Matthews Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Wisconsin - Lake Superior Northwoods Region -

Surrounded by spreading aspen, oaks and pines of Wisconsin’s Northwoods, Matthews Lake offers relaxation and recreation to those who come to her shores. Found in northwest Wisconsin’s Washburn County where nearly 80 percent of the land is classified as woodland and approximately 40 percent of the housing is classified as recreational, Matthews Lake is a place of renewal. For those wanting a week-end escape, Matthews Lake is a scenic two-hour drive northeast of Minneapolis-St. Paul, or 75-mile drive south of Duluth and Lake Superior.

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources classifies Matthews Lake as a seepage lake which means the lake relies on groundwater and precipitation as the principal water supply. The sandy soil surrounding Matthews Lake works to purify the groundwater as it enters this sparkling 263-acre lake. Because there are no inlets or outlets to Matthews Lake water levels may fluctuate with the seasons. On average, the clear water of Matthews Lake runs at a depth of 12 feet with a maximum depth of 26 feet.

A boat ramp maintained by Washburn County’s Forestry Department is located at the northwest end of Matthews Lake’s 3-mile shoreline. A small parking lot is maintained for public use. Boaters should note that a no-wake period is enforced before 10:00 a.m. and after 5:00 p.m. giving residents peaceful evenings to watch sunsets color the sky or quiet cool mornings to cast a line into Matthews Lake.

Like many lakes within Wisconsin’s Lake Superior Northwoods Tourism Region, Matthews Lake has a good selection of fish just waiting for anglers to arrive. Northern pike, bluegill, largemouth bass, walleye, muskie, crappie and panfish are among the species you will find. With over 1,000 lakes in Washburn County, lake fishing is a popular activity, but less than a mile south of Matthews Lake anglers have access to the Namekagan River, recognized for its excellent fishing. The river’s cold water habitat holds brown trout, brook trout, smallmouth bass, walleye and northern pike.

The Namekagan River flows northwest of Matthews Lake and eventually meets the St. Croix River. In combination, the rivers make up the Saint Croix National Scenic Waterway. Camping along the shores and river islands is a popular pastime. Campsites amenities are basic, but include a primitive toilet, fire-ring and picnic table. Designated camping areas are made visible from the river by brown and white tent symbols. Canoers and kayakers are attracted to the near natural state of this scenic waterway where backwaters and sloughs make excellent stops for bird and wildlife watching. Personal watercraft are prohibited along designated stretches of the waterway, but the rivers are open to all boaters. The National Park Service maintains maps and guides that will safely lead boaters down the rivers.

Time at Matthews Lake is a time to relax and enjoy a taste of rural life. Within 40 miles of Matthews Lake visitors can enjoy local flavor without leaving Washburn County. The history of Washburn County has been lovingly preserved in the communities surrounding Matthews Lake. In the community of Birchwood, the historical society maintains the Log Museum, displaying a collection of logging memorabilia, and the 1901 Howard Morey Homestead, preserving the memory of a local Wisconsin aviator.

The Museum of Woodcarving is found in Shell Lake and holds over 400 miniatures and 100 life-size carvings by Joseph T. Barta. Drive to downtown Spooner and you will find the Railroad Memories Museum displaying model trains and dioaramas. Just down the road you will find the Wisconsin Canoe Museum that holds over 25 antique and historic canoes.

Visitors who prefer to be outdoors will enjoy touring the Governor Tommy G. Thompson Fish Hatchery, the largest muskie hatchery in the world. Located in Spooner, the hatchery “annually produces nearly 2 million walleyes, 100,000 muskellunge and some northern pike.” If your preference leans toward butterflies, Happy Tonics Sanctuary for the Monarch Butterfly is located on the north side of Shell Lake. This half-acre of restored prairie land is a “wildflower and butterfly garden dedicated to protecting the monarch.” At the south end of Washburn County, 400 acres of forests, meadows and lakes form the Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary. Hiking trails are open to the public and lakes are open to paddlers.

Beautiful woodlands, clean water and rural lifestyle have created an increasing demand for homes in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. A growing number of lakes in Washburn County are fully developed but Matthews Lake remains a pleasant mix of residential homes and natural settings. Whether you swim and water ski in the summer or snowmobile and cross-country ski in the winter, Matthews Lake offers it all. Lakefront real estate properties and vacation rentals are available on Matthews Lake with additional properties found throughout the county. Come to Matthews Lake where you are surrounded by the beauty of the Northwoods and a country lifestyle you will call home.

Things to do at Matthews Lake

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Park
  • Museum
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Matthews Lake

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

Matthews Lake Photo Gallery

    Matthews Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 263 acres

    Shoreline Length: 3 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 95 feet

    Average Depth: 12 feet

    Maximum Depth: 26 feet

    Water Volume: 3,097 acre-feet

    Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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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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