Wild Rice Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Also known as:  Manitowish Chain of Lakes

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

If you’re considering Wild Rice 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 Wild Rice Lake guide!

Wild Rice Lake visitor and community guide

Secluded by wilderness in the center of Wisconsin’s Vilas County, Wild Rice Lake is one of 10 magnificent lakes in the Manitowish Waters Chain of Lakes which are linked by navigable channels. The other lakes in the chain include Little Star Lake, Island Lake, Rest Lake, Clear Lake, Fawn Lake, Spider Lake, Stone Lake, Manitowish Lake, and Alder Lake. The Manitowish Chain is located in the heart of the Northwoods region of Wisconsin. The Manitowish River connects the majority of these lakes, but Wild Rice Lake connects directly to Alder Lake via the Trout River. Whether you enjoy lakes, rivers, or wilderness, Wild Rice Lake offers a variety of year-round recreational activities.

With 379 acres of cool blue water, Wild Rice Lake invites you to take it easy on or off shore. The lake offers anglers a wide variety of fish including northern pike, bluegill, crappie, walleye, muskie, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Just east of the lake is Boulder Junction, a community with the registered trademark “Musky Capital of the World.” With over 190 lakes and guided fishing services, even a novice angler will delight in the sport.

Wild Rice Lake has a mean depth of 11 feet and a maximum depth of 26 feet for your boating pleasure. Go from lake to river, and river to lake, with guided tours for kayaking, canoeing, tubing, and rafting. Ride along the 44-mile Manitowish River and indulge in the several portages, canoe-in campsites, and breathtaking scenic beauty along the way. You can even make your way to Rest Lake for some exciting water ski shows. Each lake in the chain has something spectacular to offer.

The Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest accounts for more than 225,000 acres of land around the chain of lakes. It is complete with activities for every season such as canoeing, hiking, bird watching, snowmobiling, biking and hunting. Wildlife enthusiasts will find immense pleasure in the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail. This trail has a total of five highway-based viewing guides featuring exceptional birding and wildlife watching sites. The trail has more than 80 waypoints for birding and wildlife watching. Hunters, trappers, berry pickers, birders, and photographers will find peace at the Powell Marsh State Wildlife Area. There are no designated trails, but roads and dikes provide walking access throughout the area. In the middle of the marsh is a 1,800-acre no entry from September 1- December 31 for wildlife refuge. The surrounding area of Wild Rice Like offers a multitude of places to experience wildlife.

The Wild Rice Lake area offers a variety of year-round activities including hiking, biking, horseback riding, golfing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Spend your nights at Frank B. Koller Memorial Park for Music in the Park Summer Concert Series, or visit the Koller Memorial Library for a quieter night with a book or movie. The North Lakeland Discovery Center is a popular attraction with scenic trails and rustic bunkhouses available to rent for your wedding, reunion, or business retreat. Take your kids to the Northwoods Children’s Museum to learn about their world as well as understanding concepts related to science, history, art and culture. The Museum is complete with 22 hands-on exhibits that will cater to your child’s entertainment. There are also summer residence camps and summer day camps for children to enjoy.

Wild Rice Lake gets its name from the Wisconsin wild rice harvests. Even though Wild Rice Lake is not a part of the regulated harvesting waters, other lakes in Vilas County offer the delicious and nutritious food for Wisconsin residents to harvest. Move to Wisconsin to experience these annual harvests. Another exciting agricultural attraction for all to enjoy are the Cranberry Marsh Tours. The event features self-guided fall color tours, a quaint arts & crafts show, cranberry samples, fresh cranberry sales, bake sales, live music, “Taste of Harvest” offered by some of the area’s local restaurants, cranberry cooking contests, pontoon cruises on the Manitowish Waters chain, and much more!

With plenty of vacation rentals and real estate properties for sale, Wild Rice Lake can be your home away from home or permanent residence. There are a wide variety of activities for all ages and personalities.

Custom Wild Rice Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Wild Rice Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Forest
  • Museum

Fish species found at Wild Rice Lake

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

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Wild Rice Lake

The Wild Rice 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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Wild Rice Lake photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Wild Rice Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 379 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,601 feet

Average Depth: 11 feet

Maximum Depth: 26 feet

Water Volume: 4,329 acre-feet

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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