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Pistakee Lake

Pistakee Lake, also known as Lake Pistakee, the southernmost of the nine lakes which form the Fox River Chain O'Lakes is a natural, dammed lake situated in the Chicagoland Region of Illinois on the border of Lake and McHenry counties. 1,700 acres of freshwater are bordered by a 22-mile shoreline, much of which has been designated as conservation land, which is maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District.

Pistakee Lake is a favorite among anglers due to its varied depths and high populations of walleye, white bass and channel catfish. Although the lake's average depth is only six (6) feet, there is a 30 foot drop-off at Meyers Bay and another drop-off at Pistakee Bay where the depth reaches 34 feet.


Anglers come to Pistakee Lake all year round to fish for the various game fish which populate the lake. These include largemouth bass, white bass, yellow perch, bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, walleye, muskie and northern pike.

Nearly a dozen boat launch ramps all along the northeast and southwest shore provide easy access to Pistakee Lake. The lake is open in the winter for ice skating and ice fishing.

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 to learn more.)


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    Pistakee Lake Illinois Coordinates:
42.3867N -88.1995W
Map It:
Lake Type:
Surface Area:
1,716 acres
Maximum Depth:
36 ft
Normal Water Clarity:
3-5 ft
Major City:


All types and sizes of watercraft are welcome on Pistakee Lake, which allows for exceptional opportunities for water sports' lovers. Visitors enjoy sailing, boating, water skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, pontooning and jet skiing. Sailboat races are a common occurrence on the weekends at Pistakee Lake. Canoes, kayaks and small fishing boats enjoy accessing smaller lakes in the chain via streams and channels. Larger pleasure boats enjoy cruising on the lake as well as the on the Fox River.

In addition to several full-service marinas located on the lake, there are ten boat launch ramps scattered along the northeast and southwest sides of the lake for providing easy boat access to the water.


The popularity of the Fox Chain O'Lakes means there are virtually unlimited lodging options on and around Pistakee Lake. From inns, resorts, hotels, motels, lodges and camping facilities to cozy bed and breakfasts and luxurious lake-front rental homes, options include something for every budget.

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


Illinois' closest major city to Pistakee Lake is Chicago. Nearby cities and towns, each with its own unique offerings, include: Ingleside, Johnsburg, Lakemoor and Spring Grove. Pistakee Lake flows through parts of Lake and McHenry counties.

Fun times at Pistakee Lake  Pistakee Lake

  Pistakee Lake   Pistakee Lake

Average Temperatures Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High  30 Avg. High  34 Avg. High  45 Avg. High  58 Avg. High  69 Avg. High  78 Avg. High  83 Avg. High  81 Avg. High  73 Avg. High  60 Avg. High  47 Avg. High  34
Avg. Low  15 Avg. Low  18 Avg. Low  27 Avg. Low  38 Avg. Low  47 Avg. Low  57 Avg. Low  63 Avg. Low  62 Avg. Low  54 Avg. Low  42 Avg. Low  31 Avg. Low  19