Lake Minocqua, Wisconsin, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Wisconsin - Lake Superior Northwoods Region -

Also known as:  Minocqua Chain, Minocqua Lake

Summer vacation to many in the Midwest means Lake Minocqua. The time-honored tradition of ‘going up North’ connotes different destinations to different people, but usually means somewhere in northern Minnesota, Michigan or Wisconsin. Within families, generations travel to the same lakes, cottages and areas their grandparents did; one of the most popular is the Minocqua Chain of Lakes in the Lake Superior Northwoods Region of Wisconsin. Lake Minocqua has been greeting Mid-westerners since the late 1800s, offering them swimming, fishing, boating and cool lake breezes to defeat the heat of summer. The mode of travel, the fashions, and the choice of water sports may have changed over the generations, but the lake views and Northwoods vistas remain the same. The memories created around campfires and cooling swims in the moonlight are remarkably similar to those their parents and grandparents hold. Once again, the next generation renews its store of memories and relives its childhood at Lake Minocqua. It is not surprising that Midwest Living recently declared Minocqua one of the ’25 Coolest Midwest Lake Vacation Spots’.

Lake Minocqua has a large number of cottages and resorts along the lakefront which are in high demand as the summer progresses. Many families try to reserve the same cottage or cabin annually to impart a sense of ownership to a familiar place on the lakefront. Some visitors bring their own watercraft or rent one locally for the duration of their stay. The interconnected lakes in the chain are perfect for lazy days floating along the irregular shoreline or trolling the longer reaches for walleye or bass. Waterskiing, tubing, pontooning, wake-boarding, sailing, canoeing and kayaking can all be enjoyed here. Large numbers of waterfowl and birds can be seen along the wooded shoreline. The loon’s eerie call echoes across the water at dawn, and fish leave ever-expanding ripples on the surface of the lake as the sun goes down.

Fishermen come to Lake Minocqua to try their luck for largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie and muskellunge. A number of local guide services offer fishing trips to the best locations and offer tips on local bait successes and water conditions. Fishing resorts along the shoreline usually have a guide service or two on their list to call, and many repeat fishermen utilize the same guides they used in past years. A few marinas offer boat rentals, fishing licenses, gas, bait, tackle and boat launch facilities. A number of campgrounds exist along the chain to the delight of both fishermen and families. Nearby the Northern Highlands State Forest, American Legion State Forest, and the Riley lake and Boot Lake State Wildlife Management Areas offer hundreds of miles for hiking, cycling, canoeing, bird watching and fly fishing. And there are always local golf courses for the avid golfer who just can’t imagine not golfing during vacation!

The towns of Minocqua, Lake Tomahawk, Woodruff and Arbor Vitae supply not only the visitor’s needs for groceries, medical services, banking and shopping, but a variety of entertainment options to attract visitors regularly. The Min-Aqua Bats ski team provides a display of their prowess weekly during the summer as does the performance troop at Northern Lights Playhouse in nearby Hazelhurst. This summer theater is screened for relief from the sometimes ferocious mosquitoes and other biting insects that descend at dusk on occasion during the summer. A local business offers Pontoon Nature Cruises on the lake to point out nesting spots and watering holes of some of the local wildlife. Only 20 miles away, the Northwoods Children’s Museum provides hands-on activities and learning experiences that will delight the children in the family. Lake Tomahawk is the home of a unique ‘sport’ that has endured for nearly 50 years: Snowshoe Baseball! The local teams play weekly games for much of the summer and draw crowds as large as 300 people per game; all monies collected go to charity. The action isn’t what you’d call fast, but certainly does involve some fancy footwork.

Lake Minocqua spans 1300 acres and is connected via water to several other lakes. Big and Little Arbor Vitae lakes, Carroll Lake, Madeline Lake, Mid Lake, Tomahawk and Little Tomahawk, plus Lake Katherine all flow into Lake Minocqua, which in turn flows into Lake Kawaguesaga. A small dam was built in the 1880s where Lake Kawaguesaga flows into the Tomahawk River. The dam raised water levels between four and five feet, not a very popular idea with some residents at the time as it resulted in Minocqua being known as ‘the Island city’. The dam allowed larger boats to use the waterway; however, conflicts arose with lumbermen far downstream on the Wisconsin River who objected to having the water flow restricted. Several years of hard feelings and sabotage finally resolved into agreements that exist today.

Finding lodgings around Lake Minocqua is easy, as long as you reserve your favorites early. Literally hundreds of hotels, motels, resorts, private homes, cabins and cottages can be found for rent throughout the year here. Often these rentals are equipped for year-round residence and cater to hunters, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers and ice fishermen. Campgrounds on the Minocqua Chain can accommodate every type of camping from tents to large RVs. Many of the vacation rentals on Lake Minocqua include a row boat or canoe to make your visit complete. Real estate is often available, if not on Lake Minocqua, then on one of the other lakes in the chain. So, if ‘going up North’ is a part of your vacation vocabulary, come to Lake Minocqua. Make memories you will never forget!

Things to do at Lake Minocqua

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Forest
  • Museum
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lake Minocqua

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

Lake Minocqua Photo Gallery

Lake Minocqua Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Wisconsin DNR

Surface Area: 1,339 acres

Shoreline Length: 16 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,584 feet

Average Depth: 23 feet

Maximum Depth: 60 feet

Lake Area-Population: 500

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

Spread the word! Share our Lake Minocqua article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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."


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.