Cedar Lake / Poplar Camp Beach


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 / Hunting Information:

The Cedar Lake Supervisor is accepting fish off and fishing tournament requests for Cedar Lake permits in 2015.  Call 618/549-8441 for available dates.  2016 date requests will not be accepted until after January 3, 2016 with an exception for January 2016 fish off dates, which will be accepted after November 1, 2015.  Date requests for Cedar Lake fish off permits are reserved on a first come, first served basis.  Statewide fishing tournament permits are also required for organized competitive fishing events.  Contact the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at www.dnr.illinois.gov or www.ifishillinois.org for more information.   Below is a listing of Lake Rules and Regulations, Fish-Off and Fishing Tournament Permit applications, plus the Cedar Lake Deer Hunting Fact Sheet and Map.  For more specifics or questions about Cedar Lake call the Lake Supervisor at 618/549-8441.

The attachments are in pdf format:

Cedar Lake Rules

Archery Deer Hunting Season

Archery deer hunting season opens October 1, 2015.   In an effort to help reduce populations of white-tailed deer, most of the City’s surrounding Cedar Lake land will be open to archery deer hunting beginning October 1, 2015.  The season will remain open through January 17, 2016, with two exceptions, November 18-20 and December 1-4, 2015.  Hunters do not need to sign in or register but are responsible for knowing City of Carbondale regulations. In addition, hunters must also comply with Illinois hunting regulations.

General information about the hunt along with the regulations can be found in the hunter fact sheet and map of the hunt area.  Paper versions of the fact sheet and hunt area map should be available at several access areas and can be found electronically on this page in a downloadable format.  Firearms are not permitted on City property at Cedar Lake and no other hunting is allowed.

2016 Hunting Fact Sheet

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

2016 ShoreLine Projects

2015 News Events

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 is open Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend each year. The dates and prices will be posted at the opening of the season. The Poplar Camp Beach sandy waterfront leads to a swim and play area, an area for relaxing on rafts and floats plus a lap swim lane. Red Cross certified lifeguards are on duty during beach hours with Cedar Lake personnel and the Carbondale Police patrolling the beach. Restrooms, picnic tables, and a concession stand are also available.

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.

For more information, call 618-549-8441.


Photo Gallery

Quick Facts


A Power Point of Cedar Lake before construction was put together with photographs of the area was done as a tribute to the land before the lake was built.

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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