Bowen Lake Park was developed in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Department of Conservation, the George Bowen Family and Washington Park District. IDOT had a borrow pit built to obtain fill dirt as part of the IL Route 24 By-pass construction. The design was altered to make the lake more readily usable and suitable for recreational use.

The Illinois Department of Conservation Fisheries biologist, Wayne Herndon, provided design and fish habitat enhancement information to promote the lake’s fish population, as well as the fish stocking program.

The George Bowen Family donated 3 acres of ground to the Washington Park District and also allowed the purchase of the remaining 10.8 acres so the site could be used for recreation purposes. Bowen Lake is named in honor of the Bowen Family.


Bowen Lake is a six acre lake with boat ramp and fishing pier.


Boating & Fishing Regulations

Boat Permits

Boat permits for Bowen Lake may be purchased at the Administration Office located at 105 S. Spruce St. during regular business hours. Boat Permits are good for the calendar year in which they are purchased.

Boat Permit Fees:            Residents $5      Non-residents $10

Boat Regulations

  • Valid Bowen Lake boat permit required
  • Only boats 18 ft. or smaller permitted on Bowen Lake.
  • Only electric tolling motors are allowed
  • No gas motor allowed on boat in order to prevent water pollution.
  • One personal floatation device required per person.
  • Boating permitted from sunrise to sunset
  • Boats may only be launched from boat ramp
  • Boats over 16 ft. must have a throwable life preserver.

Fishing Regulations

  • Valid Illinois fishing license required for individuals over 16 years of age.
  • Only fishing poles allowed – maximum of 2 poles per person
  • Catch and release encouraged to share fishing resource
  • Fish limits & size:
    • Bass: 3 fish daily, Only bass below 12" and above 15" may be kept
    • Channel Catfish: 6 Fish Daily, No Size Limit
    • Blue Gill & Redear: Unlimited, No Size Limit
    • Walleyes: 1 Fish Daily, 15” Minimum
  • No minnows to be used as bait
  • Do not introduce new fish to Bowen Lake
  • No swimming, no ice fishing and no ice skating.

During the winter months, the road is closed to vehicle traffic, but individuals may walk in and enjoy the park.


  • Civic Club Shelter (Portable Toilet, No Electric, No Water)
  • Nature Trail
  • Open Space
  • Swing Set
  • Parking

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Administrative Office

105 S. Spruce St.
Washington, IL 61571

Phone: 309-444-9413
Fax: 309-444-3849

WPD weather information line 309-366-2413

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