About Rend Lake

About Rend Lake

Rend Lake was built as a joint project by the Illinois Department of Conservation, the Rend Lake Conservancy District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Built by damming the Big Muddy River downstream of the convergences of Gun Creek and Casey Fork,  Rend Lake utilizes both  a spillway and a controlled gate dam to manage both the lake level and the level of the Big Muddy River.  The flooded the low lands surrounding the river to form five “branches”.  The Muddy Branch is on the northwest side.  Casey Fork on the northeast side.  Gun Creek is accessable from the main lake south of the highway in the northeast.  Sandusky Branch is located on the east side of the main lake about half way between the highway and the dam.  South Sandusky Recreation Area hosts one of Rend Lake’s two beaches.  Finally, Marchum Branch is situated at the southeast end of the lake.  North Marchum Recreation are hosts the second of the two sand beaches on Rend Lake.

With it size and variety of shore line, Rend Lake provides recreational and backwater habitat for man and wild life alike.  Complete with a federal wildlife refuge and management area at its northwest boundary you can count of Rend Lake to deliver for the outdoors man in every season of the year.  Sub-impoundment dams and pumps at the northern end of the lake are used in the winter months to flood the northern backwater areas of the lake.  This  provides excellent habitat for migrating water fowl and the hunters that follow them.   Additionally, this 18,000 acre reservoir has provided a dependable domestic water supply to multiple counties in southern Illinois since 1965.

Rend Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area provides public hunting and other recreational opportunities.

Rend Lake is one of the premier vacation spots in Southern Illinois providing quality areas for boating, water skiing, camp sites, nature trails, hiking, golf, picnicking, swimming, fishing, and hunting.

Rend Lake is a relatively shallow reservoir and is productive for sport and commercial fisherman alike. All species of fish that are common in southern Illinois can be found at Rend Lake.

Rend Lake is proud to have the reputation of being one of the better waterfowl hunting areas in the state. With both ducks and geese making Rend Lake their home during their migration, you can be assured of a productive hunting season. Not only will you see many types of ducks & geese, but the cranes, herons and even a eagle once in a while. Black pelicans make a stop here during their migrations.  Deer are seen everywhere as well as raccoons, fox and opossums. Bring the camera to get pictures of turkey and pheasants and all the family will enjoy your trips around the lake. Stop by the Corp office and ask them for access to some of the remote areas.

Winter is not a time to stop coming – so many things to do – to see in and around Rend Lake.

Come year round and visit us.


With an abundance of bass, bluegill, crappie and channel catfish, the odds are in your favor.

So come visit the Rend Lake area.