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Located 40 miles northwest of Chicago, the Fox Chain O'Lakes is one of the most popular inland water sport destinations in the state of Illinois. The Fox Chain O'Lakes is made up of 15 beautiful lakes interconnected by the Fox River and a series of channels. Long Lake, one of the smaller and more secluded lakes in the chain, offers outstanding opportunities for boaters, sailors, anglers, and water skiers, but without the crowds.
The nine major lakes in the Fox Chain O'Lakes range from 86 to 1,700 acres in size. Although glacial in origin, the lakes' water levels are controlled by a series of dams on the Fox River, including the McHenry Dam. The dams, under the control of the Illinois Division of Water Resources, maintain recreational water levels and control flooding. Ten of the lakes in the chain are connected by the Fox River and another five smaller lakes by canals and channels. Water depths range from three to 42 feet depending on the lake. Long Lake is located southeast of Fox Lake, one of the most popular recreational lakes in the chain. Connected to Fox Lake by a series of meandering channels, 335-acre sparkling Long Lake is a bit removed from the main chain, but still has plenty to offer when it comes to outdoor recreation.
Pristine Long Lake is located near the community of Ingleside in Lake County. Most of the area is well developed with residential neighborhoods with the exception of a stretch of land on the northern bend of the lake which belongs to the Grant Woods Forest Preserve. Visitors to the lake can gain access to the water through several boat launches on the lake. Long Lake is well known for its sailing and a yacht club on the lake will be glad to teach the sport to anyone willing to learn. Along with sailing, the lake offers year round angling, with ice fishing popular during the winter months. Addition water related recreation includes jet skiing, canoeing, kayaking, waterskiing, wake boarding, swimming, snowmobiling, ice skating, and cross country skiing.
In 2008, the Long Lake Dam on the outlet of the lake was rebuilt and modernized. The dam was originally constructed in 1930. The Long Lake Dam controls the amount of water flowing from Long Lake to Fox Lake. The dam also allows boats to leave Long Lake and visit other lakes in the Chain.
A variety of sport fish await anglers. Fish in Long Lake include northern pike, chain pickerel, largemouth bass, white bass, crappy, bluegill, channel catfish, bullhead, carp and yellow perch. Because most people head to the more popular lakes in the Chain, fishing on Long Lake is preferred by those who enjoy peace and quiet. Fox and neighboring Pistakee Lakes are the two largest bodies of water in the Chain and receive most of the public use with as many as 60,000 people visiting on summer weekends.
For the outdoor enthusiast, Grant Woods Forest Preserve is just north of Long Lake and offers over 1,070 acres of wide-open prairies, quiet woodlands and scenic marshes for exploring and viewing wildlife. The preserve is a great place for a hike and a family picnic. In the winter, this preserve is a popular spot for snowmobilers who have access to five miles of trails.
For those who don't mind crowds, the Fox Chain O'Lakes State Park encompasses 2,450 acres and offers unlimited outdoor activities. Located just eight miles north of Long Lake, the park offers hiking trails, picnic facilities, camping, vacation rentals, and boating, swimming and fishing on the park's 44-acre Turner Lake. Horseback riding is a great way to explore the park and horses are available for rent. Hunting is also allowed in designated areas. During the winter months, ice skating and ice fishing are popular activities and the hiking trails can be used by cross-country skiers. Visitors to Long Lake who don't enjoy wilderness camping will find numerous vacation rentals and real estate around the lake and nearby lakes in the area.
Located midway between Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Long Lake is the perfect setting for outdoor recreation, natural relaxation, and comfortable accommodations for a day, a weekend, or even longer. Camp, hike, and explore the surrounding area or just enjoy a peaceful afternoon bobbing and drifting on the glittering expanse of the lake itself.
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