Manson Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Manson Lake.

If you’re considering Manson Lake vacation rentals, we’ve made it super easy to explore accommodations and nearby hotels using the interactive map below. Simply click on a listing to compare similar properties, best rates and availability for your dates. Or keep scrolling to read our Manson Lake guide!

Manson Lake visitor and community guide

Located in the scenic Northwoods region of Wisconsin, Manson Lake is a beautiful 236-acre, spring-fed lake northwest of the city of Rhinelander in Oneida County. With over 1,000 lakes, and 68,447 total acres of water, Oneida County is an angler’s and boater’s paradise. Along with water sports, visitors can enjoy biking, hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hunting, emerald green scenery in spring and summer, spectacular colors in the fall, and peaceful snow-covered forests in winter.

Manson Lake is one of several popular lakes in the area. Nearby lakes include Bridge Lake, Lake Nokomis, Deer Lake, Crystal Lake, Clear Lake, and Boom Lake. Along with Manson Lake, they offer visitors and residents unlimited water-related and outdoor recreation. Fishing on Manson Lake is always exciting. With a maximum depth of 56 feet, the lake is well known for its active musky, northern pike, walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie and abundant bluegill. Public access to the lake is on the north end off Highway 8. Many of the lake vacation rentals offer lake access and boat rentals for guests. Paddlers will find two islands in the lake, perfect for exploring, picnicking and swimming. During the winter months, ice fishing becomes the number one lake sport followed by skating, skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.

Over half of Manson Lake’s 3.6 miles of pristine shoreline is developed with private homes and a few resorts. The southern shoreline is mostly untouched and offers primitive campsites in the woods around the lake. For additional accommodations and provisions, the City of Rhinelander is just east of the lake and offers a wide range of lodging options and dining choices including many beautiful lakeside resorts. Originally named Pelican Rapids, Rhinelander started in the late 1800s as a logging camp. Many of the original logging camps have been converted to fishing resorts which are still in use today. Along with restaurants and shopping, Rhinelander has museums and many cultural activities. For golfers, an 18-hole public golf course can be found just north of the city. Be on the lookout for the city’s mascot – the illusive hodag. In 1896 lumberjack Gene Shepard was photographed with a seven foot long, 30 inch tall, hairy beast with tusks and horns down its back. Shepard later admitted that the photograph was a hoax, but by then the hodag had become the talk of the small town. Today hodag images show up on signs, t-shirts, souvenirs, and in team and festival names.

Outdoor enthusiasts visiting Manson Lake will find miles of hiking, biking, cross country skiing, and horseback riding trails along with trails designated for ATVs and snowmobiles in the unspoiled woods of the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. A half hour drive north of the lake, the forest was established in 1925 and covers 225,000 acres. It is the largest of Wisconsin’s state forests. Over two million people visit the forest every year to experience the remote solitude and enjoy hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, nature study, boating, canoeing, and countless other outdoor activities.

The area surrounding Manson Lake has fantastic mountain biking as well as thousands of miles of quiet roadways for road bicyclists. Several paved trails are great for both mountain biking and road bicycling, and many are ideal for pedaling with younger riders. Quiet hikers can expect to see lots of wildlife. Common sightings include bald eagles, deer, bear, pileated woodpeckers, ruffed grouse and wild turkey. Oneida County public lands are open for hunting during scheduled seasons. White-tailed deer, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, and snowshoe hare are the primary game species.

The beautiful water, rolling hillsides and friendly town of Rhinelander combine to make Manson Lake a fantastic family getaway. Real estate for sale in the area is plentiful for a seasonal residence or place to call home. Hike and bike quiet woodland trails, boat, fish or swim in a number of beautiful lakes, or just sit back and relax on the private dock of your tranquil lakefront vacation rental. One visit to this beautiful lake and you may find yourself, like many others, coming back year after year.

Custom Manson Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Manson Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Forest
  • Museum
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Manson Lake

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

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Manson Lake

The Manson Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

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.

Manson Lake photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Manson Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 236 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,519 feet

Maximum Depth: 56 feet

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Advertise your Manson Lake vacation rental

LakeLubbers will soon offer homeowners and property managers the opportunity to to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily for accommodations. If you’d like additional details, please contact our advertising team here.


Looking for the Manson Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

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