Lake Shelbyville, Illinois

Lake Shelbyville, located in central Illinois, has 11,100 acres of fishable water with 250 miles of shoreline. The miles of flooded brush, timber, and rock rip-rap shorelines, the many points with submerged ridges, and the hundreds of tributary streams that empty into the lake provide prime and productive fishing areas. You can catch Largemouth Bass, White Bass, Walleye, Channel and flathead catfish, Bluegill, Muskie, Carp, and both variants of Crappie. I guess that's what makes this such a popular lake and why they have Bass, Muskie, and Crappie tournaments on it every year. There are three marinas on the lake: Sullivan Marina and Campgrounds on the North end, Findlay Marina in the middle portion of the lake, and Lithia Springs on the south end. You can rent a fishing boat or a houseboat from the Findlay or the Lithia Marinas, or if you would rather, you can get a guide from any of the three. They also have some fishing tackle, boat supplies, and gas at all three of the locations with a restraint in the Lithia Springs Marina. 

If you like to camp, Shelbyville is a great destination. There are all kinds of campgrounds, both state-owned and private, around the lake with either RV or tent camping available. Most of the campgrounds have well-paved and wide ramps for easy loading and unloading of your boat with lots of parking spots. If camping isn't for you, there are little motels in either Sullivan or Shelbyville with reasonable rates. If you want to stay in style, then there is the Eagle Creek Resort where you will find a golf course, swimming pool, and highly-rated restaurants. You can also rent canoes, pontoons, and fishing boats from them. 

The major bait fish in the lake is shad, and at time they get so thick they would cover two or three football fields put together. Now as far as big fish in this lake here are the lake records: Largemouth Bass, 8 pounds and 1 ounce, White Bass, 4 pounds and 3 ounces, Flathead Catfish, 62 pounds and 10 ounces, Crappie, 3 pounds and 8 ounces, Walleye 13 pounds and 10 ounces, and last but not least the Illinois state record muskie was caught below the dam on April 20th, 2002 and weighed in at 38 pounds and 8 ounces.
 If your wife doesn’t like to fish but just wants to get away, bring her and the kids along because there are several nature trails around the lake where they can see all kinds of wildlife. Deer, wild turkeys, coyotes, pheasants, fox, raccoons, red-tail hawks, and even some bald eagles can be seen in the area from time to time. There are also all kinds of little shops in the towns around the lake where they could go shopping.  There are also some public beaches where she can take the kids for a swim.
 The only safety hazards you need to watch out for on this shallow lake are sandbars, tree stumps, and sunken islands.  So if you want to go flying down the lake at WOT, make sure you are in between the red and green channel markers.

Jerry is a member of the Mentor Team here at, and he can be reached at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.