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  Sam Dale Lake - State Fish & Wildlife Area   

South Region

620 County Road 1910 North
Johnsonville, IL 62850
Sam Dale Lake
Site Map Hiking Picnicking
Camping History Trails
Directions Hunting  


Gently rolling terrain, lush woods and a beautiful lake make the Sam Dale Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area the perfect spot for a family outing. Located northwest of Johnsonville in Wayne County, this area has something for everyone: fishing, hunting, picnicking, and camping. Visitors may see quail, rabbit, dove, squirrel, deer, muskrat, fox, raccoon, owls, turkey, hawk, wood cock or beaver roaming the timber or brushy fields of the park. The highlight of a visit here is the Sam Dale Lake, a beautiful 194 acre lake with 5 miles of shoreline trails to enjoy or explore. In addition, several smaller ponds are home to fish and wildlife.


The initial 40-acre piece of land was purchased in 1959. Since then, additional land has been added bringing the total to 1,302 acres. The site was named for Sam O. Dale, an eight-term state representative who also served as a teacher, principal and superintendent of schools in Hamilton County.


Hunters will be delighted with rolling open fields interspersed by evergreen plantings and fence rows which are perfect game hunting habitat. Hunting is restricted to the 930 acres posted for hunting. For your convenience, Windshield Cards can be obtained online for Deer Archery, Turkey Fall Archery, Squirrel, Dove, Rabbit, Quail and Furbearer Trappers. The permit must be displayed in the windshield while hunting or trapping. All hunting is to be with shotgun or bow and arrow only. For additional hunting information see the Hunter Fact Sheet


The long, narrow lake has many curves and fingers, making it an ideal setting for the avid fisherman. Species available include largemouth bass, bluegill, redear, crappie and channel catfish. Two launching ramps, boat docks, several floating fishing docks and rental boats are available. The motor limit is 10 HP. A concession stand sells fishing bait near the boat dock area.


Two Class B/E campgrounds provide the overnight visitor with necessary amenities in a shady, secluded section of the park. These campsites have electricity and a sanitary dump station. One has a playground close by for small children. Tent and group camping areas also are available, including a handicapped pad in one campground.fall trees by the lake  Campsite Reservations are accepted online through ReserveAmerica.


Hikers will delight at the sights and sounds along the 3.2-mile nature trail as it winds through the wooded area in a circular pattern with three major loops. The trail skirts the lake for an easy side trip to the shore. A 1.6-mile trail from the group campground area to the dam winds along the lake..


The tall, shady trees and plentiful flowers and greenery beckon many nature-lovers to the Sam Dale Lake picnic areas. Three picnic areas have shelters and are reservable online through ReserveAmerica. Several picnic areas are available with tables, drinking fountains, and outdoor stoves. Playground equipment is nearby. A concession stand offers sandwiches and cold drinks.


Sam Dale Lake is located in northwestern Wayne County. Coming North or South on I-57, take exit #109, turn East on Rt 161, travel approx. 22 miles, look for a large sign on the left for the entrance to Sam Dale Lake. If traveling from the East on Rt 50, turn South on Rt 45 to Cisne, turn West and travel approx. 8 mi. to site entrance sign. From the West on Rt 161, travel 22 miles east of Rt 37 to park entrance.


  • While groups of 25 or more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.
  • At least one responsible adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
  • Pets must be kept on leashes at all times.
  • Actions by nature can result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park office before you make your trip.
  • We hope you enjoy your stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.
  • For more information on tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs' Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
  • Telecommunication Device for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information (217) 782-9175 for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.

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