The Northern Wisconsin Lake Finder

   If you have spent time looking at the waterfront listings on this site or any other Northern Wisconsin real estate site you will have no doubt realized most listing descriptions are pretty much the same. Every lake home has the best views, the best frontage, and the perfect Northwoods setting. Every lot is on the best lake in Northern Wisconsin. The lake is peaceful and quiet, has crystal clear water and the fish practically jump in the boat! The truth of the matter is that most of what you read is right. Northern Wisconsin is filled with great lakes with great views and great fishing. However, every lake is a little bit different and the goal of my Lake Finder is to help you find the Northern Wisconsin lake that is perfect for you.

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    Full Lake List
      All lakes over 100 acres in Oneida and Vilas county. Sorted Alphabetically. Use this to look up specific lakes quickly and easily.

    Lake Clarity

    Extremely Clear
      Secchi disk reading of 15 feet or more. Extremely clear water indicates an obligotrophic lake which is clear, deep, and largely free of weeds. The fish population is usually smaller, but there are more trophy size fish.
    Very Clear
      Secchi disk reading of 10 to 15 feet. These mesotrophic lakes are very clear lakes with few weeds. They often have more fish than an obligotrophic lake but less than an eutrophic one. There is good balance in mesotrophic lakes.
      Secchi disk reading of 7 to 10 feet. These lakes fall between eutrophic and mesotrophic on the scale. They have more weeds and fish than the mesotrphic lakes and less weeds and fish than the eutrophic lakes.
      Secchi disk reading of 4 to 7 feet. Lakes with murky water are considered to be eutrophic. They support a large fish population and have a fair amount of weeds.
    Very Murky
      Secchi disk reading of less than 4 feet. Very murky water means a lake is hypereutrophic. These lakes are very weedy and subject to frequent algae blooms. On the plus side, they support large fish populations.

    Distance From Town - Round Trip

    1-15 mins
      Go to town, grab a bite to eat, pick up some supplies and get back without wasting away your precious vacation time. You will also be far more likely to find high speed internet, good cell phone reception and natural gas in places close to town.
    16-30 mins
      With the bigger towns like Rhinelander, Eagle River, and Minocqua you might still find high speed internet and good cell phone reception. Natural gas is less likely. Multiple trips to town for food or groceries start to eat a lot of time.
    31-45 mins
      The ability to plan ahead is more important when it takes more than a half hour to just drive to town and back. High speed internet and natural gas are less likely to be found. Cell phone reception may not be available.
    46+ mins
      For those that really want to get away from the crowds. There is no such thing as a quick trip to town for gas or groceries. High speed internet, natural gas, and cell phone reception are things that are available less often as you get further from town.

    Average Lake Depth

    Very Deep
      Lakes with an average depth of 30 feet or more. The deeper the lake the cleaner the water is. Sediments can settle, once down in oxygen free water they remain settled. Fish waste and other pollutants are diluted with the higher volume of water.
      Lakes with an average depth of 15 to 30 feet. Lakes in this depth range are deep enough to eliminate worries of a rampant takeover of weeds. They are very clean and often have good underwater structural variance that makes for good fishing.
      Lakes with an average depth of 7 to 15 feet. Lakes with these depths often have a bigger area of weeds along the shorelines and cleaner water in the deeper holes. These lakes can also be good fishing lakes.
    Very Shallow
      Lakes with an average depth of less than 7 feet. These lakes have more weed growth and there is potential for the whole lake to be overtaken by weeds. The lower volume of water also makes the water dirtier by nature.

    Lake Access

      The most rare type of lake. There are only a couple private lakes over over 100 acres in Wisconsin. A private lake is fully owned by an individual or an entity with no future development possible. The most quiet, private and safe type of lake.
      This type of lake has no current public access. Access can be gained via privately owned boat launches. Public access is possible in the future. Semi-public lakes are very quiet and private in almost all cases.
      The most common type of lake with public boat launches and land that give access to this type of lake. A public lake has the highest activity level and least amount of privacy of the three types of lake access. Smaller public lakes are more peaceful.

