Star Lake, Wisconsin, USA

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

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Star Lake WI visitor and community guide

Shaped more like a horseshoe than a star, Star Lake is a largely undeveloped 1,206-acre lake 10 miles north of Saint Germain in Vilas County, Wisconsin. Surrounded by the 225,000-acre Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, Star Lake’s idyllic Northwoods location offers visitors unlimited opportunity for hiking, camping, cross country skiing, wildlife observing, boating and some excellent fishing.

Star Lake was named after the Starr Brothers, Harry and Bob, who were surveyors for a lumber company and the first people to settle near the lake. With a maximum depth of 68 feet, Star Lake is home to a variety of fish including musky, northern pike, walleye, perch, largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill. Two public boat launches on the eastern shore offer access to the lake, and a number of resorts around the shoreline have boat rentals and boat launches for their visitors. A wooded, 10-acre island in the middle of the lake will appeal to paddlers and wildlife watchers. Star Lake’s sandy shoreline, which gradually slopes into the lake, makes it a great place for sunbathing, swimming and building sandcastles.

Star Lake is fed by Little Star Lake to the north and empties into 1,108-acre Plum Lake in the south. It ultimately drains into the Wisconsin River and then on to the Mississippi River. The communities of Sayner and Star Lake make up the Township of Plum Lake. Both have long traditions as vacation destination sites. Originally started as lumbering towns, the natural beauty of the area became a draw for sportsmen who were attracted by the abundance of fish and game. The growing popularity of winter sports allowed the area to flourish year round. Today the Sayner-Star Lake area offers plenty of vacation rentals along with fine restaurants, clubs, hotels and motels, beautiful golf courses, tennis courts, groomed snowmobile and cross country ski trails, plus unique shops and year around attractions. A number of area resorts, lodges and rental cabins cater to anglers and hunters, making planning an outdoor adventure fun and convenient. Real estate for sale or rent is also plentiful in the area.

Located in the heart of the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, the Star Lake area is an oasis for wildlife, shimmering bodies of water, and solitude. Over 900 lakes dot the surface of the 225,000-acre forest. Nearly 40 miles of remote and challenging bike and hiking trails and many more miles of old forest roads are open to the outdoor enthusiast. Wildlife in the area ranges from timber wolves to soaring bald eagles. Millions of people visit the forest every year to experience the peace and tranquility of the woods and enjoy hunting, lake fishing, fly-fishing, camping, wildlife watching, nature study, boating, canoeing, and countless other outdoor activities.

For those who prefer civilization, Saint Germain, just south of the lake, is a thriving, four-season resort community. Saint Germain takes its name from a French soldier who settled in the area in the late 1600s. Today, Saint Germain’s motels, resorts and vacation homes attract anglers and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Midwest. Popular Saint Germain attractions include the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame and the Saint Germain Golf Course. The Saint Germain fishing area covers over 100 square miles, with over 1,300 lakes, streams, and rivers to choose from.

Golfing opportunities near Star Lake are fantastic in spring, summer and fall. Whether you are looking for a challenging round of 18 holes or a fun par three for the entire family to enjoy, there are several golf courses within a short drive of the lake. The surrounding area also offers a fantastic variety of wilderness trails for bikers, hikers, birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Road bicyclists will find quiet routes and paved trails throughout Vilas County. Bikes can be rented at many gas stations and local stores. Winter sports enthusiasts will find an incredible snowmobile trail system with over 700 miles of groomed trails. Cross country skiing, ice skating, sledding and ice fishing are also popular cold weather pastimes.

Since the late 1800s, the Northwoods area has been a favored setting among anglers and avid sportsmen. Today, Star Lake still serves as a premier destination for not only hunting and fishing, but also for every kind of outdoor activity you can imagine. For an authentic Northwoods experience you’re sure to remember, look no further than Star Lake.

Custom Star Lake WI house decor

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Things to do at Star Lake WI

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Forest

Fish species found at Star Lake WI

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

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Star Lake WI

The Star Lake WI 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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Star Lake WI photo gallery

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Star Lake WI statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 1,206 acres

Shoreline Length: 10 miles

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,672 feet

Average Depth: 23 feet

Maximum Depth: 68 feet

Drainage Area: 6 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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