Lake Poygan, Wisconsin, USA
Also known as: Poygan Lake
Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Poygan — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!
Topics we cover in this article:
- All About Lake Poygan
- Things to Do
- Fish Species
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Lake Poygan Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Shop Lake Poygan Gifts
Looking for Lake Poygan cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.
All About Lake Poygan
The heron wades slowly through the reeds at the edge of the lake, stalking his prey. On the other side of the reeds, the man in the boat is doing exactly the same thing waiting and watching for the strike that means the fish has taken his bait. Angler and bird mirror each other patiently waiting for the fish. In all likelihood they will both be successful today. Lake Poygan in the Central Sands Region of Wisconsin is full of fish. In fact, it has the reputation for the best fishing in the Winnebago Pool which also includes Lake Winnebago, Lake Butte des Morts, and Lake Winneconne.
Poygan Lake has healthy populations of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and white bass along with northern pike and walleye. It is also a popular place to ice fish with shacks and cars dotting the lake as soon as winter sets in. Relatively large populations of lake sturgeon live in Lake Poygan and the other Winnebago Pool lakes. The sturgeon can live to be 100 years old and often grow to weigh over 100 pounds taking on almost mythical proportions. Spear fishing season for sturgeon starts in February and is open every year on Lake Winnebago and every fifth year on Lake Poygan and the other Winnebago Pool lakes.
The Wolf River makes up both the inflow and outflow of Poygan Lake. Formed by the Labrador Ice Sheet about 10,000 years ago the lake was originally a shallow rice lake. The Menomonee Indians, also called “People of Wild Rice,” traveled to the lake in the fall to harvest rice for the coming year. Lake Poygan was so shallow it could be crossed on horseback.
The shallow water made navigation by boat difficult to impossible, however, and in 1849 the first of a series of dams was constructed to raise water levels to improve navigation. The Neenah-Menasha Dams were raised and rebuilt until finally by 1881 water levels had risen 3.5 feet. The increased water levels flooded thousands of acres of land resulting in many lawsuits against the United States government which eventually paid damages to the landowners. An influx of hungry carp ate and killed the rice.
With a maximum depth of eleven feet, Lake Poygan is still a shallow lake. It sprawls over 14,000 acres across Winnebago County and has direct access through Lake Winneconne to the approximately 170,000 acres of water in the Winnebago Pool system supplying visitors with an abundance of boating and fishing opportunities. Vacation rentals and permanent residences dot the shore, and there is real estate available for sale. Nearby Winneconne has shops, restaurants and a variety of accommodations, and Oshkosh is an easy drive from the lake.
At the western end of the lake, the Poygan State Wildlife Area has 3,282 acres of marshy land set aside for waterfowl and wildlife. Trails wind across the area providing ample opportunities to watch the waterfowl and other birds. Hunting is also allowed in season.
Fantastic fishing and bird watching combine to make Lake Poygan a great Wisconsin destination. Add all the water and boating opportunities of the rest of the Winnebago Pool lakes and this Central Sands Region getaway has something to please everyone.
Things to Do at Lake Poygan
- Vacation Rentals
- Horseback Riding
- Wildlife Viewing
Fish Species Found at Lake Poygan
- Black Bass
- Largemouth Bass
- Northern Pike
- Smallmouth Bass
- White Bass
Find Places to Stay at Lake Poygan
If you’re considering a Lake Poygan lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Poygan Vacation
If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Poygan lodging partners.
- VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
- Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
- Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
- Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
- TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
- Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
- KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
- RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
- CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.
Lake Poygan Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed
Surface Area: 14,102 acres
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 748 feet
Average Depth: 6 feet
Maximum Depth: 11 feet
Lake Area-Population: 2,401
Drainage Area: 3,000 sq. miles
Trophic State: Eutrophic
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Shop Lake Poygan Gifts
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