Anvil Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Wisconsin - Lake Superior Northwoods Region -

Known as the “Jewel of the Northwoods”, Anvil Lake in Vilas County, Wisconsin offers four seasons of outdoor fun and adventure. Situated in the beautiful Nicolet National Forest with clear clean water and unspoiled shoreline, this lake will quickly become your favorite vacation destination.

Anvil Lake was formed by glaciers moving across the land over 12,000 years ago. The earliest area inhabitants arrived about 4,000 years ago and were considered to be hunters and gatherers that archeologists labeled Northern Highlands or Middle Woodlands peoples. More currently, 1634 is the first documented visit by a European, Jean Nicolet, whose mission was to act as a peacemaker between the Winnebago tribe and the Ottawa. The early French realized the value of the area with an abundant fur trade with these Native Americans who traded furs to the French for guns, gunpowder, shot, and trinkets. Around the early 1900’s, lumber became the booming business of the area and the first official lake residents were 15-20 lumbermen and their families who lived on the southwest side of the lake near the sawmills. Lumber was floated across the lake to the northern shore to be loaded aboard a train and shipped to other parts of the country. After the valuable forestland had been depleted, railroad owners planned to sell the land to populate the area in order to keep the demand for railroad passenger and freight use. The 1930’s saw the arrival of the first tourists to the area on pontoon planes to enjoy an exciting nature excursion. Over the years, popularity grew as more people purchased real estate for vacation homes and permanent residences. Resorts, lodges and cabins were built enticing more vacationers to the area and some kept the rustic back to nature aspect as electricity did not reach around the entire lake until 1989. Today, visitors and residents alike appreciate this colorful history as it has established Anvil Lake as a top vacation area and scenic lake front community.

In the warm months of spring and summer, Anvil Lake offers a sandy beach for relaxing and swimming along with boating, waterskiing, jet skiing, kayaking, canoeing, and sailing. Many hiking and biking trails wind around the lake and through the forest. In the snowy frozen months, the action does not stop. The trails are used for snowshoeing, cross country skiing and snowmobiles. No matter which month of the year it is, fishing is always great whether you choose to fish on the water or the ice. Walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rock bass, bluegill, perch, crappie, pumpkinseed and northern pike are present in Anvil Lake and are waiting to test anglers’ skill.

The closest city to Anvil Lake is Eagle River that proudly boasts to be the “Snowmobile Capital of the World” and has been consistently ranked by Snowgoer Magazine as “the best overall snowmobiling vacation destination.” Numerous snowmobile clubs combine effort to groom, mark, and maintain a 500 mile snowmobile trail network that winds through the snow covered forest and across frozen lakes that is known as “The Eagle River 500.” Eagle River is also widely known for its annual ice palace which is built by volunteers each winter with over 700 “man hours” from 12-inch-thick ice blocks cut from a local lake, hauled downtown and then constructed into 20-foot high frozen structures that change yearly. Snowmobiling may be a popular winter sport, but the area is also home to cross country skiing, Nordic trails, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, and dog sledding.

Just like Anvil Lake, Eagle River is enjoyed year round. Once the snow is melted, residents and tourists venture out to enjoy the scenery as the white has turned to green in budding trees. Throughout the area, wildlife watchers will enjoy the forest’s abundant wildlife sniffing for food after a long dormancy or hibernation including black bears, deer, bald eagles, loons, grouse, and waterfowl. Birdwatchers have documented over 320 species of birds here. For the adventurous, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding are available on the once snow covered trails. With many lakes in the vicinity, boating, swimming, and on water activities begin again with each warming day.

For your time at Anvil Lake and Eagle River, numerous vacation rentals are available. Camping is a great way to fully enjoy this natural paradise and many campgrounds are available from lakefront, in the lush forest, or along one the many trails, streams or the river itself. Bed and Breakfast inns with comfortable rooms and great hosts combine for a peaceful and relaxing stay. With tranquil views and inviting amenities such as Jacuzzis, woodburning fireplaces and a variety of floor plans, resorts, lodges, vacation homes and condominiums are always a great choice for extended stays.

From quiet peaceful sports like snowshoeing and cross country skiing in a pristine snowy setting to the fast paced swooshing of snowmobiling to the warm beauty of a forest waking up from its winter sleep, to year round fishing in Anvil Lake and Eagle River, this setting is a top four-season destination. Many who visit each year decide to relocate here as Eagle River has also been voted multiple times as a top 100 place to retire by Where to Retire Magazine. Come for a visit and see for yourself why so many people choose Anvil Lake and Eagle River as their number one vacation choice.

Things to do at Anvil Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Dog Sledding
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Anvil Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Anvil Lake Photo Gallery

    Anvil Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 398 acres

    Shoreline Length: 5 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,739 feet

    Average Depth: 19 feet

    Maximum Depth: 32 feet

    Water Volume: 7,381 acre-feet

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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