With temperatures warming up, many are looking to get outdoors. The opening of Bowen Lake April 1 adds many options for those who seek a little fun in the sun, or a peaceful area for fishing, boating, picnicking or enjoying 13.8 acres of nature.



Located just off Main Street, Bowen Lake boasts a six-acre fishing lake complete with pier, a sheltered picnic area, wildlife areas, grasses with wildflowers and a walking trail around the lake. 

Washington Park District executive director Doug Damery said the lake is stocked with fish such as blue gill, large mouth bass and redear.


With temperatures warming up, many are looking to get outdoors. The opening of Bowen Lake April 1 adds many options for those who seek a little fun in the sun, or a peaceful area for fishing, boating, picnicking or enjoying 13.8 acres of nature.

Located just off Main Street, Bowen Lake boasts a six-acre fishing lake complete with pier, a sheltered picnic area, wildlife areas, grasses with wildflowers and a walking trail around the lake. 
Washington Park District executive director Doug Damery said the lake is stocked with fish such as blue gill, large mouth bass and redear.

“The population of blue gill is growing and taking over because the bass have been fished out quite a bit,” Damery said. “We are looking to add more fish.”

Damery said the man-made lake was constructed in the late 1980s or early 1990s after the recreation area’s namesakes, the George Bowen family, donated three acres of ground to the park district. The park district purchased the remaining 13.8 acres that make up Bowen Lake today.

Also involved in the construction of the area was the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Department of Conservation, Scruggs & Hammond and Clark Engineers.

Bowen Lake was designed to increase wetland habitat, provide nesting and refuge areas for wildlife, promote native species of grasses and wildflowers, provide fishing opportunities, canoeing and boating and picnicking.

Rena McCullough and Brian Haycraft, both of Washburn, were at the lake on its opening day of the season. The two often fish at Bowen Lake.

“We’ve been coming for quite a few years,” she said. “We can come over and relax, throw the poles in. If you catch something, fine.”

McCullough said she likes to bring her 4-year-old grandson fishing at the lake since it is only 20 minutes from home.

To fish, park regulations mandate that individuals over the age of 16 have a valid Illinois fishing license, use only fishing poles with a maximum of two poles per person and do not use minnows as bait. The park district encourages catch and release in an attempt to help share the fishing resource and places limits on the number of fish and their sizes.

Boaters must have a valid Bowen Lake boat permit, use boats no larger than 18 feet with electric trolling motors, be on the lake between sunrise and sunset and launch from the boat ramp.
Bowen Lake closes Nov. 1 each year.