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  Rend Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area   

South Region fisherman

10885 E. Jefferson Rd.
Bonnie, IL 62816



Site Map Fishing Hunting
Boating History Other

Outdoor enthusiasts will find a haven of recreational activities, with 18,900 acres of water and over 20,000 acres of land in Jefferson and Franklin counties, Rend Lake provides ample opportunities for hunting and fishing. Rend Lake is located between Mt. Vernon and Benton, just off Interstate 57.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has management responsibility for the Big Muddy and Casey Fork subimpoundments plus the Rend Lake Refuge, while the remainder of the wildlife area is managed by personnel from the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Portions of Rend Lake are managed intensively for waterfowl, providing both habitat and hunter opportunity for ducks and geese. Around the perimeter of the fish and wildlife area and scattered throughout are areas well-suited for deer, squirrel, rabbit and quail hunting. Additional recreation ammenities, such as camping, golfing, tennis, are located nearby at Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park, and at sites managed by the Corps of Engineers and the Rend Lake Conservancy District.


Rend Lake was built as a joint project by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Rend Lake Conservancy District, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Construction of this 18,900 acre reservoir commenced in 1965 as a means for providing a dependable domestic water supply to a two-county area. Construction of the $60 million project took 5 years, with the final filling of the lake in the early 1970s. Since that time, many improvements have been made resulting in quality facilities. The Rend Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area was developed to provide public hunting and other recreational opportunities.

a gooseCamping and Lodging

Overnight visitors can stay at the Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park which has primitive and developed camp sites, or at the Corps of Engineers campgrounds on Rend Lake. For those who prefer not to camp, the Rend Lake Resort, which has waterside rooms and marina facilities, is located within Wayne Fitzgerrell.



fishing boatBoating enthusiasts will find easy access to Rend Lake. Within the Rend Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, eight of the 19 public access areas provide launching ramps. There are also five additional ramps within the subimpoundment used seasonally for waterfowl hunting. Rend Lake is a relatively shallow reservoir, averaging less than 10 feet in depth with many submerged and exposed stumps, therefore, boaters must be alert while operating in these areas.


deerRend Lake has earned the reputation of being one of the better waterfowl hunting areas in the state for both ducks and geese. The subimpoundment dams located across the Big Muddy River and Casey Fork Creek and the upstream areas they impound, are planted to a variety of crops and flooded when mature for optimum waterfowl hunting. An on-site daily drawing is conducted for the allocation of goose pits at the popular Whistling Wings Access Area and staked locations throughout the Casey Fork Sub impoundment. There also are considerable acreages at high elevations that provide excellent habitat and opportunity for archery and firearm deer hunting. Another popular attraction is the annual controlled pheasant hunt held at Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park.   For additional hunting information see the Hunter Fact Sheet


As a relatively shallow reservoir, Rend Lake is quite productive for both sport and commercial fish. All species of fish common to southern Illinois can be found at Rend Lake; however, abundant and large crappie and channel catfish will delight any angler. Hybrid striped bass also are a popular catch and flathead catfish have become established generating considerable angler interest. A commercial fishing program is conducted each winter which allows the general public to purchase fresh buffalo, carp and other commercial species.


Rend Lake Conservancy District manages a championship 18-hole golf course for those who want a break from fishing and hunting. Another choice would be a game of tennis at either the Conservancy District or at the Rend Lake Resort. Numerous dog field trials are held at Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park during the fall and winter months which are enjoyed by participants and spectators alike. A viewing tower is available within the Rend Lake Refuge for those who would like to observe waterfowl and other wildlife.

  • 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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One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702
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