Okauchee Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Wisconsin - Southern Savanna Region -

Okauchee Lake is a 1,187-acre lake located in northern Waukesha County, Wisconsin. One of the larger “Lake Country” lakes, Okauchee Lake’s meandering shoreline lies within the boundaries of the towns of Oconomowoc and Merton. The lake’s water quality and excellent fishery make it a popular destination for boaters and anglers throughout the year. The lake is also dotted with taverns and restaurants that cater to water enthusiasts. Numerous social events allow residents and tourists endless opportunities for recreation and socialization during the peak lake season.

Okauchee Lake’s numerous bays and inlets offer nearly 13 miles of pristine shoreline. With a maximum depth of 94 feet, the main body of the lake can easily accommodate personal water craft of all sizes during the summer months, and allows for extraordinary fishing year round. Anglers will find large populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, crappie, white bass, and bluegill. After a day of fishing or boating, there are many restaurants and taverns with boat access. For visitors, a public boat launch can be found on the southwest shore off Highway 16.

A dam on the southern end of the lake controls the water flow from Okauchee Lake into neighboring Oconomowoc Lake, Fowler Lake and Lac LaBelle Lake. All four lakes are in the Oconomowoc River Watershed which drains approximately 128 square miles. From its origin in the town of Richfield in Washington County, the Oconomowoc River flows southwest through six major lakes for approximately 49 miles before entering the Rock River in the town of Ixonia in Jefferson County. During times of high and low water levels, neighboring communities must meet to discuss the best way to maintain the water levels of all six lakes.

Winter sports enthusiasts will discover the area doesn’t slow down when the temperature drops. In the winter, ice fishing is exceptional on Okauchee Lake along with ice boating, ice skating and snowmobiling. Snowshoeing is a family winter sport that is gaining in popularity. Snowshoe rentals are available from several outfitters in the area and offer a great way to explore the snow-covered countryside and enjoy a self-guided wildlife experience. Cross-country ski trails can also be found and miles of groomed snowmobile trails will appeal to diehard snowmobilers.

Vacation rentals around Okauchee Lake range from cozy cottages to sprawling lakefront resorts. The town of Merton and Okauchee are large enough to have any amenity a visitor could want, but still retain their small town charm. The larger city of Oconomowo is just west of the lake and offers a variety of lodging, dining, and shopping options. A number of golf courses can be found in the area along with an extensive network of hiking, biking, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and horseback riding trails. For those wishing to purchase or rent real estate, year round and seasonal homes along with land for camping and hunting are readily available.

Just south of Okauchee Lake, the Kettle Moraine State Park is a great place to explore. Made up of unique geological formations created by retreating glaciers, the forest is managed for forestry and outdoor recreation. Visitors can explore and enjoy almost 30,000 acres of rolling hills, sparkling lakes, dense forests, and vast grasslands. Campgrounds can be found throughout the forest along with opportunities for fishing, swimming, kayaking, rafting, picnicking, hiking, and biking. Wildlife lovers have a good chance of spotting white tailed deer, muskrat, beaver, fox, mink, squirrel, and rabbits. Sandhill cranes and loons often visit the area when migrating. Osprey, bald eagles, falcons, owls, and the rare red-shouldered hawk also make their home around the lakes in the area.

North of Okauchee Lake, 444-acre Nashotah Park is located between the communities of Oconomowoc and Hartland. This park is comprised of rolling hills, woodlands, wetlands, and grasslands, offering habitat for deer, waterfowl, and a variety of songbirds. Nature trails lead through the park which is open year round. Boaters can enjoy a day on Forest Lake which is a favorite with paddlers.

Those who enjoy all the sights and sounds of a big city will find Milwaukee just 20 minutes away from Okauchee Lake. Popular attractions include the Milwaukee County Zoo, the Midwest Express Center, and the Milwaukee Public Museum. NBA fans can catch a Bucks game and baseball fans can cheer on the Brewers at Miller Park. Visitors can hop aboard several fun cruises on either Lake Michigan or the Milwaukee River. Taverns, terrific dining, a lively nightlife scene, art galleries and antique shops make this city a great place to visit.

The Okauchee Lake area offers an attractive blend of forests, lakes, and small town charm. Whether your passion is fishing, boating, golfing, horseback riding, sun bathing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, wildlife watching, searching for antiques, or just window shopping, you’ll find it all at Okauchee Lake.

Things to do at Okauchee Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Antiquing
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Okauchee Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • White Bass

Okauchee Lake Photo Gallery

    Okauchee Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Town of Oconomowoc

    Surface Area: 1,187 acres

    Shoreline Length: 13 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 873 feet

    Maximum Depth: 94 feet

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

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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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