SOUTH SHORE STATE PARK
Carlyle Lake, which at 26,000 acres is the largest manmade reservoir in Illinois, is home to South Shore State Park. Located on land leased by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the 3-mile-long park is situated on the lake's southeast side, approximately 3 miles east of the city of Carlyle on Illinois Route 50.
Managed to preserve its natural and cultural resources, the park also provides recreational opportunities, including small-boat access, a Class C campground with vehicular access, five day-use areas for picnicking, two 3/4-mile hiking trails that also are used periodically as a 3-D archery ranges, as well as outstanding bank-fishing opportunities. Observing wildlife, especially white-tailed deer, is another popular activity.
South Shore State Park is host to many wildlife species. In addition to deer, the park is inhabited by red foxes, raccoons, squirrels, woodchucks, quail, doves and songbirds, including bluebirds. Bluebird boxes, other nest structures and brush piles have been placed throughout the park. Local wildlife populations also benefit from the restoration of native prairie grasses along the park's roadways. More than 200,000 waterfowl stop at the lake on their migratory travels north and south each winter. Along with waterfowl, other types of birds commonly seen at the park include herons and egrets, shorebirds, songbirds and raptors.
Hickory Hollow Campground features vehicular access for 33 tents or trailers, with a sanitary disposal station located nearby. Neither electricity nor showers are available to campers. With its position along Carlyle Lake, the campgound offers tremendous lake views and allows many campers to keep their boats in the protected coves of the campground's shoreline. All campers must obtain a permit from park staff before entering the campground. Hickory Hollow is an alcohol-free campground.
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A boat-launching area for small boats is found at the Deer Run Access Area, located at the northern part of the park. Immediately adjacent to the park is a large-boat ramp operated by the Corps of Engineers. No boat rental is available within the park. Motor size is not limited and sailboats are welcome on the lake.
Many of the access areas have been riprapped to protect the shores from erosion. These areas also provide good fishing spots. Anglers can catch crappie, largemouth bass, white bass, walleye, bluegill, sunfish, channel catfish, carp and suckers.