Lake Galena & Marina Complex FAQs
How was Lake Galena formed?
Construction on the man-made lake began in 1974 and was completed in 1976. Lake Galena is fed by Smallpox Creek as well as natural springs. To capture the water, a class I dam was built between two existing hills about 1,100 feet apart; a spillway and waterfall also were created with construction of the dam on the lake’s west end.
Once the dam/spillway was complete, crews had to remove structures, trees, etc. from the valley. Any portion of land that would be covered with water was cleared. Once the flooding of the valley began, engineers estimated that it would take 18 months. It took just seven weeks due to a major snow melt in 1975, along with a very wet spring.
The dam and spillway were designed to withstand a 1,000-year flood. This means that the spillway is designed so that the amount of water from a flood that statistically has a one in 1,000 chance of happening in any given year, would still be safely carried over the spillway and not over the top of the dam. This would prove important as The Territory experienced 1,000-year floods in 2010 and 2011! The dam and spillway remained structurally sound through these flood events.
The lake is 225 acres; average depth is 20 feet, but there are several spots that are 60 feet deep. The bays and the Marina are shallower, ranging from one to 15 feet deep.
Who can boat or fish on the lake?
Property owners, guests of property owners, or guests of Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa may use the lake. Of course, a fishing license is required to fish the lake. Licenses are available at the Marina, online
or from another point-of-sale vendor. Only boats owned and registered to a property owner, the association, or the resort are permitted on Lake Galena.
What kinds of boats are allowed on the lake?
Any type of manually powered boat, including canoes, kayaks and rowboats, are allowed. There is a 10 hp. limit on all motorized boats Motorized boats are restricted to an 8-foot beam and 18 feet in length. Only boats owned and registered to a property owner, the association, or the resort are permitted on Lake Galena.
Is the lake good for fishing?
Lake Galena boasts some of the best fishing in the area, with an abundance of smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleye, bluegills, crappie, channel catfish, perch, and hybrid (tiger) muskie. The GTA’s Lake Management and Ecology Advisory Group, comprised of property owners in The Galena Territory, monitors fish populations and makes recommendations for annual fish stocking in the lake.
What is the creel census?
A creel census is the tabulation of fish species, by size, that are caught in the lake. The GTA’s Lake Management and Ecology Advisory Group asks anglers to fill out the forms that are found in the boxes on the dock ramps. They are tabulated at the end of the season and reported in the Territory Times and to the lake biologist. This information helps to decide what actions should be taken to keep Lake Galena’s fish healthy and plentiful.
How many fish, and at what lengths, am I allowed to keep?
Fishermen may keep:
Where can I fish from shore?
- 3 largemouth bass per day at lengths of 11 to 14 inches only (release other lengths)
- Smallmouth bass – all catch and release
- Tiger muskie – all catch and release
- 3 walleye per day of lengths 20 inches or longer (release shorter walleye)
- 10 yellow perch per day of lengths 10 inches or longer (release shorter perch)
- 20 crappie per day of lengths 10 inches or longer (release shorter crappie)
- 3 catfish per day of lengths 16 inches or longer (release shorter catfish)
- Bluegill/sunfish have no limits
There is a fishing pier at the Marina, as well as benches and trash cans along the shore for anglers’ convenience. Other good shore fishing spots are at the North Cove (accessible off Guilford Road) and Plum Cove (accessible from Wachter Drive). Fishermen also have had good luck fishing at Thunder Bay Falls Park (accessible from Thunder Bay Road). Fishing is not allowed from the docks at the Marina.
Is swimming allowed in the lake?
No. Runoff from agricultural lands and forests, farms that raise cattle, and acres of timber where wildlife thrives can bring E. coli bacteria into the lake.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) sets water-quality standards that must be maintained at all public swimming areas. Under the Illinois Administrative Code Title 77: Chapter 1: Part 820: Section 820.400....e. 2.A. states that “an E. coli count of 235 colonies/ 100 ml. or greater would warrant suspension of swimming activities.”
There are swimming facilities at the Owners’ Club for property owners and their guests.
What services are available at the Marina?
The Marina has many items available for sale, including fishing equipment, bait, and boating equipment, such as floats, rope, anchors, and batteries. Snacks, non-alcoholic drinks, sunscreen, 9-volt batteries, and other miscellaneous items also are available. Fishing licenses also can be purchased at the Marina. The Marina has a screened pavilion, bocce ball courts, grills, playground, picnic tables, a fishing pier and a shore fishing area.
How is the water quality?
The water quality is good. The GTA works in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to test for clarity, phosphorous, nitrogen, pH, temperature, and other parameters. Each year the results of the water testing are reported to the lake biologist as another piece of information to help make recommendations for maintaining the quality of the lake.
What kinds of plants grow in the lake?
The aquatic plants are mostly coontail and sago pond weed. These are plants that are rooted in the floor of the lake and grow during the spring and early summer. During July and August, a floating plant, called duckweed, is commonly found in the bays. Various algae species grow during the spring and summer. The one specie that can negatively impact the lake is the blue-green algae, which is toxic to fish and can be found on the lake, usually in mats along the sunny side of the lake, when the summer is hot. This occurrence of blue-green algae is a rare occurence on Lake Galena, however, it is closely monitored by the GTA.
How is the dam at Lake Galena maintained?
The dam for Lake Galena was completed in 1976 and was designed to withstand a 1,000-year flood event. During the July 24, 2011, storm that brought an unprecedented 12 inches of rain to the Galena area in 12 hours, the Lake Galena dam remained structurally sound. The GTA is required to conduct annual dam inspections working in concert with its engineering firm and federal and state agencies.
Who maintains Lake Galena?
The GTA employs a Lake and Marina manager and a Natural Resources manager, both of whom have responsibility for ensuring the health and safety of Lake Galena. Additionally, a volunteer Lake Management & Ecology Advisory Group, consisting of Territory owners, participates in lake maintenance and management decision making.
What types of wildlife will I see around Lake Galena?
On any given day, you may see many types of birds such as eagles, owls, osprey, blue herons, and wild turkeys, and a variety of animals including white tail deer, red fox, coyotes and beavers.
Why is there a gate restricting boat access to Lake Galena?
The gate was installed in 2007 by the Lake Management and Ecology Committee to prevent the spread of the fish disease Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS), detected in Wisconsin in Lake Winnebago and Lake Michigan at that time. The gate accomplishes two additional goals:
- Prevent the introduction of other diseases and aquatic invasive species into Lake Galena from other
bodies of water.
- Prevent unauthorized use of boats on Lake Galena by non-GTA members.