Southeast Wisconsin is known for its beautiful lakes, providing ample opportunities for recreational activities and scenic views.
Here are some notable best lakes in Southeast Wisconsin:
As one of the five Great Lakes, Lake Michigan borders the eastern edge of Wisconsin and extends into the southeastern part of the state.
It is a massive freshwater lake offering sandy beaches, boating, fishing, and various water sports.
Lake Michigan Video
In Walworth County, Lake Geneva is a popular resort destination and a famous regional lake.
It is known for its clear waters, sandy beaches, and picturesque shoreline. Lake Geneva offers boating, fishing, swimming, and lakefront dining opportunities.
Lake Geneva Video
In Waukesha County, Pewaukee Lake is a 2,493-acre freshwater lake. Pewaukee Lake also hosts various events and regattas throughout the year.
Pewaukee Lake Video
Found in Waukesha County, Oconomowoc Lake is a 767-acre lake known for its crystal-clear waters and scenic beauty.
It offers opportunities for boating, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing.
Oconomowoc Lake Video
Located in Waukesha County, Nagawicka Lake is a 981-acre lake popular for fishing, boating, and water sports.
Residential areas surround the lake and offer beautiful views.
Nagawicka Lake Video
Big Muskego Lake
Situated in Waukesha County, Big Muskego Lake is a 2,260-acre lake known for its diverse wildlife and natural surroundings.
It provides opportunities for boating, fishing, and bird-watching.
Big Muskego Lake Video
Found in Waukesha County, Phantom Lake is a 118-acre lake known for its tranquil atmosphere and natural beauty.
It offers fishing, boating, and swimming opportunities. These are just a few examples of the lakes in Southeast Wisconsin.
The region has numerous smaller lakes and ponds, contributing to its scenic charm and recreational offerings.
Phantom Lake Video
How many lakes are in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is known as the “Land of 15,000 Lakes,” although the exact number of lakes in the state may vary depending on how lakes are defined.
Wisconsin has an abundance of lakes of varying sizes, from small ponds to larger bodies of water.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources classifies over 15,000 lakes in the state, ensuring that each one meets its criteria, which includes a minimum surface area of 10 acres.
However, if smaller bodies of water, such as ponds and flowages, are included, Wisconsin’s total number of lakes could be significantly higher.
Wisconsin is renowned for its numerous lakes, recreational opportunities, and natural beauty.
While the definition of “best” can vary based on individual preferences, here is a list of the 10 best lakes in Southern Wisconsin that are highly regarded:
Lake Geneva: Located in Walworth County, Lake Geneva is known for its clear waters, scenic shoreline, and upscale resorts. It offers boating, fishing, swimming, and a range of water sports.
Lake Winnebago: As Wisconsin’s largest inland lake, Lake Winnebago covers an expansive area and provides excellent fishing opportunities, particularly for walleye and sturgeon.
It is also popular for boating and water recreation.
Apostle Islands: Situated in Lake Superior, the Apostle Islands boast a stunning archipelago of 22 islands.
The area is known for its picturesque sea caves, pristine beaches, and kayaking, sailing, and hiking opportunities.
Eagle River Chain of Lakes: Situated in Vilas County, the Eagle River Chain of Lakes presents a captivating network of interconnected lakes that provide exceptional opportunities for fishing, boating, and water skiing.
It is particularly famous for its musky fishing.
Lake Michigan: one of the renowned Great Lakes, graces the eastern edge of Wisconsin, offering breathtaking vistas, sandy beaches, and abundant avenues for boating, fishing, and engaging in water sports.
Green Lake: In Green Lake County, Green Lake is Wisconsin’s deepest natural inland lake.
It offers a peaceful retreat, with boating, fishing, and golfing opportunities in the surrounding area.
Door County Peninsula: Although not a single lake, it is known for its charming coastal communities, stunning views of Lake Michigan, and access to several beautiful lakes, such as Sturgeon Bay and Kangaroo Lake.
Visitors can enjoy fishing, boating, and swimming in these picturesque waters.
Lake Mendota: Located in Madison, Lake Mendota is the largest of the Madison-area lakes. It provides opportunities for boating, fishing, sailing, and ice activities during winter.
Lac du Flambeau Chain of Lakes: Situated in Vilas County, the Lac du Flambeau Chain of Lakes is a collection of interconnected lakes offering scenic beauty, excellent fishing, and opportunities for kayaking and wildlife spotting.
Castle Rock Lake: Located in central Wisconsin, Castle Rock Lake is the state’s fourth-largest lake.
