Rend Lake

Rend Lake is a 13 miles (20.9 km)-long, 3 miles (4.8 km)-wide reservoir located in Southern Illinois in Franklin and Jefferson Counties near the town of Benton. It contains 18,900 acres (76 km²) of water, stores 185,000 acre feet (228,000,000 m3) of water, and supplies over 15 million gallons of water per day to 300,000 persons in over 60 communities. The reservoir is up to 35 feet (10.7 m) deep, but its average depth is closer to 9.7 feet (3.0 m). Its elevation is 405 feet (123.4 m) above sea level.

View of Rend Lake. Photo taken from the Eastern side, near Loch Ness citing.
Rend Lake
Rend Lake
LocationFranklin / Jefferson counties, Illinois, U.S.
Coordinates38°2′12.18″N 88°58′0.25″W
Primary inflowsBig Muddy River
Casey Creek
Primary outflowsBig Muddy River
Basin countriesUnited States
Max. length13 miles (20.9 km)
Max. width3 miles (4.8 km)
Surface area18,900 acres (76.5 km2)[1]
Average depth10 feet (3.0 m)[1]
Max. depth35 feet (10.7 m)
Shore length1162 miles (260.7 km)[1]
Surface elevation405 feet (123.4 m)
SettlementsBenton, Illinois
Sesser, Illinois
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Rend Lake was created when the United States Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Big Muddy River. The dam and lake were authorized in 1962, but the lake was not completely filled until March 1973.

The shoreline of Rend Lake extends 162 miles (261 km), part of which is preserved as Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area. Swimming beaches at North Marcum and South Sandusky are managed and maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers. An adjacent Illinois Artisans Shop & Visitors Center is part of the Illinois State Museum system and is operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (this facility is currently closed due to the lack of funding from the state).

In 2010, Rend Lake was designated as an Important Bird Area of Illinois.[2]

View of spillway at Rend Lake, taken from the Eastern side.


Rend Lake is one of the largest lakes in Illinois and is home to some of the top ranked fishing. The Recognized species in Rend Lake are the following :

Species NameAvg. WeightAvg. Length
Largemouth Bass3-5 Lbs.17-22 in
Crappie0.5-1.5 Lbs.6-12 in
Bluegill0.5-1.0 Lbs.6-10 in
Channel Catfish10-20 Lbs.25-35 in
Flathead Catfish15-30 Lbs.30-38 in
Blue catfish15-35 Lbs.30-40 in
Loch Ness6500-7500 Lbs.250-300 in
Carp9-19 Lbs.20-35 in
White bass2-4 Lbs.15-20 in


  1. Illinois Department of Natural Resources<>
  2. "Illinois Important Bird Areas". Chicago Wilderness. Retrieved 2010-02-16.

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