Lake Springfield

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Lake Springfield
LocationSpringfield, Illinois
Coordinates39°45′34″N 089°36′01″W / 39.75944°N 89.60028°W / 39.75944; -89.60028Coordinates: 39°45′34″N 089°36′01″W / 39.75944°N 89.60028°W / 39.75944; -89.60028
Primary inflowsLick Creek, Sugar Creek
Primary outflowsSugar Creek
Catchment area265 sq mi (690 km2)
Basin countriesUnited States
Surface area4,260 acres (17.2 km2)
Max. depth37 feet (11 m)
Water volume17,500,000,000 US gal (0.066 km3)
Shore length157 mi (92 km)
Surface elevation560 ft (170 m)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Lake Springfield is a 4,260-acre (17.2 km2) reservoir on the southeast edge of the city of Springfield, Illinois. It is 560 ft (170 m) above sea level; the lake was formed in 1931–1935 by building Spaulding Dam across Sugar Creek, a tributary of the Sangamon River.[1]

The lake was created, at a cost of $2.5 million (in 1930s dollars), as a source of water for Springfield and to provide coolant for the City Water, Light & Power coal-fired electrical generating plant. It has also served as a focus of local recreation. High-powered motor boats are allowed on much of the lake, and the lake is known for warm-water fish.

Lake Springfield can be seen from Interstate 55; the limited-access highway crosses the lake on two bridges between mileposts 88 and 89. The lake is accessible from exit 88 (East Lake Shore Drive), exit 90 (Toronto Road), and exit 94 (Stevenson Drive).

Lake Springfield is close to the campus of the University of Illinois at Springfield, it also borders Abraham Lincoln Memorial Garden, a local arboretum, and the Henson Robinson Zoo. Lake Park, just north of the zoo, has preserved ruts of the Edwards Trace pioneer trail; a historical marker was posted near the trace in 2002.

Lake Springfield tributaries include Lick Creek and Sugar Creek. Water discharged from these watercourses into Lake Springfield fluctuates with the seasons and with changes in local precipitation, and City Water, Light & Power has asked for permission to build a buffer lake, Hunter Lake, nearby.[2]


Lake Springfield is a highly ranked fishing lake. Species that are doing well, as of 2016, include:[3]

Species Name Notes
Bluegill 6–8 inches is common
Channel catfish Maximum length 27.5 in (70 cm), maximum weight 13.5 lb (6.1 kg)
Flathead catfish Weight can reach 60 lb (27 kg)
Largemouth bass Maximum length 22 in (56 cm), Mmximum weight 6.5 lb (2.9 kg)
White bass Length to 15 in (38 cm) is common
White crappie Maximum length 15 in (38 cm), weight can reach 2 lb (0.91 kg)

Other fish found in the lake include blue catfish, black crappie, green sunfish, green sunfish x bluegill hybrid, freshwater drum, redear sunfish, carp, walleye, saugeye, black bullhead and yellow bullhead.[3][4]


  1. ^ Illinois Atlas and Gazetteer. Freeport, Maine: DeLorme Mapping. 1991. ISBN 0-89933-213-7.
  2. ^ "City getting impatient for Hunter Lake answer". (Springfield, IL) State Journal-Register. 2009-11-12. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  3. ^ a b "IDNR - Fisheries: 2016 lake status summary" (PDF). Illinois Department of Natural Resources. 2016. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  4. ^ "Fishing - City Water, Light, and Power". Retrieved May 14, 2018.

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