Kangaroo Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Wisconsin - Lake Michigan Region -

If you’ve ever had a yearning for the traditional Door County summer, Kangaroo Lake is what your dreams are made of. White birch, sandy-bottom swimming and trophy walleye are what the north woods and water are famous for. Sailing, wind-surfing, kayaking or bicycling-all have a place at Kangaroo Lake.

Door County, the uncommon peninsula that is home to Kangaroo Lake, is a very special place. This narrow strip of land separates Green Bay from the main body of Lake Michigan in the north eastern section of Wisconsin. Often called the Cape Cod of the Midwest, Door County’s name comes from French Voyageurs who called the rough passage between the tip of the peninsula and Washington Island ‘Porte des Mort’-or ‘Door of the Dead.’ In 1851, the Wisconsin Legislature settled on the name Door County for the entire peninsula.

No one seems to be sure how Kangaroo Lake got its name. As early as 1825, Lake Michigan nautical maps showed Cangaroo Lake-it may be a corruption of a local Native American place name. Less than one half mile inland from the shore of Lake Michigan, 1,123-acre Kangaroo Lake was settled early in the 1800s by Scandinavian, Irish and German immigrants who labored at farming and logging. Ice was harvested for sale off the lake in winter. The climate was ideal for orchards, still grown today in the area. Farmers on the west side built a causeway across the northern bay of the lake to shorten their trip to nearby Bailey’s Harbor. This causeway is now County Road E.

By the early 1900s, doctors and professionals from the St. Louis area were bringing their families to Kangaroo Lake for the summer. Small summer homes and cottages sprang up around the southern bay of the lake, often to be used only in the summer months. Some of the small resort cottages built early in the century are still standing today, updated and available for rent by the week or the summer. Most development is pleasantly spaced at a distance from other cottages, avoiding the densely-packed lakeshore so common farther south. Echo Island, mid-lake, is in private hands. Recently, timeshare condos have been developed with luxury amenities that bring in a more affluent summer crowd.

Because of the large amount of wetland acreage, substantial areas of the Kangaroo Lake shore have never been developed, leaving vast areas for wildlife, including deer, fox, coyotes and birds of all varieties. The entire shallow north bay around the inlet of Piel Creek is under the protection of the Nature Conservancy. At the south end of the lake near the Heins Creek outlet dam, the Lyle Harter-Matter Sanctuary is a 40-acre natural area that adjoins the Judy Abert Meissner Memorial Wetlands Preserve, a roadless undeveloped wetland. Access is only by foot and provides a fine day trip for bird watching, wildflowers and wetland exploration. An additional six sections of the shoreline are considered protected, no-wake areas to preserve native reeds and aquatic plants. Nearby country roads and trails are available for bicycling and snowmobiling. There is truly space to roam at Kangaroo Lake.

Excellent walleye fishing is an early spring draw to Kangaroo Lake. Several trophy fish have been pulled from the clear spring-fed waters. Northern Pike, Bluegill, Crappie, Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass are also caught, and ice fishing makes Kangaroo Lake a popular winter destination. Most resort cottages are heated and open for business all four seasons. Wisconsin Department of Natural Reseources (DNR) maintains a public launch site on the east side of the lake that will accommodate small and medium-sized boats. Most rental cottages have watercraft provided as there is no local commercial boat rental.

Unlike so many other popular resort lakes, Kangaroo Lake has no commercial development other than rental cottages, and thus maintains its peaceful atmosphere. One restaurant is located on County Road E, and many cottagers meet there for breakfast with friends. The town of Bailey’s Harbor is less than five miles to the east by local road and everything a vacationer should want can be had there. Bailey’s Harbor works hard at providing seasonal visitors with a varied schedule year-round of festivals,
fairs and local events.

Bailey’s Harbor is a popular destination for more adventurous Great Lakes sailors; the marina is well- equipped. Daytrips in the area around Kangaroo Lake abound, from wineries, orchards, campgrounds, nature trails, and even a state-owned golf course at Peninsula State Park ten miles from the lake. As an added special treat, indulge your nostalgia with an evening at the 1950s-style drive-in theater near the State Park entrance. A visit to Bjorklunden, part of Lawrence University, is an interesting side-trip. Bjorklunden is a 435-acre estate which contains a small wooden chapel, Boynton, built between 1939 and 1947 that contains 41 hand painted frescoes. The Door County Visitors Guide, available on-line, contains maps and schedules for a huge number of attractions in Door County, including biking paths, lighthouses and orchards.

Few year-round residents brave the winter at Kangaroo Lake on a regular basis except for the resort cottage owners who are always glad to provide you lodging for hunting, ice fishing and winter sports. Properties are available for sale at surprisingly reasonable price, and local realtors can connect you with either rentals or year-round homes.

So, come to Kangaroo Lake and indulge your childhood dreams of a traditional Door County summer.

Things to do at Kangaroo Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Wind Surfing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Drive-in Theater

Fish species found at Kangaroo Lake

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

Kangaroo Lake Photo Gallery

    Kangaroo Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Town of Baileys Harbour

    Surface Area: 1,123 acres

    Shoreline Length: 9 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 589 feet

    Average Depth: 6 feet

    Maximum Depth: 12 feet

    Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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