Worldwide there has been deterioration of lakeshore habitat and increasing eutrophication. These stresses have impacted littoral macroinvertebrate communities. However, bioassessment and rehabilitation have been largely carried out offshore, and the inshore macroinvertebrates have received less attention especially in shallow plateau lakes. In this study, we compared inshore and offshore macroinvertebrate communities in a shallow plateau lake, Lake Dianchi, China. The environmental parameters determining the distribution of macroinvertebrates were analyzed with partial redundancy analysis. Our results showed that macroinvertebrate communities differed significantly between inshore and offshore. Taxonomic richness was much higher inshore than offshore, due to higher habitat heterogeneity. By contrast, both density and biomass inshore were significantly lower than those of offshore. Generally, vegetation and substrate type were the key environmental parameters shaping macroinvertebrate communities. Eutrophication exerted great effect on offshore communities, while its impacts on inshore communities varied spatially. Shoreline degradation and seasonal eutrophication effects resulted in the limited density and biomass of inshore communities. Our results emphasized the significance of inshore habitats for macroinvertebrates in Lake Dianchi, and provided important implications for bioassessment and ecological rehabilitation in shallow lakes.