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Grass Lake

One of nine lakes linked by channels that form the Fox Chain O'Lakes in Northern Illinois, Grass Lake is a natural, freshwater dammed lake, which provides over 1,360 acres of recreational water. The shallowest lake on the "Chain," averaging only three feet, good fishing abounds because of the aquatic vegetation.

Together all nine (9) lakes in the chain provide approximately 7,000 acres of water with 488 miles of shoreline with more than 29 miles of channels that connect the lakes to make navigation possible. Illinois Department of Transportation - division of Water Resources maintains the water levels along the entire Fox River Chain of Lakes by the series of dams along the Fox River.

Grass Lake is open to year-round fishing including ice fishing in the winter. Two State Parks, which include the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Fox Chain O'Lakes State Park and the Moraine Hills State Park, offer lots of recreational opportunities for those who love the outdoors. Such recreations include boating, fishing, camping, hiking, picnicking, archery, hunting, wildlife viewing and more.


In the "Chicagoland" tourism area, Grass Lake is a favorite among anglers due to being the shallowest lake in the chain. Abundant populations of large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, perch, sunfish, pumpkinseed, yellow bass, white bass, carp, northern pike, channel and bullhead catfish make for bountiful catches.

Some anglers consider Grass Lake as one of the spots on the chain for catching quality northern pike.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources Division of Fisheries offers "Spear/Bow and Arrow" and "Hook-and-Line" Sport-Fishing Awards to recognize anglers for fish caught in Illinois' waters. (Click link on the bottom right for details.)

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    Grass Lake Illinois Coordinates:
42.4404N -88.1595
Map It:
Lake Type:
Surface Area:
1,360 acres
Maximum Depth:
6 ft
Normal Water Clarity:
3 ft
Major City:


Boats on Grass Lake are limited to private powerboats, sailboats, canoes and kayaks. Boaters are required to stay near the center of the lake so to give anglers complete access to the shoreline all to themselves.

There are eight (8) eight boat launch ramps on the southwest and east sides of the lake. Several more are found to the north on the Fox River, including a free ramp at the state park.


The popularity of Grass Lake and the Fox Chain O'Lakes makes the selection of lodging options seem endless. In addition to motels, hotels, resorts, bed-n-breakfasts, camping and the like, several lakefront home owners offer their homes for rent to vacationing families, as well.

Please consult the Lake Resource Guide for information on lodging and events in the area.


Illinois' closest major city to Grass Lake is Chicago. Nearby cities and towns, each with its own unique offerings, include: Litchfield, Mt. Olive, Johnsburg, Lake Villa and Spring Grove. Grass Lake flows through parts of McHenry and Lake Counties.

Fun times at Grass Lake   Grass Lake

  Grass Lake   Grass Lake

Average Temperatures Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High  29 Avg. High  33 Avg. High  44 Avg. High  57 Avg. High  68 Avg. High  78 Avg. High  82 Avg. High  81 Avg. High  73 Avg. High  61 Avg. High  47 Avg. High  33
Avg. Low  14 Avg. Low  17 Avg. Low  27 Avg. Low  38 Avg. Low  47 Avg. Low  57 Avg. Low  63 Avg. Low  61 Avg. Low  54 Avg. Low  41 Avg. Low  31 Avg. Low  19