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Named for the Chippewa word "gajigwanabikokag" meaning grindstone, Grindstone Lake has beautiful, clean water and some exceptionally large fish. Near Hayward and the Town of Bass in Sawyer County Wisconsin, Grindstone Lake is part of the Hayward Lakes that includes Lac Court Oreilles, Round Lake, and nearby Lake Chippewa. With over 50,000 acres of water, the recreation opportunities in Sawyer County exceed expectations.
Over 3,000 acres of that water is held in Grindstone Lake. Water flows into the lake from Grindstone Creek and out into Lac Court Oreilles. The lake has exceptional water clarity and very good water quality. There is plenty of room for boating, and anglers will find healthy populations of bluegill, muskie, northern pike, and largemouth bass. The lake can be challenging to fish, but it has some very large fish. There is also an abundant population of smallmouth bass. In the winter there is exceptional ice fishing for walleye. Anglers pull several ten pound fish out of the lake every year. In fact, Grindstone Lake has the best ice fishing in the Hayward area.
The eastern half of Grindstone Lake is on the Lac Court Oreilles Reservation. Created by a treaty signed in 1854, the 48,000 acre reservation is the home of the Lac Court Oreilles Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa. One of six bands believed to have migrated from Canada along the St. Lawrence Waterway, the LCO Band has lived in the area continually since 1754. The LCO Band, along with the Wisconsin DNR, are responsible for the water quality on Grindstone Lake, and the Wisconsin DNR manages the fish populations.
In addition to the exceptional water and fishing, the area around Grindstone Lake has trails for hiking, biking, cross country skiing, ATV's, and snowmobiles. Nearby the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is a beautiful section of the Wisconsin Northwoods. The Chequamegon side of the forest is over 800,000 acres, and it's a great example of the restoration of the Great North Woods after the timber barons moved through. Sawyer County was heavily logged, and by the late 1800's the Great North Woods were nonexistent. Thanks to restoration efforts by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the forest can be enjoyed today.
An easy drive from Grindstone Lake, Hayward has excellent restaurants, shopping, lodging and any amenities a visitor could want. Accommodations range from camping to cabins and resorts. It is also home to the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum. The museum building is a 143 foot long and 41 foot tall muskie, and museum visitors can stand in the muskie's mouth. At Christmas Santa Claus can often be seen peeking out and waving from the muskie's mouth. The Namakagon section of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway runs past Hayward. The 252 mile riverway is a great way to explore the area by canoe or kayak.
With its beautiful water, exceptional fishing and all that the Hayward Lake area has to offer, Grindstone Lake is a great Northwoods getaway with something to please everyone.
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