Lake Decatur is the largest lake on the Sangamon River, providing over 2,900 acres of resourceful water to the city of Decatur. Owned and operated by the City of Decatur, the man-made lake provides a source of tap water for the people and industry of Decatur, Illinois. In fact, most of the water from this lake is used in the processing of corn products and ethanol. While nearly three-fourths of Lake Decatur's waters are used for industrial and commercial purposes, the lake provides swimming, boating and fishing opportunities, as well.
Sections of the lake's 30-mile shoreline define borders for the Scovill Zoo as well as Faries Park and Nelson Park, which are two of Decatur's largest municipal parks.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources Division of Fisheries offers "Hook-and-Line" and "Spear/Bow and Arrow" Sport Fishing Awards to recognize anglers for fish caught in Illinois' waters. (Click here for details.)
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Boats must be registered before launching on Lake Lou. Daily permits can be purchased in the Nelson Park Lake Patrol Office. To check the rates, click here.
There are five public boat launching ramps located around the lake in both parks, at the Sportsman's Club and on Lost Bridge and Country Club Roads.
There are no lodging or camping facilities available on the lake or in the Fish and Wildlife Area.
Please consult the Lake Resource Guide for information on nearby lodging options and events in the surrounding area.
Illinois's closest major city to Lake Decatur is Decatur. Nearby cities and towns, each with its own unique offerings, include: Taylorville, Lincoln, Springfield, Mattoon, Chatham, Champaign, Urbana, Mt Zion, Forsythe and Bloomington. Lake Decatur flows through parts of Macon County.
Fun times at Lake Decatur
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