It is known for its recreational opportunities, including boating, fishing, and swimming, and offers a more secluded and natural setting.
These lakes represent just a fraction of Wisconsin’s many remarkable lakes, each with unique features and attractions.
Best lakes in Wisconsin for swimming
When it comes to swimming, Wisconsin has several lakes known for their clear waters, sandy beaches, and suitable swimming conditions.
Here are some of the best lakes in Wisconsin for swimming:
Devil’s Lake: In Devil’s Lake State Park, Devil’s Lake offers a designated swimming area with a sandy beach and lifeguards.
Geneva Lake: Situated in Walworth County, Geneva Lake has multiple public beaches that provide excellent swimming opportunities.
The lake’s clear waters and sandy shores make it a popular destination for swimmers of all ages.
Big Bay State Park: Located on Madeline Island in Lake Superior, Big Bay State Park features a beautiful sandy beach along the lakefront.
It offers a refreshing swimming experience with views of the vast lake.
Peninsula State Park: Found in Door County, Peninsula State Park offers a swimming beach along the shores of Green Bay.
Visitors can swim in the calm waters and relax on the sandy beach.
Pewaukee Lake: Pewaukee Lake in Waukesha County has several public access points with sandy beaches.
The lake provides ample space for swimming and is a popular spot for families and water enthusiasts.
Elkhart Lake: Situated in Sheboygan County, Elkhart Lake offers clear waters and a sandy beach.
It has a designated swimming area and is a favorite spot for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
Clear Lake: Located in Polk County, Clear Lake lives up to its name with its crystal-clear waters.
It features a public beach area with a swimming dock, making it ideal for a refreshing swim.
Lake Kegonsa: The lake offers clean and calm waters, making it suitable for swimming.
Pike Lake: Pike Lake is in Washington County and features a beach area for swimming.
The lake’s clear waters and scenic surroundings create a pleasant swimming environment.
Silver Lake: Found in Kenosha County, Silver Lake offers a sandy beach and swimming area.
The lake provides a refreshing swimming experience and opportunities for picnicking and water activities.
These lakes provide safe and enjoyable swimming experiences in Wisconsin, but it’s always advisable to check for any advisories or guidelines before swimming in natural bodies of water.
Best lakes in Wisconsin for boating
Wisconsin is a fantastic destination for boating enthusiasts, with its abundance of lakes and waterways. Here are some of the best lakes in Wisconsin for boating:
Lake Winnebago: As Wisconsin’s largest inland lake, Lake Winnebago offers vast open waters for boating.
It provides plenty of space for powerboats, sailboats, and pontoons and is known for its excellent fishing opportunities.
Lake Michigan: The eastern edge of Wisconsin is bordered by Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes.
Boaters can explore its expansive waters, visit coastal towns, and enjoy the scenic beauty of the lake.
Eagle River Chain of Lakes: Located in Vilas County, the Eagle River Chain of Lakes consists of interconnected lakes, including Eagle Lake, Catfish Lake, and Scattering Rice Lake.
Boaters can navigate through the chain of lakes, enjoying the scenic beauty and various fishing opportunities.
Castle Rock Lake: As Wisconsin’s fourth-largest lake, Castle Rock Lake in central Wisconsin is a popular destination for boating. It offers over 13,000 acres of water to explore, with ample space for various watercraft.
St. Croix River: Running along the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota, the St. Croix River provides a scenic and tranquil setting for boating.
Boaters can enjoy cruising the river’s calm waters and enjoying the beautiful surrounding landscapes.
Green Lake: Situated in Green Lake County, Green Lake offers a peaceful boating experience.
The lake’s clear waters, sandy shores, and beautiful homes along the shoreline create a picturesque setting for boaters.
Lake Geneva: Located in Walworth County, Lake Geneva is a popular destination for boating enthusiasts.
Boaters can explore the lake’s scenic beauty, stop by lakeside restaurants, and take part in various water activities.
Turtle Flambeau Flowage: It is a vast reservoir in Iron County known for its wilderness beauty and excellent boating opportunities.
The flowage offers secluded bays, islands, and miles of undeveloped shoreline to explore.
Petenwell Lake: Petenwell Lake, the second-largest inland lake in Wisconsin, is a popular spot for boating.
Boaters can enjoy the expansive waters, sandy beaches, and abundant recreational opportunities.
Big Cedar Lake: Located in Washington County, Big Cedar Lake is known for its clear waters and scenic surroundings.
Boaters can cruise the lake, fish, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance.
