Description - The US Army Corps of Engineers, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and four private concessionaires have partnered together to provide a variety of recreational facilities on this 11,100 acre lake and the over 23,000 acres of land that surrounds it. Combine the natural beauty of the area with the numerous outdoor recreational opportunities and Lake Shelbyville becomes an ideal vacation spot for people of all ages.
- Hunters and fishermen will find six small boat launching facilities conveniently located in the wildlife areas. Visitors with bigger craft are advised to use the larger access areas offered at marinas, state parks or Corps of Engineers sites.
Oak, hickory and hard maple flourish in the uplands, while cottonwood, sycamore, soft maple and willow dominate the lowlands. This variety of species creates spectacular scenery as the foliage changes from green to the vivid reds, oranges, purples and yellows of a showy Illinois' fall.
Prairie ForbsPrairie plants can be found along railroad paths, rural roads and in abandoned fields. Of special note is the unique, three-and-one-half acre Hill Prairie. This relic prairie jewel has been managed back to nearly its natural state. Located near the extreme southeast corner of Kaskaskia Unit, the area is known to harbor over fifty species of native plants. Its summer bloom of purple and yellow cone flowers is, by itself, worthy of a visit to the site. An additional wealth of native wildflowers can be found in woodland understories, along ditch banks, and in old field settings throughout the area.
Over 200 species of birds have been documented on the site since listing began in 1975. Seasonal displays featuring shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl, wood warblers, raptors and grassland and shrub habitat songbirds are a birdwatcher's delight. Resident game birds and game mammals are plentiful, offering the hunter opportunities not readily available in the intensely farmed areas dominating off-site landscapes. Bobwhite quail, ring-necked pheasant, mourning dove, woodcock, cottontail rabbit, white-tail deer, fox and gray squirrel, raccoon, muskrat, opossum and mink are found in good numbers.
Recreation - The Kaskaskia and West Okaw Rivers provide excellent stream fishing for walleye, white bass, crappie and channel catfish. Boats are welcome on the rivers, but the corridors are designated no wake areas.
Largemouth bass, bluegill, redear and channel catfish are found in the six ponds scattered around the management units. These "farm" ponds range from 0.5 to 1.7 acres in size.
Trapping is allowed by special permit only in designated furbearer management units. A drawing for these permits is held annually during the month of October. Trappers must report their take to the area headquarters at the end of the season.
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.
113 miles E of St. Louis, MO - 208 miles SW of Chicago, IL - 56 miles SE of Springfield, IL - 67 miles SW of Champaign, IL - 31 miles S of Decatur, IL - 87 miles W of Terre Haute, IN - Interstate 57 and 70 provide major access to the area. IL Route 16 provides access on the south side, IL Route 121 on the north side, IL Route 128 on the west side, and IL Route 32 on the east side.