Chetek Chain of Lakes, Wisconsin, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Wisconsin - Lake Superior Northwoods Region -

Also known as:  Six Lakes

Tucked in the midst of the Wisconsin’s Lake Superior Northwoods Region lies the Chetek Chain of Lakes, also known as Six Lakes. Centuries ago, inhabitants of the Ojibway tribe first named this natural waterway “Little Pelican” in their native tongue. From south to north, the series soft water drainage lakes are known as Ten Mile Lake, Moose Ear Lake, Chetek Lake, Pokegama Lake, Ojaski Lake, and Prairie Lake.

All six basins of the Chetek Chain of Lakes are connected, and can be easily navigated through channels. Ten Mile Lake consists of 376 acres of shallow wetlands, which provides the perfect habitat for mallards and other bird species. Next lies the smallest of the bunch, Moose Ear Lake (34 acres) – which is a magnet for duck and muskrat. Then you’ll find Chetek Lake (769 acres), the deepest of the six, and by far the most popular place for enjoying water sports. Wildlife lovers tend to flock to Pokegama Lake (505 acres), which attracts a variety of bird and mammal species including the rare bald eagle. Just south sits Ojaski Lake (577 acres, affectionately known as “Mud Lake”), best known for its swampy marshes and large populations of northern pike and walleye fish. Lastly, Prairie Lake is the largest of the series (1,534 acres), and often visited in the spring and fall by large flocks of loons, Canada geese and coot geese. While nearby Potato Lake is not technically considered a part of the chain, it is nevertheless worth a visit for avid anglers.

Fishing is exceptional year round at the Chetek Chain of Lakes, particularly during the summer and winter months. Bass and panfish are by far the two most sought after species in the area. Other catches include northern pike, smallmouth bass, walleye, largemouth bass, bluegill, bullhead, black crappie, perch, rock bass, and bullhead. The Go Fish program, which tags and releases fish with prices ranging from $25-100 USD, was instituted 22 years ago as an incentive program to entice fisherman. Populations are carefully monitored to ensure that rules and regulations reflect the environmental reality of the area.

A dam is situated where the Chetek River flows into Chetek Lake. Owned by Barron County, this structure controls the water levels of all six lakes. Algae blooms occur during the summer, mostly due to the sandy, shallow topography of the lakes’ underbelly. Local facilities include campgrounds, public boat docks, fishing piers, and four parks.

Little Main Street Park is located downtown, the perfect place to rest after a long day of ambling about town. Just across from Chetek Lake lays the shady Gotham Park, with a beautiful pavilion – perfect for family outings and other events. Veterans Memorial park, near Prairie Lake, features picnic tables, fire pits, restrooms, a playground, and a number of short, scenic hiking trails. The fourth park in the area is Phillips Park (also known as Airport Park due to its close proximity to the airport), which is known for its laid-back ambiance and pristine facilities.

During the summer, lake activities include swimming, water skiing, jet skiing, kayaking and viewing the “Hydroflites Water Ski Show Team’s” jaw-dropping spectacles. The winter months bring unbeatable ice skating, snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding ice fishing, and dog sledding opportunities.
Chetek Lake and Prairie Lake are by far the most developed areas, both spotted with numerous vacation rentals, resorts, residential homes and real estate properties.

There are plenty of other things to do in the municipalities surrounding Chetek Lake. From the local brewery to the miniature golf course with pedal kart track, visitors are never bored in Chetek. On a rainy day, indoor bowling alleys, movie theaters, and a roller skating rink provide dry and convenient entertainment alternatives. The Chetek and Pioneer Village Museums display fascinating tours and exhibits explaining Wisconsin’s history. Walking tours pass through preserved pioneer buildings from the 19th century, featuring old farmsteads, a doctor’s office, library, and train depot.

Things to do at Chetek Chain of Lakes

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowmobiling
  • Dog Sledding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Miniature Golf
  • Movie Theater

Fish species found at Chetek Chain of Lakes

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

Chetek Chain of Lakes Photo Gallery

    Chetek Chain of Lakes Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Barron County

    Surface Area: 3,761 acres

    Shoreline Length: 61 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,037 feet

    Maximum Depth: 22 feet

    Water Volume: 33,911 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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