These lakes provide a variety of boating experiences, from open waters to interconnected chains of lakes, allowing boaters to explore different regions of Wisconsin and enjoy their favorite water activities.
Best lakes in Wisconsin to live on
Wisconsin offers a number of beautiful lakeside communities that provide a high quality of life.
While the choice of the “best” lake to live on depends on individual preferences, here are some lakes in Wisconsin known for their desirability as residential areas:
Lake Mendota: Located in Madison, Lake Mendota is the largest of the Madison-area lakes.
Living on Lake Mendota provides access to the vibrant city of Madison, with its cultural amenities, recreational opportunities, and educational institutions.
Geneva Lake: Situated in Walworth County, Geneva Lake is a popular lake for recreation and residential living.
The lake is surrounded by charming communities like Lake Geneva, offering a mix of natural beauty and amenities.
Pewaukee Lake: Pewaukee Lake, located in Waukesha County, offers a great setting for lakeside living.
The lake is known for its clear waters and provides a variety of lakeside homes and communities.
Green Lake: Green Lake, located in Green Lake County, is a picturesque lake with a tranquil living environment.
The lake offers a sense of community and a range of recreational activities.
Oconomowoc Lake: in Waukesha County, Oconomowoc Lake is known for its scenic beauty and luxury lakeside properties.
Living on Oconomowoc Lake offers a peaceful and upscale lakeside lifestyle.
Lac La Belle: Situated in Waukesha County, Lac La Belle is a smaller but highly desirable lake.
It offers a close-knit community and a more intimate living experience.
Nagawicka Lake: Nagawicka Lake, located in Waukesha County, provides natural beauty and convenience.
It offers a range of waterfront homes and easy access to nearby amenities.
Big Cedar Lake: Big Cedar Lake, in Washington County, offers a serene and secluded living environment. It is known for its clear waters and natural surroundings.
Long Lake: Long Lake, located in Washburn County, is a popular destination for lakefront living in northern Wisconsin.
It offers a peaceful and scenic setting with a range of recreational opportunities.
Fox Lake: Fox Lake, situated in Dodge County, offers a charming lakeside community.
It provides a relaxed atmosphere, fishing opportunities, and a variety of lakeside homes.
These lakes offer different characteristics and lifestyles, ranging from bustling city living to peaceful and secluded settings.
It’s essential to explore each area and consider factors such as amenities, community, proximity to services, and personal preferences when choosing the best lake to live on in Wisconsin.
Natural Lakes in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is home to numerous natural lakes, which are bodies of water formed by natural processes rather than man-made. Here are some notable natural lakes to visit in Wisconsin:
Lake Winnebago: As Wisconsin’s largest inland lake, Lake Winnebago covers an area of approximately 137,700 acres.
It is a glacial lake formed thousands of years ago by the movement of glaciers.
Lake Mendota: Located in Madison, Lake Mendota is the largest of the Madison-area lakes. It is also a glacial lake and offers a variety of recreational activities and scenic beauty.
Green Lake: Green Lake, located in Green Lake County, is Wisconsin’s deepest natural inland lake.
It was formed by glacial activity and offers clear waters and picturesque surroundings.
Lac Courte Oreilles: Situated in Sawyer County, Lac Courte Oreilles is one of the largest natural lakes in Wisconsin.
It is known for its sandy beaches and diverse fish population.
Devil’s Lake: Devil’s Lake, located in Devil’s Lake State Park, is a stunning natural lake surrounded by quartzite bluffs.
The retreat of glaciers formed it and offered hiking, swimming, and rock climbing opportunities.
Lake Geneva: Although humans have modified Lake Geneva over time, it originated as a glacial lake.
It is known for its clear waters and scenic beauty, offering a mix of natural and developed areas.
Lake Superior: While Lake Superior is not entirely within Wisconsin’s borders, its northernmost shore touches the state.
Big Green Lake: Big Green Lake, located in Green Lake County, is another major glacial lake in Wisconsin.
It offers boating, fishing, and a range of recreational activities.
Red Cedar Lake: Situated in Barron County, Red Cedar Lake is a natural lake with a serene and peaceful setting. It is known for its clear waters and abundant wildlife.
Turtle Flambeau Flowage: The Turtle Flambeau Flowage, located in Iron County, is a vast natural lake formed by damming the Flambeau River.
It offers a wild and undeveloped landscape, popular for fishing and boating.
These natural lakes in Wisconsin provide opportunities for outdoor recreation, wildlife viewing, and a connection with nature.
