Once the level of the lake bed had been sufficiently raised, artificial habitats were created on the lake bottom. Designed to provide structure for the fish, submerged tire reefs, tree trunks and gravel mounds are among the habitats that lie beneath the surface of Whalon Lake. It was then time to allow groundwater, rainwater and overflow from the adjacent DuPage River to begin the lengthy process of filling the hole. After seven years, Elmhurst-Chicago Stone completed the restoration in 2005.
The Forest Preserve then began lake development. Bait fish such as bluegill, redear sunfish, emerald shiners and lake chubsuckers were introduced to establish a prey base for the sport fish to be introduced later.
Vegetation was then added to the lake to provide food and shelter from predators for the bait fish. More than 3,000 native aquatic plants were installed around the lake, including plants such as water plantain, lake sedge, water willow and arrowhead. Rooted vegetation, emergent vegetation and floating vegetation were established to support the spawning of fish.
After the bait fish became established, the lake was stocked from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ fisheries. Smallmouth and largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, channel catfish and walleye all were introduced into Whalon Lake.
The completion of Whalon Lake was celebrated with a Grand Opening in 2008.
Today, Whalon Lake has a maximum depth of 100 feet and an average depth of 15 feet and spans 80 acres. Shoreline fishing is provided around much of the lake, and trailer parking and a boat launch are available for fishing boats, canoes and kayaks.
“Along with providing visitors with a variety of water and trail-based recreational activities, Whalon Lake will serve as an important flood protection facility benefitting private and public properties along the DuPage River,” said Ralph Schultz, chief operating officer of the Forest Preserve District.
One of the best known former quarries owned by the Forest Preserve is Lake Renwick Heron Rookery Nature Preserve, in Plainfield.