Update: A public drawing for trapping privileges at Shabbona Lake State Park and Kishwaukee River State Fish & Wildlife Area, will be held on Saturday October 24th, 2015 at noon, registration begins at 11:00 a.m. at the park main office at Shabbona Lake State Park.
Just miles west of Chicago, off U.S. 30, urban sprawl gives way to 1,550 acres of rolling prairie and a 318.8-acre man-made fishing lake. Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area provides a convenient, natural haven from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
A unique mix of grass-covered meadows, upland mesic woods, bottomland woods, and a native, undisturbed fen make this an ideal location for natural relaxation and outdoor activity. You can see sedges, cattails, marsh marigold, horsetails, skunk cabbage, turtlehead, iris, blue joint grass and bulrushes. Also enjoy areas of prairie restoration throughout the park featureing prairie grasses such as big blue stem and prairie flowers such as purple cone flower.
With facilities for picnicking, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and winter sports, Shabbona Lake is a convenient and comfortable retreat where you can refresh and reinvigorate yourself in a rare, unspoiled environment.
In addition, Shabbona Lake contains a 15-acre seasonal nesting area for migratory waterfowl such as canvasback, redhead and pintail ducks and Canada geese.
Originally home to tribes of Native Americans, the park derives its name from Chief Shabbona. Pioneer settlement of the area began in the 1830s. From Shabbona Grove, in the southeast corner of the park, homesteaders spread over the region and began farming the rich soil.
In 1965, a decision was made to develop a lake and recreation area on the site, and land acquisition begun in 1969. By 1978, 1,550 acres had been obtained. In 1973, the lake area was cleared of trees, the shoreline was modified and earthen fishing piers and fish congregators were erected. By 1975, a 3,000-foot-long earthen dam with a concrete spillway was completed and the lake was formed. Day use facilities were constructed in 1976 and continue to serve the public today. A restaurant, boat rental and bait and tackle facility opened for business in 1995. This facility provides a sit-down eating area serving breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a fully stocked bait and tackle shop. Boat rentals include boats with and without motors.
Shabbona Lake offers many opportunities for picnicking throughout the park. Three picnic shelters are available: the Shabbona Grove and Three Fires shelters can be reserved in advance at www.reserveamerica.com. The Somonauk Point shelter is available only on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Camping | Campground Map
The campground has available 150 Class A Premium campsites, with 90 campsites available for advanced reservation through www.reserveamerica.com, and 60 campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. All sites have electricity, picnic table, fire ring and vehicle access. A sanitary dump station available to all campers. One family is allowed per campsite, or four unrelated adults with up to two tents. You must be ready to camp when you arrive, and you cannot hold sites. The campground may be closed during the spring thaw due to road conditions. Alcohol is prohibited. To check on the status of the campground or for further information, call (815) 824-2106 during the week or the campground check station at (815) 824-2565 on weekends.
Two rent-a-camp cabins are available at the park.The cabins have no water, cooking or toilet facilities but have two rooms and will accommodate a maximum of six people. They are located on the shore of Shabbona Lake. Electric baseboard heat allows year-round use of the cabins.
Shabbona Lake's Youth Group camping area will accommodate two groups of up to 50 campers each. Water and privies are available at the site, but there is no electricty.
Reservations for the cabins, campsites, shelters and youth group can be made through www.reserveamerica.com.
Facilities are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner, bait and tackle sales, and boat rental on a seasonal basis. Call (815) 824-2581 or visit the concession Web site for further information.
Just over 8 miles of scenic hiking and cross-country skiing trails weave through the wooded areas of the park. A trail brochure is available at the office.
Fishing and Boating
Boat and shore fishing are both popular and productive at Shabbona Lake. The lake is stocked with large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, rock bass, black and white crappie, black and brown bullhead, channel catfish, walleye, muskie and perch. Contact the park office for fish catch and size limits.
Lake access is available from a double-lane launching ramp. Boat motors are limited to a 10 HP maximum. However, an 18-acre upper fishing area is a no-wake zone where only electric trolling motors or rowing is permitted. For further details, including information on special sailing regulations, contact the park office.
Swimming and/or wading is prohibited at Shabbona Lake. This regulation is strictly enforced.
Archery deer hunting, waterfowl and dove hunting are available on 744 acres at Shabbona. The Steward Habitat Area, a satellite of Shabbona Lake, is a permit-only pheasant hunting area. Kishwaukee River State Wildlife Area, another satellite outside of the town of Kirkland, is available for archery deer hunting. Additionally, KRSWA is a special permit area for firearem deer and firearm spring turkey hunting.
Shabbona Hunter Fact Sheet | Shabbona Waterfowl Hunter Fact Sheet | Steward Hunter Fact Sheet
Kishwaukee Hunter Fact Sheet | Kishwaukee Spring Turkey Hunter Fact Sheet
In addition to the cross-country skiing available on the nature trails, the lake is ringed by a 7-mile snowmobiling trail, open January 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. when conditions permit. Snowmobiles must register at the park office. Ice fishing and ice skating are allowed when the ice is thick enough. The rolling terrain is ideal for sledding and tobogganing.
Prairie Burn At Shabbona Lake State Park
(click on thumbnails to view full size image)
On March 31st, 1999 the Indian Creek High School FFA class and their instructor, Ms. Kathy Prestegaard assisted the Shabbona Lake staff during their annual prairie burns. Fire and periodic burning is an important tool in the restoration and maintenance of prairies. Shabbona Lake burns 320 acres each year, of which 240 acres are restored prairies. The ICHS FFA group assisted with lighting the fires, building backfires and were invaluable with keeping the fires under control.
Shabbona Lake is a pilot site for disabled visitor accessibility and the facilities--parking, picnic shelters, water fountains, restrooms, and even a specially designed fishing pier--are totally accessible.
Shabbona Lake State Park is easily accessible from the Chicago area via I-88. Take I-88 west to the Sugar Grove exit, which is approximately 2 ½ miles west of the Aurora toll booth. Take US 30 west from Sugar Grove approximately 22 miles to Shabbona. Visitors from the Northeast or Southeast, take IL Rt 47 to US 30 west to Shabbona.
Visitors from the Southwest or Northwest, take I-39 to US 30 (exit 87). Directional signs are on the exit ramps. Take US 30 east 7 miles to Shabbona. From the DeKalb area, take IL Rt 23 south to US 30, then take US 30 west to Shabbona. The park entrance is on Preserve Road, approximately ½ mile south of Shabbona. Signs in Shabbona will direct you to the park.
The park is open as follows:
April 1 - October 31: 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM.
November 1 - January 31: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
February 1 - February 28/29: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM.
March 1 - March 31: 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM.
- While groups of 25 or
more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required
to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling
- At least one responsible
adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
- Pets must be kept on
leashes at all times.
- Actions by nature can
result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park
office before you make your trip.
- We hope you enjoy your
stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.
- For more information
on tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community
Affairs' Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
- Telecommunication Device
for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information (217) 782-9175
for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.