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The Winnebago Indians, the area's first inhabitants called it Hosh-a-rac-ah-tah or "good land." Later it was known as "Waushara" or "fish spear," and finally as Fox Lake in tribute to Big Fox, a Winnebago who saved a local trapper. Today Fox Lake in the southern savanna region of Wisconsin is known as one of the state's top ten fishing lakes and one of the best walleye lakes in the state.
A natural glacial lake, Fox Lake was enlarged in 1845 by the construction of a dam and sawmill on an outlet of the lake called Mill Creek. The dam raised lake levels about eleven feet and added significantly to the surface area of the lake. There are six islands totaling about 30 acres in the 2,625 acre lake and almost 18 miles of shoreline.
Fishing is a year round activity on Fox Lake. Anglers pull over 700,000 fish out of the lake every year, and there are abundant populations of walleye, northern pike, and crappie, along with muskie, bluegill and large and small mouth bass. For more than 30 years, the Fox Lake Property Owners have stocked the lake. In 1970 an aeration system was added to add oxygen to the water and prevent the lake from freezing completely protecting the fish populations from winterkill. Since then ice fishing has increased in popularity and dedicated anglers can catch fish in every season.
Access to Fox Lake is from one of several public boat ramps in city run parks around the lake. There is more than enough water for boating and waterskiing, and paddlers can explore the islands by canoe or kayak. Boat rentals are available, and after a day on the water there are plenty of lake front vacation rentals.
Fox Lake is in northwest Dodge County, an agricultural area known for making cheese and growing barley and peas. It's a charming rural area whose population swells in the summer as visitors come to enjoy the county's lakes and wildlife. Along with Fox Lake, nearby 268 acre Lake Emily and 6,542 acre Beaver Dam Lake offer visitors plenty of chances to play on the water. Established in 1922, a golf course near Fox Lake has been providing guests with a chance to enjoy the outdoors for decades. Hiking trails let visitors explore the surrounding countryside, and in the winter there are opportunities to snow mobile and cross country ski.
Dodge County has good waterfowl hunting and there are several public hunting areas around Fox Lake that regularly produces trophy sized white-tailed deer. For visitors who prefer to hunt with a camera, the bird watching is exceptional. Just a short drive from Fox Lake, the Horicon Marsh is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States. The 32,000 acre marsh draws over 400,000 visitors a year and includes both a national and state wildlife refuge. There have been 260 different species of birds sighted at Horicon including migratory birds and waterfowl.
Established in 1838, the City of Fox Lake on the lake's southern shore was the first settlement in Dodge County. It has any amenities a visitor might need and with real estate for sale, it is a great place for anyone wanting to make their stay more permanent. Accommodations range from lake front cottages to resorts, and Fox Lake has restaurants, shopping, and museums. In 1983 during the installation of a sewer system, workers discovered an archaeological site on Elmwood Island, one of Fox Lake's Islands. It was a significant discovery and the remains were catalogued and are on display at the Fox Lake Historical Museum.
The amazing fishing, abundant wildlife and surrounding Wisconsin farmland combine to make Fox Lake truly "good land" and a great place to visit.
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