In 1979, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources signed a lease with Central Illinois Public Service Company which designated the 1,775-acre Newton Lake and 540 acres of shoreline as a day use conservation area. By agreement, recreational activities at Newton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area consist of fishing, picnicking, trail use and deer hunting.
Central Illinois Public Service Company constructed an electric power generating plant in Jasper County southwest of Newton. The Newton Plant was the most modern in the network of CIPS generating plants, fueled by coal and utilizing the latest developments in sulfur dioxide removal systems. When the two generators at the plant operate simultaneously a total generating capacity of approximately 1,180,000 kilowatts is produced.
Hunting programs at Newton Lake SFWA are available for deer (shotgun and archery), upland game, waterfowl and turkey (spring and fall archery). Waterfowl hunters must disembark from the east boat ramp. Contact site office for specific rules and regulations regarding all the hunting programs
A two-lane boat ramp is available at the south access area. Concessions are available near the lake. The northern ends of the Sand Creek and Laws Creek fingers of the lake are restricted areas. Sailboating and swimming are not permitted. There is a 25 HP limit on boat motors.
Newton Lake has a good bass population as a result of a comprehensive stocking program initiated shortly after the lake was impounded in 1976. Pole and line fishing only is permitted with a limit of two poles per fisherman.
To avoid the possibility of over harvest and thus assure good fishing in the future, it is necessary to impose an 18-inch minimum length on largemouth bass and a daily creel limit of three per angler. The lake may produce some of the largest bass in Illinois.
Twenty-two miles of trail along the picturesque shoreline of the lake were opened in 1980. The trail system begins at the North Access parking lot. The trails are opened to hiking, cross-country skiing and equestrian use. A 5-mile mountain bike trail also is open. Motorized vehicles are prohibited.