History Of Shabbona Lake

Shabbona Lake State Park is located in Southern DeKalb County, in Northern Illinois, about halfway between Chicago & Rockford. Shabbona Lake, constructed in the early 1970s, is a 318 acre man-made impoundment, with an average depth of 17 feet. It is the first and only lake in Illinois designed just for fishing.

The 6.5 miles of wooded shoreline has 5 earthen fishing piers and a handicap accessible fishing pier. Standing timber was left in the lake basin and it defines the old Indian Creek Bed. 47 fish attractors and 3 major brushpiles were added to the lake basin before it reached pool level on May 3, 1976.

Shabbona Lake opened for fishing on January 1, 1978. The success of the fishery has far exceeded expectations. It has produced 4 State Of Illinois Record Muskies, including the current record Muskie caught April 1, 1997, by Chris Kim, 37 pounds, 13 ounces, 49 1/8 inches long.

Shabbona Lake has been declared the “MUSKIE CAPITAL OF ILLINOIS” and local fishing experts predict that the next State Of Illinois Record Walleye will be caught at Shabbona Lake in the very near future. It also has outstanding catches of Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Channel Catfish, Crappie, Bluegill and Perch.

Shabbona Lake State Park is open year-round and the hours of operation are:





6:00 a.m.

8:00 a.m.



10:00 p.m.


Summer hours take effect May 1 and end October 31. Winter hours also apply to the campground.

Catch & Size Limits








1 per day

6 per day

1 per day

10 per day

10 per day

6 per day

3 per day

14" Minimum

18" Minimum

48" Minimum

No Minimum

No Minimum

No Minimum

17" Minimum


Private boats may be launched on the lake. There is a 10 horsepower limit on boat motors. Canoes and inflatable boats are allowed, but must comply with State of Illinois watercraft rules and regulations.


Sailing is allowed from May 1 through October 31, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in a 150-acre zone. Maximum length of sailboats allowed in 14'. No sailing competitions are allowed.


Catch and size limits are strictly enforced at Shabbona Lake. The fishing limits are posted throughout the park and on the Shabbona Lakeside Bait, Tackle and Boat Rental Web page.


For information on trails, please obtain the trail fact sheet the park provides at Pokanoka’s on the Lake, Shabbona’s Lakeside Bait, Tackle and Boat Rental, or the Park Office.

Picnic Areas

The Shabbona Lake site provides three major picnic areas with tables, water fountains, sanitary facilities, picnic shelters, and grills. Groups of 25 or more must secure advance written permission from the Site Superintendent. Shelters may be reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is shelter reservation fee. Contact the park office at 815-824-2106 for more information.


Swimming and/or wading is prohibited at Shabbona Lake. This regulation is strictly enforced.


Pets are allowed but must be kept on a leash of 10' or less. Leased animals shall be at all times under control of a responsible person. It is the responsibility of the pet owner to clean up after their pets.


Dove hunting and Archery Deer hunting are available at Shabbona Lake State Park. A hunter fact sheet containing the rules and regulations is available upon request from the park office. If you have not found the answer to your question, please e-mail me at DSands1041@aol.com or call:

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