Prairie Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Also known as:  Chetek Chain of Lakes

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

If you’re considering Prairie 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 Prairie Lake guide!

Prairie Lake visitor and community guide

Prairie Lake is the northernmost lake in the Chetek Chain of Lakes located in Wisconsin’s Lake Superior Northwoods region. The Chetek Chain of Lakes consists of six lakes which are connected and can be easily navigated through channels. The six lakes that make up the chain are Chetek, Prairie, Pokegama, Ojaski, Moose Ear, and Ten Mile. At 1,545 acres, Prairie Lake is the largest lake in the beautiful chain.

Like all the lakes in the chain, Prairie Lake is a soft water drainage lake. The lake level is maintained by a dam on the Chetek River which flows into Chetek Lake. While much of the 25 miles of shoreline is developed with homes, cabins and resorts, a large portion of the lake remains wild, offering a natural setting for fishing along the banks. The shoreline is predominantly hardwood and pine, and three acres of marsh provide habitat for muskrats, nesting ducks and mergansers. Coot and Canada geese also visit the lake during spring and fall migratory periods. The haunting call of the loon can sometime be heard across the tranquil water in the spring and fall months.

Fishing on Prairie Lake is excellent, especially during the summer and winter seasons. The fish population in the Chetek lakes includes northern pike, walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, perch, bullhead and bluegill. Several hundred of these fish have been marked with $25, $50, $100 and $500 tags for Chetek’s popular Fish-O-Rama program. This unique program provides cash rewards for those lucky enough to catch a tagged fish. The program began as an incentive to entice anglers to the area. Boat rentals are available in the town of Chetek, and there are several public boat launches on the lakes.

Parks located around the lakes provide a place to rest and relax and enjoy the water. Veterans Memorial Park, near Prairie Lake, features picnic tables, fire pits, restrooms, a playground, and a number of short, yet scenic hiking trails. During the summer months, lake activities include swimming, water skiing, jet skiing, kayaking and watching the “Hydroflites Water Ski Show Team”. The Hydroflites perform weekly shows on the lake which include shoe and trick skiing, swivel skiing, barefoot acts, prefabricated pyramids, and jump acts to name a few. Chetek Lake and Prairie Lake are the most developed areas in the chain. The shorelines of both lakes offer numerous vacation rentals, resorts, residential homes and real estate for sale and rent.

For the outdoor adventurist, the Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area is 20 miles southeast of Prairie Lake. The 3,060-acre park is situated along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and offers untouched beauty with its kettle lakes and many glacier-carved features. Hiking, snowshoeing, camping, and bird watching are popular activities, and the numerous lakes and ponds offer fishing, swimming and boating opportunities.

The Barron County municipalities surrounding Prairie Lake also offer guests of the lakes plenty to see and do. In the town of Chetek, visitors will find a local brewery, miniature golf, museums, and walking tours through preserved pioneer buildings from the 19th century. Accommodations, fine dining and stores for shopping can also be found in town. Area stables offer horseback riding and hiking and biking trails can be found in the rolling hillside.

Within an hour’s drive of Prairie Lake, the city Eau Claire has several interesting museums; Chippewa Falls is home to a zoo and some spectacular gardens; and great skiing can be found in the town of Bruce. Interesting side trips include the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Duluth Superior Harbor, and the Duluth Superior Mall of America.

Whether you choose to relax on the dock of your Prairie Lake vacation rental or take a boat out on the crystal clear water in search of that marked $500 fish, this pristine lake can offer you the outdoor vacation you have been looking for. Each season provides a unique opportunity to experience the splendor of north central Wisconsin.

Custom Prairie Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Prairie Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Miniature Golf
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Prairie Lake

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

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Prairie Lake

The Prairie 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.

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Prairie Lake photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Prairie Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Barron County

Surface Area: 1,545 acres

Shoreline Length: 25 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,037 feet

Average Depth: 9 feet

Maximum Depth: 16 feet

Completion Year: 1863

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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