Cedar Lake


Carbondale was named by Outdoor Life magazine as one of the top 200 towns for sportsmen and is home to one of Southern Illinois’ most beautiful recreational facilities --- Cedar Lake.


Fishing Tournament Information:

On Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 8:00 a.m., the Cedar Lake Supervisor will be accepting reservations for fish-offs/fishing tournament requests. Below is a listing of Rules, Regulations and Forms for the fish-offs and fishing tournaments.

The attachments are in pdf format:

2014 Fish-off/Fishing Tournament Permit Request Form

2014 Cedar Lake Rules


Past Programs and Workshops hosted by City of Carbondale at Cedar Lake:

2014 Workshops

2013 Workshops   

City of Carbondale Poplar Camp Beach

Enjoy a day fishing or relaxing on the beach at one of the most beautiful lakes in Southern Illinois: Cedar Lake. The City owns and maintains a public beach and boat dock at Cedar Lake. The beach is best known for its family atmosphere and beautiful scenery and fishermen enjoy regular success reeling in crappie and bass amid the beautiful coves surrounded by towering bluffs.

The beach opens Memorial Day Weekend, starting on Friday, May 23, 2014. Beach hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays and 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The Poplar Camp Beach sandy waterfront leads to a swim and play area, an area for rafts and floats plus a swim lap lane. Red Cross certified lifeguards are on duty during beach hours and Cedar Lake personnel and the Carbondale Police patroling the beach. Restrooms, picnic tables, and concession stand are also available. The entry fee for a day at the beach is $2.50 and children 4 years of age and younger are admitted free. Ten (10) visit passes are available for $20.00 and twenty (20) visit passes are available for $35.00.  Passes bought are good for the entire 2014 beach season and may be used at anytime.  After August 15, 2014, the beach will be open on weekends only through Labor Day, September 1, 2014, when the beach closes for the season.

The boat dock at Cedar Lake allows access to the lake for boats with a ten (10) horsepower motor or less. The lake is located south of Carbondale. To drive to Cedar Lake, take U.S. 51 south to the intersection of Old and New U.S. 51, follow Old U.S. 51 approximately 1/2 mile to Cedar Creek Road, travel west on Cedar Creek Road about a mile and follow the signs to the beach on Poplar Camp Road or for the boat ramp at the end of Cedar Creek Road.

We hope to see you there this summer!

For more information, call 618-549-8441.


Grant Funds Improved Shorelines at Cedar Lake

After thirty five years, Cedar Lake received some needed improvements and repairs. With combined funding from the City of Carbondale, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agencys Bureau of Water and the Division of Water Pollution Control, the City worked to stabilize eroded shoreline and helped to prevent soils from the watershed from eroding and entering the lake. These efforts will help keep the lake from silting in and will help maintain water quality and capacity for years to come. Much of the City owned land around the lake is hilly woodland. Over time gullies and ravines have developed due to heavy rains and uprooted trees causing erosion of soil into the lake.

The project was completed in 2010 with approximnately 10,000 feet of shoreline stablized. Crews also installed small dams, water diverstion devices, and used other techniques to slow running water and trap suspended soil particles on land, so that cleaner water is now entering the lake.  A loading pier on the north end of the City's boat ramp was constructed for the project which may eventually be converted to a fishing pier.

Anyone with questions on the project can call John Wallace, Cedar Lake Supervisor, at 549-8441.

Photo Gallery

Quick Facts


Cedar Lake is a 1,750-acre  reservoir in Southern Illinois that was created by the damming of Cedar Creek, a tributary of the Big Muddy River in 1974. The lake is located in Jackson County, southwest of Carbondale, Illinois. The lake is accessible from U.S. Highway 51.  The lake was constructed for the purpose of supplying tap water to the residents of Carbondale.

In addition, the lake serves fishing, swimming and active recreation purposes. Cedar Lake is managed for bass,(largemouth and striped), and crappie fishing. Fishermen can also fish for Channel catfish and bluegill.  The lake was described in 2007 as receiving "moderate to heavy" fishing pressure from the recreationally active people of southern Illinois and southeast Missouri. The city of Carbondale operates a parking lot, swimming beach, and boat dock at Cedar Lake. An admission fee is charged for the beach, but access to other sites is free of charge. The boat power limit is 10 horsepower (7.5 kW) or less. There is also an extensive trail system running around the lake that is able to be hiked year-round. The Cedar Lake Trail System totals 14 miles in length, and consists of four separate trails.

The Cedar Lake Trail System includes: Little Cedar Lake Loop, Wolf Den Hollow Trail, Cove Hollow Trail, and River to River Trail (great equestrian trail). The Little Cedar Lake Loop and Wolf Den Hollow Trail are popular day hikes, featuring scenic overlooks, lake views, rock shelters, and rock walls. The Cove Hollow Trail meanders between the shoreline and cliffs, with plenty of opportunities to explore a stream, shelter cave, and rocks. Trails are open year-round, so winter hikes provide beautiful snow and ice covered landscapes.


Hikers in search of wildlife may encounter white-tailed deer, raccoon, wild turkey, beaver, and many bird species from songbirds to raptors.    



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