Beaver Dam Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Wisconsin - Southern Savanna Region -

Surrounded by south-central Wisconsin farmland, Beaver Dam Lake on the Beaver Dam River is a beautiful rural getaway. Conveniently located 40 miles northeast of Madison and 60 miles northwest of Milwaukee, Beaver Dam Lake is easily accessible to city dwellers. Falling within Wisconsin’s Southern Savanna Tourism Region, this family-friendly destination provides year-round activities and fun for all ages.

Not to be confused with the Beaver Dam Lake in Barron County, Beaver Dam Lake in Dodge County is considerably larger. Original figures set the lake size at more than 6,500 acres, making it among the largest lakes in Wisconsin. In recent years the lake level has lowered to 5,540 acres giving a shoreline length of 39 miles. The 14-mile-long lake was impounded in 1842 when the first of a series of dams was built to power a sawmill and gristmill. Beaver Dam Lake and River were named after the beavers that were abundant in the area before the lake was formed.

The community of Beaver Dam stretches along the southeastern shore of Beaver Dam Lake. Each summer more than 15,000 residents celebrate the pleasures of lake life at the annual Beaver Dam Lake Days. Community volunteers from the Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association actively monitor lake resources and provide educational activities that promote and enhance lakeside living.

The fishing on Beaver Dam Lake and nearby Fox Lake is very good. With an average depth of five feet, the water is shallow but walleye, crappie and bluegill remain prevalent. There are also northern pike and large- and smallmouth bass. In the winter there is ice fishing and even ice skating on the lake. When snow falls, the surrounding hills provide excellent terrain for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and tobogganing.

Beaver Dam Lake has plenty of water for boating. A marina and several public ramps are located along the 41-mile shoreline. Swimming, jet skiing and water skiing are very popular. Beaver Dam’s Edgewater Park is a center of community activity and recreation with lagoons, piers, picnic tables, grills and restrooms. During the summer months when this rural community swells to a resort community, the Beaverland Must-Skis Ski Team performs free on the lake. It is a great family show and the team also organizes “Learn to Ski” clinics as well.

Over 400,000 visitors a year visit 32,000-acre Horicon Marsh, about 10 miles away. This state and national wildlife refuge is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States. Over 260 different kinds of birds have been sighted at Horicon including lots of waterfowl and migratory birds. Birders will appreciate the photo and observation blinds. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy fishing for northern pike or panfish in Rock River or hiking and biking marsh nature trails. There is also waterfowl hunting in the area and Dodge County has public hunting lands that produce trophy sized white-tailed deer.

The beautiful water, pastoral farmland and charming resort town of Beaver Dam combine to make Beaver Dam Lake a fantastic family getaway or place to call home. Vacation rentals and lake-front real estate properties surround Beaver Dam Lake. Join in lakeside barbecues, ice cream socials, fall harvests, or winter festivals. Find your home on Beaver Dam Lake and decide to stay awhile.

Things to do at Beaver Dam Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Tobogganing
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Wildlife Refuge

Fish species found at Beaver Dam Lake

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

Beaver Dam Lake Photo Gallery

Beaver Dam Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: City of Beaver Dam,WDNR

Surface Area: 6,542 acres

Shoreline Length: 41 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 873 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 88 feet

Average Depth: 5 feet

Maximum Depth: 7 feet

Water Volume: 30,677 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1842

Lake Area-Population: 15,169

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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