Lake Shelbyville is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility, built as part of a general comprehensive plan for the development of the Kaskaskia Basin for flood control, recreation, water supply, and fish and wildlife conservation. The 11,000-acre lake and its surrounding uplands form a scenic background for a variety of outdoor recreational activities.
At normal pool, Lake Shelbyville averages 16 feet in depth, with a maximum depth of 67 feet. Islands, coves, peninsulas and inlets create 250 miles of picturesque, wooded shoreline. It extends nearly 17 miles from the dam at Shelbyville to its limits above Sullivan and Bethany. Development of the shoreline has been intentionally kept to a minimum, allowing uninterrupted views of the lake's natural features throughout its length.
Shelbyville State Fish and Wildlife Area is composed of two separate units. The Kaskaskia Unit (eastern) covers 3,700-acres and the West Okaw Unit (western) is about 2,500 acres. These are managed primarily to promote diverse habitats to accommodate a wide variety of wildlife species, and support related recreational opportunities. Because of its focus on hunting and fishing, the area has no camping, picnicking or day-use facilities.