Description - The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has management responsibility for the Big Muddy and Casey Fork subimpoundments plus the Rend Lake Refuge, while the remainder of the wildlife area is managed by personnel from the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Portions of Rend Lake are managed intensively for waterfowl, providing both habitat and hunter opportunity for ducks and geese. Around the perimeter of the fish and wildlife area and scattered throughout are areas well-suited for deer, squirrel, rabbit and quail hunting. Additional recreation facilities, such as camping, golfing, tennis are located nearby at Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park, Corps of Engineers and the Rend Lake Conservancy District.
Rend Lake was built as a joint project by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Rend Lake Conservancy District, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This 18,900 acre reservoir was built to provide a dependable domestic water supply to a two-county area beginning in 1965. Construction of the $60 million project took five years to complete with the final filling of the lake in the early 1970s. Since that time, many improvements have been made resulting in the current quality facilities that are currently available. The Rend Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area was developed to provide public hunting and other recreational opportunities.
Overnight visitors can stay at the Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park which has primitive and developed camp sites, or at the Corps of Engineers campgrounds on Rend Lake. For those who prefer not to camp, the Rend Lake Resort, which has waterside rooms and marina facilities, is located within Wayne Fitzgerrell.
Recreation - Boating-
Boating enthusiasts will find easy access to Rend Lake. Within the Rend Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, eight of the 19 public access areas provide launching ramps. There are also five additional ramps within the subimpoundment used seasonally for waterfowl hunting. Rend Lake is a relatively shallow reservoir averaging less than ten feet in depth with many submerged and exposed stumps, therefore, boaters must be alert while operating in these areas.
deerRend Lake has earned the reputation of being one of the better waterfowl hunting areas in the state for both ducks and geese. The subimpoundment dams located across the Big Muddy River and Casey Fork Creek and the upstream areas they impound, are planted to a variety of crops and are flooded when mature for optimum waterfowl hunting. A daily drawing is conducted on site for the allocation of goose pits at the popular Whistling Wings Access Area and staked locations throughout the Casey Fork Sumimpoundment. There are also considerable acreages at high elevations that provide excellent habitat and opportunity for archery and firearm deer hunting. Another popular attraction is the annual controlled pheasant hunt held at Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park. For additional hunting information see: Hunter Fact Sheet
Rend Lake, being a relatively shallow reservoir, is quite productive for both sport and commercial fish. All species of fish common to southern Illinois can be found at Rend Lake; however, abundant and large crappie and channel catfish will delight any angler. Hybrid striped bass are also a popular catch and flathead catfish have become established generating considerable angler interest. A commercial fishing program is conducted each winter which allows the general public to purchase fresh buffalo, carp and other commercial species.
Rend Lake Conservancy District manages a championship 18-hole golf course for those who want a break from fishing and hunting. Another choice would be a game of tennis at either the Conservancy District or at the Rend Lake Resort. Numerous dog field trials are held at Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park, during the fall and winter months which are enjoyed by participants and spectators alike. A viewing tower is available within the Rend Lake Refuge for those who would like to observe waterfowl and other wildlife.
Climate - Illinois experiences four distinct seasons with varying weather throughout the year. Winter can be very cold. The highest humidity of the year occurs during this season averaging 70 to 75 percent. Average low temperatures in January dip to 20 degrees F with highs near 35 degrees F. Spring temperatures are mild with humidity below 70 percent. Temperatures during this season average between 32 and 50 degrees F. Summer is usually hot and humid in this Midwest state. Low temperatures remain in the low sixties with high temperatures near 90 degrees F. The highest rainfall of the year occurs during the summer months. Fall is an excellent time to visit the state with low humidity and rainfall and moderate temperatures.
Located near Mt. Vernon, IL, 15 mi S of junction of I-64 and I-57.