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Rend Lake

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.


The Army Corps of Engineers and the IDNR work together to maintain abundant and healthy fish species sought by both sport and commercial fishermen and women. Such populations include largemouth bass, which average 3 to 5 pounds 17 - 22 inches long; white bass, which average 2 to 4 pounds 15 - 20 inches long; crappie, which average .5 to 1.5 pounds 6 - 12 inches long; carp, which average 9 to 19 pounds 20-35 inches long and bluegill, which average .5 to 1 pound, 6 - 10 inches long. Rend Lake is also home to a variety of hearty catfish. Channel Catfish caught in Rend Lake average10-20 pounds 25-35 inches; Flathead Catfish average 15-30 pounds 30-38 inches long and Blue catfish average 15-35 pounds 30-40 inches long.

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.)


  Search Rend Lake Resources
    Rend Lake Illinois Coordinates:
38.0367N -88.9667W
Map It:
Lake Type:
Surface Area:
18,900 acres
Maximum Depth:
30 ft.
405 ft
Normal Water Clarity:
0-3 ft.
Major City:
St. Louis, MO
St. Louis, MO


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  Rend Lake

  Rend Lake   Rend Lake

Average Temperatures Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High  41 Avg. High  45 Avg. High  56 Avg. High  68 Avg. High  76 Avg. High  85 Avg. High  89 Avg. High  89 Avg. High  81 Avg. High  69 Avg. High  57 Avg. High  43
Avg. Low  25 Avg. Low  28 Avg. Low  36 Avg. Low  45 Avg. Low  54 Avg. Low  64 Avg. Low  68 Avg. Low  66 Avg. Low  57 Avg. Low  46 Avg. Low  38 Avg. Low  27