Destination Illinois: Lake Shelbyville

Destination Illinois

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — If you are looking for some place to get back to nature or just get a breath of fresh air, Lake Shelbyville may be the place.

Lake Shelbyville is a man-made attraction in central Illinois that attracts more than 4 million visitors every year.

With only a few lakes in the state of Illinois, Lake Shelbyville is one of the biggest with 172 miles of lake shore. “It’s one of the biggest in southern Illinois,” said Trent Trudeau, Lake Shelbyville Fishing Guide.

Despite the pandemic, Lake Shelbyville has seen a record number of visitors in 2020. “For the whole month of June and July…people were driving miles and miles and hours to come to use our facilities, so it’s been a very interesting year, but I think with everything going on right now, people really found Lake Shelbyville,” said Ashley Flory.

With the miles of shoreline at this lake, it makes it easy for guests to enjoy the many water activities it has to offer. “From swimming, using the day-use areas to picnic, going boating, hunting and camping,” said Flory. Although boating and jet-skiing are popular activities on the lake, the biggest attraction is the fishing.

“I would say fishing is number one; just because you have the opportunity to do that longer. It’s a longer season that just your pleasure boaters,” said Flory. “Great crappy fishery, walleye fishery is very good in here. So there’s definitely trophy walleye and trophy crappy,” said Trudeau.

“We currently hold the state record for muskie…We also have an organization called the Lake Shelbyville Fish Habitat Alliance that have been doing some tremendous work around the lake, putting different artificial structures in to help with the fishing and it seems to be working,” stated Flory.

While water activities are the main attraction, the original purpose of Lake Shelbyville is preventing flooding through the dam. “The number one mission here at Lake Shelbyville is flood control,” said Flory. “And the reason that was needed was because of the excessive flooding that was done downstream and so that’s Lake Shelbyville’s number one purpose.”

Despite the global pandemic, Lake Shelbyville is one location still offering all amenities throughout the remainder of 2020. Besides from several beaches and boat ramps, Lake Shelbyville also features three full-service marinas.

For those not on the water, campers can choose from more than 1,500 public and private campsites plus there are hundreds of hiking trails throughout the area.

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