Castle Rock Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Wisconsin - Central Sands Prairie Region -

Also known as:  Castle Rock Flowage

Castle Rock Lake offers what lake lovers want: a lot of water, an abundance of fish, and countless beautiful views. Castle Rock one of Wisconsin’s largest inland lakes,
covering an impressive 16,640 acres. The lake and the surrounding area are a great nature getaway, promising visitors a chance to get up close and personal with wildlife.

Castle Rock Lake stretches through Adams and Juneau Counties in Wisconsin’s Central Sands Prairie tourism region. It and its larger sister lake, Lake Petenwell are impoundments on the Wisconsin and Yellow Rivers. The Wisconsin River Power Company started construction of the dams creating the lakes in 1947. When the work was done in the early 1950s the Castle Rock Lake and Lake Petenwell Dams were unique because they were built on the sand, one of the first such projects undertaken in the United States.

When the Castle Rock Dam was completed in 1951 two towns flooded when the resulting lake reached full pond. Germantown at the mouth of the Yellow River was a lumber town that got its start in 1848. At its liveliest, Germantown had two breweries. Most of Germantown’s buildings had been moved by the time the lake flooded the area. Werner, the other town flooded by Castle Rock Lake was also a lumber town, but by the time construction on the dam had started the town was mostly abandoned. The Castle Rock Dam is still in operation and the Wisconsin River Power Company uses it to generate power for the surrounding area.

Castle Rock Lake has a mostly undeveloped shoreline. Stately trees grace the perimeter of the lake and create homes for birds and other wildlife. The sandy shores make nice beaches. In Juneau County two parks offer a place to stay and play. The 160-acre Castle Rock County Park has more than 300 campsites, boat launch, and swimming beach as well as trails for hiking and cross country skiing in the colder months. Buckhorn State Park, established in 1971, is a 4,500 acre park and wildlife area on a peninsula of Castle Rock Lake. The wildlife in Buckhorn State Park is diverse because the environments are so varied, ranging from floodplain forest to prairie, savanna, and desert-like areas. At the Buckhorn Wildlife Management area you have the opportunity to see Canada geese, herons, sandhill cranes, ducks, muskrats, beavers, otters and mink in the marshes and sloughs. The uplands are home to whitetail deer, coyotes, wild turkeys, and even an occasional black bear. Hawks and owls hunt remnant prairies and mixed oak-pine stands for mice, snakes, insects and other prey. The State Park is certified in the Travel Green Wisconsin program. Travel Green Wisconsin is a voluntary program that reviews, certifies and recognizes tourism businesses and organizations that have made a commitment to reducing their environmental impact.

Nearby Necedah Wildlife Refuge is a perfect destination for bird watchers. It is home to whooping cranes and trumpeter swans along with several rare and threatened species. The refuge was established in 1939 in the Great Central Wisconsin Swamp, the largest wetland bog in the state. All but a few of the 43,656 acres is located in Juneau County. The Central Wisconsin Conservation Area is 60,000 acres on the west boundary of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. It provides public hunting grounds for upland birds and waterfowl. There is camping at the Meadow Valley Ranger Station as long as you get permission from the department of natural resources.

Adams County has its own Castle Rock County Park. The 141-acre park has 200 camping units. It also includes a designated swimming area, boat launch, 30 boat slips, shelter house, playground equipment, snowmobile unloading and loading area, restroom and showers facilities and a game room plus a concession area. The park is located southwest of Friendship on County Hwy Z.

Roche-A-Cri State Park is 540 acres located one and a half miles North of Friendship. Here you will find 41 campsites. The highlight of the park is the 303 step stairway to the top of Roche-A-Cri Mound. There are also vacation rentals such as waterfront cottages and homes in Adams and Juneau Counties, if you choose to enjoy Castle Rock Lake in a more private way.

When visiting Castle Rock Lake you might want to take a short drive south to the city of Wisconsin Dells. The city of 24-hundred residents is located partially in four counties: Adams, Juneau, Colombia and Sauk. The city gets its name from the dells of the Wisconsin River. The glacially formed gorge features beautiful sandstone formations along the banks of the Wisconsin River. The self-proclaimed “Water Park Capital of the World” has three outdoor water parks and 18 indoor parks. These parks total 70 acres in the Dells area. The area is also home to the unique Dells Museum of Historic Torture Devices. The Museum is open May through September and features torture devices from all over the world.

When planning a trip to Castle Rock Lake, pick your season. The later months of spring offer wildflowers and active wildlife awaking from their long winter’s nap. Fine fishing and water sports dominate the warm summer months. A rainbow of colors greets visitors and surrounds the lake in the fall. The reflection of the changing leaves looks like a patchwork quilt of colors. With winter comes snow, cross country skiing, snow mobile races and picturesque views of snow hanging on drooping evergreen limbs.
So pick you season a wild and wonderful time waits.

Things to do at Castle Rock Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Wildlife Refuge
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Playground

Castle Rock Lake Photo Gallery

Castle Rock Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Wisconsin River Power Company

Surface Area: 16,640 acres

Shoreline Length: 73 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 882 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 894 feet

Average Depth: 12 feet

Maximum Depth: 35 feet

Water Volume: 172,050 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1951

Drainage Area: 6,864 sq. miles

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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