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For a select and lucky few, Kellart Lake is a scenic and peaceful retreat. An hour and a half from Chicago, 45 minutes from Bloomington, Champaign and Kankakee, and two miles from Cissna Park in southeast Illinois, this 65-acre lake provides a tree-lined paradise in the middle of remote Iroquois County.
Kellart Lake is a private lake community. Private residential real estate and a few vacation rentals surround the park-like shoreline. Access to the lake is restricted to property owners and renters. Boating and fishing are the main recreational activities. Drop in a line from your own dock or motor out to the deeper water where white bass, largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill and even bowfin are biting. Motorboats up to 9.9 horsepower are allowed, but pontoon boats are a more common site on the deep, blue water. Pontoon boats make great fishing boats as well as floating islands for family and neighborly get togethers. Jet skis and similar personal watercraft are not permitted on the lake, but swimming from shore or off the back of a boat is encouraged. Many areas of the lake are no-wake zones, providing excellent opportunities for canoeists and kayakers. A small island only ads to the charm of this sparkling lake.
Visitors to Kellart Lake looking for additional fishing holes will find over 48 locations in the surrounding rolling hills of Iroquois County. Bayles Lake, Iroquois Lake, Widner Lake, Fish Lake, Kam Lake, Miller Spring Lake, Gaffield Creek, and Prairie Creek are just a few locations where you can cast for largemouth bass, crappie, panfish and record-size channel catfish. Note: Although most fish taken from Illinois lakes and streams are safe to eat, refer to the Illinois Fish Advisory (link below) before eating fish caught from any Illinois waterway.
South of Kellart Lake is the Middle Fork River Forest Preserve with 1,600 acres of hardwood forests and grassy meadows. Abundant in hiking and nature trails, the preserve contains one of the region's premier Waterfowl Management Areas, and also a large campground complete with a swimming beach and electrical hookups. Fishing in one of three small ponds or the Middle Fork River will appeal to anglers of all ages. Boat rentals, cross-country skiing, picnicking, and educational programs are also offered in the park.
North of Kellart Lake, Kankakee River State Park sits on 4,000 scenic acres and features the Kankakee River running through it. The Kankakee River provides anglers with many opportunities for catching largemouth bass, catfish, northern pike, and walleye. Equestrian trails cover 12 miles of the park. An equestrian campground as well as a riding stable for horse rentals and guided tours can be found in the park. During winter months, trails are used for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Other activities at the park include biking, camping, canoeing, hiking, hunting, picnicking, and wildlife observation.
The Iroquois County State Wildlife Area lies northeast of Kellart Lake and covers 2,480 acres of prairie marsh and sand dune vegetation. The park is well known for its hiking and snowmobile trails along with picnic areas, archery range, hand trap range, dog training areas, and hunting. In addition to supporting huntable populations of deer and small game, the wildlife area is home to numerous non-game birds and mammals. During migration season, the marshes fill up with waterfowl and an occasional, rare sandhill crane.
Towns closest to Kellart Lake include Cissna Park, Buckley, Wellington, Woodland and Milford. The area's agri-tourism invites visitors to experience Iroquois County's working farms, where you can pick berries and buy fresh produce in the summer, enjoy hay rides and harvest festivals in the fall, and sip some hot cocoa after a winter sleigh ride. The historical downtown "Main Street" also provides a hometown atmosphere with numerous small shops and eating destinations.
Kellart Lake offers the unique opportunity to enjoy gloriously remote attractions, festivals, and the sights and sounds of central Illinois while still providing a quiet and exclusive lakeside retreat. Perfect for retirees, permanent or weekender residents, this jewel of a lake is not to be overlooked when a vacation rental or real estate property becomes available.
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