Coffeen Lake - Illinois

US National Parks and Monuments Travel Guide:

Park Overview

Coffeen Lake is an attractive site with history of providing anglers and hunters success. The site was opened in 1986 and currently operates under a long term lease and management agreement between the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources and Ameren Energy Generating Company. This agreement grants authority to the State to open the lake and certain lands to the public for recreational activities such as fishing, boating, picnicking and hunting.


The original power company built a 75-foot high earthen dam on a branch of the east Fork of Shoal Creek in 1963. The lake was completely filled by 1966 and now serves as cooling water for the coal-fired Coffeen Power Station. The power station has a generating capacity of 945 megawatts of electricity, with the first unit coming into operation in 1965 and the larger, second unit in 1972. The heated discharge affects 73% of the surface water. The cooling loop is 4.1 miles.

Natural Features

The oak-hickory forests surrounding Coffeen Lake are representative of the native cover found within the Southern Till Plain Natural Division of central and southern Illinois. Soils are of loess and till, rather light and a characteristic "claypan" can be found. Pre-settlement vegetation was a mixture of 60 % forest to 40% prairie and wetlands. A variety of trees, woodland and prairie plants cover the slopes of the stream valley. Visitors may also find a diverse wildlife community. Muskrats, turtles, herons and mussels are seen in or near the water. Red-tailed hawk, blue jay or a dragonfly might be seen in the air. Bobwhite, coyote, white-tailed deer and black rat snake are common to the area. The opportunity to observe and enjoy the area's rich wildlife heritage is available.


Coffeen Lake boasts an excellent largemouth bass and channel catfish population. Twenty-two species of fish are present in the lake, but most anglers seek largemouth bass, white crappie, channel catfish and striped bass. The lake is deeper than most Illinois lakes, averaging nearly 19 feet with a maximum depth of 59 feet. Coffeen Lake has nearly 50 miles of shoreline. Power plant operation noticeably influences fish activity and fishing success. Fish growth appears to be faster than in many other lakes, however.



Bank fishing is available at all boat access area. Considerable acreage is open for bank fishing where parking is present. Posted site specific regulations for bass and crappie are enforced. All fishing tournaments must be scheduled through the site office.


The Main Access (lower pool) provides a two lane ramp and a newly constructed parking lot with a handicap accessible loading platform and reserved handicap parking stalls. The North Access (upper pool) provides a newly constructed single lane ramp and a handicap accessible courtesy dock and parking lot.

Motors of 25 horsepower or less are allowed to operate on the lake. Boats with motors larger than 25 horsepower are allowed on the lake, but are restricted to trolling motor operation only. However, motors larger than the 25 horsepower can be used for loading and unloading a trailered watercraft, provided the watercraft over the horsepower limit is operated at a no-wake speed within 150 feet of the loading ramp itself.

Picnicking, Camping and Concessions

Toilets, drinking water and picnic facilities are available at the main access area. A private campground is located just to the north of the main access area. Bait, supplies and food can be obtained there.


Located in Montgomery County approximately 3 miles east northeast of Donnellson, Illinois and State HWY 127. Approximately 2 miles west southwest of Coffeen, Illinois and State Highway 185.

From Springfield, IL take I 55 South to Hwy 127 south to Hillsboro, IL. Take Hwy 185 east to E. 14th Road, south to N. 4th Avenue, east to Main Access and Office.

From St. Louis, MO take I 70 east to Greenville, IL exit Hwy 127, north to Donnellson. Just north of Donnellson take N. 3rd Avenue, east to Buckeye Trail, north to N. 4th Avenue, east to Main Access and Office.

From Effingham, IL take I 70 west to Vandalia exit, Hwy 185 west to Coffeen, IL, west to Hwy 185 east to E. 14th Road, south to N. 4th Avenue, east to Main Access and Office.

From Decatur, IL take Hwy 48 south to Raymond, IL Hwy 127 south to Hillsboro, IL, Hwy 185 east to E. 14th Road, south to N. 4th Avenue, east to Main Access and Office.

Contact Information

15084 N. 4th Avenue, P.O. Box 517, Coffeen, IL 62017 -- 217.537.3351

More Info
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