For Direction To Park Use: 100 Preserve Road, Shabbona, IL 60550
Bait Shop (815) 824-2581 Park Ofc (815) 824-2106 Cafe (815) 824-2481

Fishing & Boating

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Whether fishing from a boat or shore, both are popular and productive at Shabbona Lake, which is stocked with large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, rock bass, black and white crappie, black and brown bullhead, channel catfish, walleye, muskie and perch. For fish catch and size limits, contact the park office.

Lake access is available from a double-lane launching ramp. Boat motors are limited to a 10 horsepower maximum. However, an 18-acre upper fishing area is a no-wake zone where only the use of electric trolling motors or rowing is permitted. For further details, including information on special sailing regulations, contact the park office.

Swimming and/or wading is prohibited at Shabbona Lake. This regulation is strictly enforced.

47 thoughts on “Fishing & Boating

  1. I have an 18′ Alumacraft boat with a 115 hp motor. Can I put the boat in the lake if I keep my motor tilled up and just use my trolling motor?
    Thanks, Mike

    • Hi Mike ~ You can use your large motor to load and unload your boat. As long as you use your trolling motor on the main lake you are good! Have fun! ~ Becky

    • You are not allowed to run a motor over 9.9 hp on the lake. If you do you risk the chance of getting a ticket. The only exception is loading and unloading your boat.

    • Swimming regulations are set by the State of Illinois and the State Park office. Feel free to call 815-824-2106 to further inquire about why swimming is not allowed at Shabbona Lake State Park. We operate the bait shop, restaurant and campground store so we are not the best ones to answer your question. ~ Becky

  2. i know bowfishing is now allowed year round on the lake, are there any places from shorei would be allowed to bowfish from.

  3. Hey Happy 2013 fishing season!! How are the bass this year. Just checking before I make the looong drive. :)

    • Hi Johnny ~ It’s always best to call the bait shop at 815-824-2581 for the latest fishing conditions. They’ll be able to give you the best advice :) ~ Becky

  4. How would I go about bringing my own boat to this lake? It has a 25 hp motor and a trolling motor? Is the 25 hp motor ok to use in this lake?

    • You can use your 25 hp to load and unload your boat only. You would have to use your trolling motor on the lake. The motor limit on the lake is 9.9 hp.

  5. Hi. What are the times for fishing in the lake? Can you fish anytime day and night? If I rent a boat for whole day, is it per 24 hour basis or is it only from morning til night, like if I rent it in the afternoon, can I use it until the afternoon the following day? Thanks

    • The State Park is currently open from 6 AM – 10 PM. You can fish during those hours.

      Boat Rental all day is from 6 AM – 7 PM. It is not a 24 hour rental.

  6. How is fishing off the shore by the cabin and tent sites? Is the water shallow of shore, is the rocks and/or seaweeds?

    • Fishing from shore is good by the camp ground area. There is shallow water, rocks and seaweeds. Check in at the Bait Shop or the Camp Store for the best place to fish the day of your visit.

  7. Can you kayak on the lake? I don’t really fish, but kayak all the time and can’t find any good lake around here…with the draught the fox river is too low.

    • Hi Nick,

      You are allowed to use your big motor to load & unload your boat only. To move around the lake you would need a 10 hp motor or use a trolling motor.


  8. HI i went yesterday to fish for crappie and nothing and can you help where are crappies hitting from shore and what bait are they hitting more THANKS

    • Tom ~ I would recommend that you stop in the bait shop on the day of your visit. Fishing conditions can change daily and they are best equipped to send you in the right direction for that day. Ask for Denny or Clint and they will be glad to help you.
      ~ Becky

    • The no motor zone is the best place to fish from shore for crappie at this time of year. However, in about 2 weeks the crappie will be shallow and fishing will be in its prime.

  9. The bass bites is always good in the Spring using Chatterbaits, Rattle traps and live bait.

    Crappie fishing is amazing using live bait.

    Muskie fishing is hit and miss.

  10. i was curious about the fishing this time of year 4-6-12. me and some buddies were gonna head up here and fish. i know its great during the summer and fall time but what about spring?

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