Just miles west of Chicago, off U.S. 30, urban landscape gives way to 1,550 acres of rolling prairie and a 318.8-acre man-made fishing lake. Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area provides a convenient, natural haven from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
A unique mix of grass-covered meadows, upland mesic woods, bottomland woods, and a native, undisturbed fen make this an ideal location for natural relaxation and outdoor activity. You can see sedges, cattails, marsh marigold, horsetails, skunk cabbage, turtlehead, iris, blue joint grass and bulrushes. Also enjoy areas of prairie restoration throughout the park featuring prairie grasses such as big blue stem and prairie flowers such as purple cone flower.
With facilities for picnicking, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and winter sports, Shabbona Lake SRA is a convenient and comfortable retreat where visitors can refresh and reinvigorate in a rare, unspoiled environment.
In addition, Shabbona Lake contains a 15-acre seasonal nesting area for migratory waterfowl such as canvasback, redhead and pintail ducks and Canada geese.
Shabbona Lake offers many opportunities for picnicking throughout the park. Three picnic shelters are available: the Shabbona Grove and Three Fires shelters can be reserved in advance through Reserve America. The Somonauk Point shelter is available only on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The campground has available 150 Class A Premium campsites, with 90 campsites available for advanced reservation through Reserve America. Additionally, 60 campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. All sites have electricity, picnic tables, fire rings and vehicle access. A sanitary dump station is available to all campers. One family is allowed per campsite, or four unrelated adults with up to two tents. Campers must be ready to camp when upon arrival. The campground may be closed during the spring thaw due to road conditions. Alcohol is prohibited. To check on the status of the campground or for further information, call 815-824-2106 during the week or the campground check station at 815-824-2565 on weekends.
Two rent-a-camp cabins are available at the park. The rustic cabins have two rooms and will accommodate a maximum of six people. They are located on the shore of Shabbona Lake. Electric baseboard heat allows year-round use of the cabins.
Shabbona Lake's Youth Group camping area will accommodate two groups of up to 50 campers each. Water and privies are available at the site, but there is no electricity.
Reservations for the cabins, campsites, shelters and youth group can be made through Reserve America.
Just over 8 miles of scenic hiking and cross-country skiing trails weave through the wooded areas of the park. A trail brochure is available at the office.
Fishing and Boating
Boat and shore fishing are both popular and productive at Shabbona Lake. Shabbona Lake was declared the "Muskie Capitol of Illinois" and one of "Illinois' best Fishing Lakes" by the Illinois General Assembly in 2011. Shabbona Lake has produced 6 State record fish including 4 Muskies and 2 Hybrid Crappies.
The lake is stocked with large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, rock bass, black and white crappie, black and brown bullhead, channel catfish, walleye, muskie and perch. Contact the park office for fish catch and size limits.
Lake access is available from a double-lane launching ramp. Boat motors are limited to a 10 HP maximum. However, an 18-acre upper fishing area is a no-wake zone where only electric trolling motors or rowing is permitted. For further details, including information on special sailing regulations, contact the park office.
Swimming and/or wading is prohibited at Shabbona Lake. This regulation is strictly enforced.
Archery deer hunting, waterfowl and dove hunting are available on 744 acres at Shabbona. The Steward Habitat Area, a satellite of Shabbona Lake, is a permit-only pheasant hunting area. Kishwaukee River State Wildlife Area (KRSWA), another satellite outside of the town of Kirkland, is available for archery deer hunting. Additionally, KRSWA is a special permit area for firearm deer and firearm spring turkey hunting.
In addition to the cross-country skiing available on the nature trails, the lake is ringed by a 7-mile snowmobiling trail, open January 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. when conditions permit. Snowmobiles must register at the park office. Ice fishing and ice skating are allowed when the ice is thick enough. The rolling terrain is ideal for sledding and tobogganing.