Rend Lake was built by the joint efforts of the Rend Lake Conservancy District, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Since 1965, Rend Lake has been not only a reliable water supply for the people of Franklin and Jefferson counties, but also a favorite recreation area for outdoor enthusiasts
Rend Lake, located in southern Illinois near Benton provides 18,900 acres of multi-purpose waters available for year-round recreation. The lake is 13 miles long by 3 miles wide with a 162-mile shoreline which has been partially preserved to facilitate wildlife management. The Rend Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area offers 20,000 acres of land on which a viewing tower allows for optimal wildlife observation.
Recreational opportunities offered by Rend Lake and the Rend lake State Fish and Wildlife area include boating, swimming, fishing, trap shooting, hunting, hiking and biking on miles of trails and camping.
The rules, regulations and fees for this lake can be found here.
Rend Lake holds the state record for producing the largest black crappie and bowfin caught in Illinois. In 1976, John Hampton's Black Crappie weighed four-pounds eight-ounces and in 1984 Charles R. Keller's Bowfin weighed 16-pounds six-ounces.
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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Rend Lake welcomes all boat and motor types and sizes including pontoons, small fishing boats, canoes, rowboats, kayaks, jet skis, ski boats, houseboats, cruisers, sailboats and high performance speed boats. But, "Boaters Beware". Rend Lake is a relatively shallow lake averaging less than ten feet deep in many places. There are lots of exposed and submerged tree stumps to watch out for in Rend Lake.
The Rend Lake Marina is a full-service marina, which provides fuel, boat and slip rentals, snacks, supplies and services, the marina also sells new and used boats and provides winterizing services which include shrinkwrapping.
Rend Lake lodging options include a lodge, rental cabins and nearly 800 campsites are scattered among five public campgrounds around the lake. Each campground offers a variety of amenities. Be sure you chose the situation that offers the facilities you desire. Rend Lake Resort within Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park has lakefront rooms and its own full-service marina facilities.
All kinds of lodging facilities are available in nearby cities and towns including a resort in Whittington. Please consult the Lake Resource Guide for information on lodging and events in the area.
The closest major city to Rend Lake is St. Louis, Missouri, which is around 112 miles from Rend Lake. Nearby cities and towns, each with its own unique offerings, include: Benton, Whittington, Sesser, Christopher, Marion and Mt. Vernon. Rend Lake flows through parts of Franklin and Jefferson counties in Illinois.
Fun times at Rend Lake
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