Chetek, the City of Lakes, is located in northwestern Wisconsin on the Big Six Chain of Lakes — but how many other details of these bodies of water and the land surrounding them is well known?
Did you know that these six lakes Chetek, Prairie, Pokegama, Moose Ear, Ten Mile and Ojaski cover 3,800 surface acres with the smallest, Moose Ear Lake, covering 33.6 surface acres? Lake Chetek, which appears to be the largest, covers just 683 surface acres, while Prairie Lake has 1,545 surface acres. Lake Chetek is the deepest lake, with a maximum depth of 22 feet. Fish populations in these lakes include Northern Pike, Walleye, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Bluegills, Black Crappies, Pumpkinseeds, Perch, Bullheads, Rock Bass and White Suckers.
With a maximum depth of 22 feet, Chetek Lake has a total of 683 surface acres. It is a recreational lake and is surrounded on most of its area by permanent residences, summer homes, resorts, and the City of Chetek. The city operates a public swimming beach during the summer months and a large public boat landing is located near the city Airport on Lakeview Drive. Lake Chetek is also the site of the Hydroflites Water Ski Team shows held throughout the summer from their property located adjacent to the boat landing on Lakeview Drive.
On the lower part of Moose Ear Creek, this lake has 33.6 surface acres with a maximum depth of just 6 feet, and has a warm water fish population. An intermittent stream from Couderay Lake and a spring feeder from a pond also supply water to the stream. A 150 acre wetland adjoining the stream near Moose Ear Lake provides habitat for muskrats and nesting puddle ducks.
Located in the Town of Chetek, Ojaski Lake (also known locally as Mud Lake) covers 567.1 surface acres and has a maximum depth of 15 feet. Pokegama Creek, which flows into Ojaski Lake from the north, provides a spawning area for northern and walleye. Located in a farming area, the lake is surrounded by upland hardwoods. white pine and cultivated farmland. About three acres of marsh wetlands on the northeast shore provide habitat for muskrats, nesting mallards, teal and wood ducks.
With 494 surface acres and a maximum depth of 19 feet, Pokegama Lake is a very popular fishing lake. A soft water drainage lake in the Chetek Chain between Ojaski Lake and Lake Chetek, the immediate lakeshore vegetation is pine and hardwood with the exception of several marsh-edged bays. These marshes provide habitat for muskrats and puddle ducks. Keep your eyes peeled when cruising along the shorelines as deer and other wildlife come down to get a drink of water. Another sight becoming more common each year are Bald Eagles soaring above the lakes, catching fish to feed themselves and their young.
This lake at the southern most point of the Chain has a depth of 10 feet and 393 surface acres. This lake is also a soft water drainage impoundment in the Chetek Lake Chain. Muskrats, nesting mallards and wood ducks use the 27 acres of lake edge wetlands.
With a maximum depth of 16 feet, Prairie Lake is the largest lake in the Chetek Lake Chain with 1,545 surface acres. A soft water drainage lake, the lake level is maintained by the water control structure on Lake Chetek, and the fish species consist of all those named previously. The lakeshore is predominantly upland hardwoods and pine, and three acres of marsh edge along the lake provide habitat for muskrats, nesting puddle ducks and mergansers. Coot and Canada geese also use the lake during spring and fall migratory periods. The haunting call of the loon can be heard also during the early and late migration times. It is in these waters that the famous floating islands originated, moving from time to time to different locations. The lake runs from the north side of Chetek northward, almost to Cameron and Highway 8. While much of the shoreline is developed with residential homes, cabins and resorts, there is still a large portion of the lake that remains wild, offering natural settings for fishing along the banks of the lake.
This year the Walleyes for Chetek planted 3000 eight to ten inch Walleyes at the boat landing where Lake Chetek and Pokegama Lake meet. 2012 was the ninth year of planting juvenile walleye in the Chetek Chain of Lakes.
The biggest obstacle of this effort is the cost. To date, the CLPA has spent $110,000 for the 50,000+ walleyes released in the chain of lakes.
A DNR census of walleyes taken in April of 2012 resulted in a total of 821 walleyes—7% were 7–14 inches, leaving 93% of walleyes released in the Chetek Lakes over 15 inches in length!
The Chetek Lakes Protection Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to protect and enhance the Chetek Chainof Lakes. The CLPA has approximately 460 members who not only recognize the Chetek Chain of Lakes as a natural resource that greatly enhances our quality of life, but also the value the chain of lakes brings to tourism economies and local tax bases.
The CLPA works to protect the natural resource and preserve our privilege to fish, boat, hunt, swim, plus numerous winterÂ sports, and enjoy the scenic beauty of our lakes.
Some of their goals are:
• Preventing invasive species from entering and establishing themselves in our lake system
• Pursue policy initiatives to reduce polluted runoff from urban and agricultural sources