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Clinton Lake

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Great fishing day the Lord Blessed us to limit out on Crappies for the first time on Clinton lake, I kept 15 crappies 10" to 12" 1 4lb channel c... Continued


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Description: 

Clinton Lake is a Reservoir in De Witt, Illinois.

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Clinton Lake is a 4,900 acres lake located in Clinton, Illinois. The lake is a part of the Clinton Lake State Recreation Area, which encompasses 9,300 acres. 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 long white sand beach on the lake.

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.

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.

Recreational Activities: 

The State Park has picnicking, hiking, camping, swimming, water skiing, boating, and and hunting for upland game. People from all over the Midwest flock to Clinton Lake to enjoy the great outdoors.

Facilities and Parks: 

Day use areas are located around the lake with tables, stoves, water, playground equipment and toilet facilities. They are all accessible to the disabled. Shelters are available at the Mascoutin, Weldon, Lane, West Side and Penninsula access area. Mascoutin, Weldon and Peninsula have electricity. Weldon also has an open, grassy area along the shoreline for softball or fishing. A nearby wooded picnic area provides shaded protection during those long, hot summer days. The West Side Penninsula and Mascoutin areas have great views of the lake. Shelters may be reserved for a fee by calling the park office.

Located close to the swim beach or accessible by car, you will find Mascoutin Grill. This concession, with indoor and outdoor dining, serves sandwiches, beverages, snacks and its ever popular fish dinner. You can also purchase bait, camping supplies and ice. Mascoutin Grill is a seasonal operation open during warm weather.

Camping: 

There are 17 Class AA campsites, 286 Class A campsites and 5 Class B/S campsites at Clinton Lake with showers and almost all are adaptable to either tents, trailers or motor homes. Each site is equipped with a grill and picnic table. Reservations are accepted for a limited number of sites by mail only, phone-in reservations are not accepted. All of camping loops H, I, J and K are alcohol free. The wooded area along the lake provides the perfect setting to turn in after a long day of fun. A group camp area for adults or youth groups has room for 75. It provides a secluded wooded setting and has a large shelter with electricity, three RV pads with electrical hookups, toilets, tables, grills and water there are no shower facilities at the group camp area. Portions of the Class AA, A & Class B/S and the group camp are wheelchair accessible. Please reserve the group campground ahead of time by contacting the park office. The shower buildings are closed by November 1st (may be earlier if bad weather) and reopen May 1st (may be earlier - weather depending).

Boat Ramp: 

There are six boat launches on the lake, as well as one canoe launch.

Address: 

7251 Ranger Road
DeWitt, IL 61735

Directions to Lake: 

I57, north or south bound: I57 to Champaign; exit onto I74 west to Farmer City (approximately 20 miles); exit onto Rt 54 west (left at stop sign at end of exit ramp). Take Rt 54 through Farmer City and proceed approximately 10 miles to DeWitt. Brown informational sign at DeWitt will read "Mascoutin State Recreation Area". Turn left at corner of Rt 54 and Co Hwy 14. Go through DeWitt and proceed approximately 1 mile, park is on the right side of road. Park office is first left after entering park.

I55, south bound: I55 to Bloomington; follow I55 around south side of Bloomington and take I74 east for 2 miles; exit I74 onto Rt 51 south. Take Rt 51 south to Clinton (approximately 20 miles); ignore all Clinton exits and stay on the 4-lane going around town to the 2nd stop light (Rt 54). Turn left and follow Rt 54 through Clinton; proceed approximately 10 miles to DeWitt. Brown informational sign at DeWitt will read "Mascoutin State Recreation Area". Turn right onto Hwy 14 and follow this through DeWitt; proceed approximately 1 mile, the park is on the right side of road. Park office is first left after entering park.

I55, north bound: I55 to north side of Springfield; take exit for Rt 54 east, Clinton. Stay on Rt. 54 to DeWitt (approximately 50 miles). Brown informational sign at DeWitt will read "Mascoutin State Recreation Area". Turn right onto Hwy 14 and follow this through DeWitt; proceed approximately 1 mile, the park is on the right side of road. Park office is first left after entering park.

Rt. 51 north bound: take Rt. 51 north to 2nd stop light at Clinton (Rt. 54); turn right and follow Rt. 54 through Clinton. Continue on Rt. 54 to DeWitt. Brown informational sign at DeWitt will read "Mascoutin State Recreation Area". Turn right onto Hwy 14 and follow this through DeWitt; proceed approximately 1 mile, the park is on the right side of road. Park office is first left after entering park.

Name: 
Clinton Lake
Waterbody type: 
Reservoir
County: 
De Witt
State: 
Illinois
Country: 
United States
Surface area: 
4900.00
Maximum depth: 
40ft
Average depth: 
15ft
Standard elevation: 
190
Latitude: 
40.16
Longitude: 
-88.817