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Nestled in Wisconsin's Northwoods, Round Lake in Sawyer County is a fantastic place to boat and fish. Part of the Hayward Lakes that include Grindstone Lake, Lac Court Oreilles and nearby Lake Chippewa, Round Lake is a deep, clear lake with some exceptionally large fish.
Round Lake is a natural lake with very clear water. It is classified as oligotrophic which means it has excellent water quality and oxygen available year round in the deep water, making is a great home for oxygen sensitive fish. Most oligotrophic lakes don't have very large populations of fish, but conditions are right at Round Lake to grow large fish. Round Lake is particularly known for its jumbo perch. There are also good populations of walleye, muskie, northern pike, and largemouth and smallmouth bass. The lake has been a popular recreation spot for anglers since the late 1800's, and several fishing clubs were started in the early 1900's as a way for visitors to enjoy Round Lake.
The area around Round Lake has likely been inhabited since 500 B. C. by the "mound builders." More recently, the area was settled by the Lac Court Oreilles Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. One of six bands thought to have migrated from Canada along the St. Lawrence Waterway, the Lac Court Oreilles used the area around Round Lake and the other Hayward Lakes to gather wild rice. Today the LCO Reservation is next to Round Lake, and the LCO Band is very instrumental in protecting and maintaining the quality of the water in Round Lake.
Round Lake itself is not dammed, but it is impacted by dams on either side of it. There was a drought during the 1930's that caused water levels on the lake to drop around 10 feet. Because Round Lake was so important for tourism, a dam was built on 230-acre Little Round Lake, and a dam was also built creating Tiger Cat Flowage. Along with Osprey Lake, which is undeveloped and completely surrounded by the LCO Reservation, they are the lakes that make up the Round Lake Chain. Tiger Cat Flowage flows into Round Lake, and Round Lake flows into Little Round Lake and Osprey Lake. The dams on the other lakes are used to regulate water levels on Big Round Lake. Today the water level and water quality are regulated by Sawyer County who owns the dam on Little Round Lake, the Wisconsin DNR, and the LCO Band.
Along with its beautiful water for boating and fishing, the area around Round Lake and the Hayward Lakes provides plenty of recreation opportunities off-water. Nearby Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest has over 800,000 acres of Wisconsin Northwoods to explore by hiking, biking, or on horseback. In winter Sawyer County has cross country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing. Hayward, the largest city near Round Lake, is the home of the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum. Visitors can stand in the mouth of the 143 foot long, 41 foot tall muskie that houses the museum. At Christmas, Santa Claus is often seen peaking out of the muskie's mouth. Hayward, known as Wisconsin's golf capital, has great restaurants, shopping and all the amenities a visitor could want.
The exceptionally clean, clear water of Round Lake surrounded by Wisconsin's Northwoods combine with fantastic fishing and the area's rich history to the lake a great Wisconsin destination. With all that Hayward and the rest of the Hayward Lakes have to offer, there is something for everyone at Round Lake.
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