crappie, and channel cat fishing. An occasional smallmouth bass and bluegill also are taken there.

More hybrid stripers have been stocked since the original release of 200,000 fish in 1978, and anglers have caught them both in the main lake and in the tailwaters below the spillway. These fish should reach 10 pounds or better at maturity.

Fishing Tips, Tactics, How-To info: 

Both artificial lures and crawdads have been good in catching these hard-fighting fish that run like a truck after being hooked. Three areas at the lake generally produce these fish; stretches near the dam, an underwater hump close to the West Side Access area, and breaklines near what formerly was an old, gravel pit or quarry.

Bucktail spinners are good for tiger muskies, some of which approach 20 pounds. Weedbeds and underwater bars are good spots to probe for this great predatory fish. Occasionally a relaxing, crappie fisherman receives a thrill of a lifetime when a muskiefish grabs a minnow. Anglers casting for bass also have a chance of hooking one of these fish, a cross between a northern pike and a genuine muskellunge.

Largemouth bass fishing has steadily improved at the lake since it opened with many of the fish coming on spinner and crank baits or plastic worms from points, coves, shoreline cover and areas of rip rap.

Excellent catches of channel cat also have been made since the lake opened, but this fishery often is overlooked by many anglers. The North Fork arm channels, and flooded timber areas, have been good spots for this fish. A variety of baits have been successful.

Like elsewhere, spring and fall produce the best crappie action, especially during April and May when the fish generally spawn at the lake. Areas of flooded brush and timber are good for this popular panfish.

Flats, shoreline, rocky shelves, points and areas of rip rap have yielded most of the walleyes at the lake. Jigs, minnows and other artificial lures have produced. Periodic releases of these fish have been made since the original stocking. Occasionally they provide good action for fishermen in the tailwaters below the dam.

Channel Catfish
Largemouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass
Optional Information
Maximum depth: 
Surface area: 
Clinton Lake
Lake type: 

Businesses Located Nearby

Boat Rental

    Can Do Canoe Rental
  • - Champaign, IL
  • (217) 835-2563
    Canoes Etc
  • 630 E Polk St - Morton, IL
  • (309) 266-9670

Vacation Rental

Bar and Restaurant

    Pappy's Bar & Restaurant
  • 1880 N Brush College Rd - Decatur, IL
  • (217) 423-0722
    Ju Ju's Sports Bar & Restaurant
  • 525 N Center St - Bloomington, IL
  • (309) 827-4178
    Jibby's Bar & Restaurant
  • 19 N Main St - Sullivan, IL
  • (217) 728-7112

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