    Water Source

    Spring Fed
      Lakes which get their water from springs in their basin. Unlike drainage and seepage lakes, the water levels of spring fed lakes are consistent year to year if the lake has strong springs. Like seepage lakes, spring fed lakes have very clean water.
      Natural lakes whose water source is rain, groundwater and a small amount of run off. With limited runoff, these lakes have lower nutrient levels and limited pollutants. Since seepage lakes rely on groundwater, levels vary with rainfall.
      Lakes whose water comes from ground and river drainage. They have high nutrient levels, meaning they support more vegetation. Shallow drainage lakes have murky water. These types of lakes rely on runoff and have more pollutants.

    Chain or No Chain?

    Chain Lakes
      The Chain of Lakes are the place to be if you are looking for a lot of activity and enjoy taking your boat for long cruises. Since chain lakes are public gathering spots, they are louder and less private than non-chain lakes.
      Lakes that aren't on a chain are better for those who want more privacy and quiet. Privacy and quietness varies greatly depending on type of access, proximity to towns and size. Bigger public lakes close to towns are the busiest of the non-chain lakes.

    Specific Chains

    Ballard Chain
      The Ballard/Irving/Whitefish chain is a three lake chain ten minutes south east of Boulder Junction with clear water.
    Eagle River
      This seven lake chain in and around Eagle River connects to the Three Lakes Chain and forms the largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world. Very popular boating and fishing destination. This chain has murky water.
    Fence Lake
      A sprawling seven lake chain near Lac Du Flambeau with very clear water.
      A large three lake chain near Boulder Junction with clear water.
    Manitowish Waters
      Three lake chain in and around Manitowish Waters with very clear water.
      Extremely popular five lake chain in and around Minocqua with clear water.
      Five lake chain six minutes west Rhinelander with moderately clear water.
      Sprawling four lake chain in and around Rhinelander with murky water.
    Sugar Camp
      A big four lake chain between Rhinelander, Eagle River, and St. Germain with moderately clear water.
    Three Lakes
      An enormous seventeen lake chain near Three Lakes with mixed water clarity.

    Lake Size

    600+ Acres
      The biggest lakes in Northern Wisconsin. Lakes bigger than 600 acres are often the busiest lakes as they have the most people and the most public access points.
    300-600 Acres
      My favorite sized lake. Big enough to provide great views and room to do whatever you want while still giving that picturesque "Up North" look where you look across the lake and see the meeting of forest, sky, and water.
    150-300 Acres
      Lakes with an average depth of 7 to 15 feet. Lakes with these depths often have a bigger area of weeds along the shorelines and cleaner water in the deeper holes. These lakes can also be good fishing lakes.
    100-150 Acres
      Lakes with an average depth of less than 7 feet. These lakes have more weed growth and there is potential for the whole lake to be overtaken by weeds. The lower volume of water also makes the water dirtier by nature.

    My Favorites

    Top 50
      My favorite 50 Northern Wisconsin lakes with listings. The main criteria I used to find my favorite lakes are clarity, depth, quietness and relationship to town. Since I live and work up here year round, convenience and a quiet lake are a big deal to me.

   Above this section there are eight categories of criteria you can use to start your search. Find the criteria that best fits what you are looking for and click on it. You will be taken to a page that displays all lakes with current listings that meet that criteria. If there are a lot of results you will be able to select another category to further narrow down the lakes. Once you find the type of lakes you are most interested in you can click on the lake names and view all of the current listings for that lake.

   The category descriptions below are the cliff notes version of the information. If you would like more detailed information you can read my Northern Wisconsin Lake Homes Buyer's Guide or my Northern Wisconsin Lake Lots Buyer's Guide. If you would like to see how I rank the lakes you can click on "My Rankings" on the bottom of the criteria list to see how I rate the lakes. If you have criteria in mind, but do not want to do your own searches, feel free to contact me and I will gladly do a search for you.

   One thing I should note is that I have limited the lake finder results to lakes that are 100 acres or bigger. I chose 100 acres as the cut off because that is about the size where a person's scope of lake activities can start to get limited. While many very popular full recreation lakes in Central Wisconsin are under 100 acres, up here in Northern Wisconsin we value our space a little more. If you are interested in lakes under 100 acres, contact me and I will do a search for you.