They showcase the state’s natural beauty and are treasured resources for residents and visitors alike.
Best walleye lakes in Southeast Wisconsin
Walleye fishing is popular in Southeast Wisconsin, and several lakes in the region are known for their walleye populations. Here are some of the best walleye lakes visit in Southeast Wisconsin:
Lake Winnebago: As the largest inland lake in Wisconsin, Lake Winnebago is renowned for its walleye fishing.
The lake offers excellent opportunities to catch trophy-sized walleye, particularly during the spring and fall.
Lake Wisconsin: Located along the Wisconsin River, Lake Wisconsin is known for its walleye population.
Anglers can successfully target walleye in the deeper channels, drop-offs, and near the dam area.
Fox Lake: Fox Lake, situated in Dodge and Columbia Counties, is another top walleye fishing destination in Southeast Wisconsin.
The lake provides ample habitat for walleye, with submerged structures and weed beds attracting these fish.
Lake Koshkonong: Lake Koshkonong, a large shallow lake on the Rock River, is a productive walleye fishery.
Anglers often target walleye along the rock bars, points, and near the river channels.
Pewaukee Lake: Pewaukee Lake in Waukesha County offers a healthy walleye population.
Anglers can find success targeting walleye around the rocky areas, drop-offs, and weed edges.
Best smallmouth lakes in Southeast Wisconsin
Southeast Wisconsin lakes has several lakes offering excellent smallmouth bass fishing opportunities. Here are some of the best lakes in the region for catching smallmouth bass:
Lake Geneva: Known for its scenic beauty, Lake Geneva in Walworth County is also renowned for its smallmouth bass fishing.
Anglers can successfully target smallmouth bass around rocky points, drop-offs, and submerged structures.
Pewaukee Lake: Pewaukee Lake, located in Waukesha County, is another top destination for smallmouth bass fishing.
The lake’s structure, including rocky shorelines, weed beds, and submerged humps, provides ideal habitat for smallmouth bass.
Lake Koshkonong: Lake Koshkonong, situated on the Rock River, offers excellent smallmouth bass fishing opportunities.
Anglers can target smallmouth bass around rocky areas, submerged structures, and drop-offs.
Okauchee Lake: Located in Waukesha County, Okauchee Lake is known for its diverse fishery, including quality smallmouth bass.
Anglers can find smallmouth bass around rocky points, shorelines, and weed edges.
Lake Mendota: Although primarily known for its largemouth bass and panfish, Lake Mendota in Madison also has a good smallmouth bass population.
Anglers can target smallmouth bass around rocky areas, points, and drop-offs.
Rock Lake: Rock Lake in Jefferson County is another excellent option for smallmouth bass fishing in southeast Wisconsin.
The lake’s structure, including rocky shorelines, points, and submerged structures, provides prime habitat for smallmouth bass.
Lower Nemahbin Lake: Lower Nemahbin Lake, located in Waukesha County, offers good smallmouth bass fishing opportunities.
Anglers can successfully target smallmouth bass around rocky areas, points, and weed edges.
These lakes allow anglers to catch smallmouth bass while enjoying the region’s natural beauty.
Checking local fishing regulations and obtaining the necessary licenses before fishing is important.
Southeast Wisconsin is home to various beautiful lakes that offer recreational opportunities and scenic beauty.
From the expansive Lake Michigan to the smaller, serene lakes like Phantom Lake, there is a lake for every preference.
Whether you’re interested in swimming, boating, fishing, or simply enjoying the peaceful atmosphere, Southeast Wisconsin’s lakes provide ample outdoor enjoyment opportunities.
Whether you visit popular destinations like Lake Geneva or explore lesser-known gems, you will find a lake that suits your interests.
So pack your sunscreen, fishing gear, and picnic supplies and head out to explore the lakes in Southeast Wisconsin for a memorable experience.
Check out the Saltwater Fishing Rig available on our website.
What lakes are in southern Wisconsin?
Some lakes in southern Wisconsin include Lake Geneva, Lake Koshkonong, Lake Delavan, Okauchee Lake, and Whitewater Lake.
What is the best lake to live on in Wisconsin?
The best lake to live on in Wisconsin depends on personal preferences, as each lake offers a unique experience.
Some popular choices include Lake Mendota, Lake Geneva, Lake Winnebago, and Green Lake.
What is the clearest lake in southern Wisconsin?
Green Lake is often considered the clearest lake in southern Wisconsin.
What are the 5 Great Lakes in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin borders Lake Michigan, which is one of the five Great Lakes.