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It is no accident that Oneida County's motto is "Where nature lingered longer." Wisconsin's Northwoods are truly inspiring. With over a thousand lakes Oneida County has one of the largest concentrations of water bodies in the world. Lake Nokomis is part of Rice Reservoir which is the largest body of water in the county, so large in fact that it extends into bordering Lincoln County. Its beautiful water combines with the Northwoods wilderness to make Lake Nokomis a destination where you are sure to want to "linger longer."
Part of a chain of lakes that make up Rice Flowage or Reservoir, Lake Nokomis is an impoundment of the Tomahawk River. The lake along with Bridge Lake and Deer Lake formed in 1912 with the construction of the Bradley Dam in Lincoln County. The dam was built by the Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company for hydroelectric power, flood control, and recreation. Today the Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company operates twenty-one man-made and natural lake reservoirs including Rice Reservoir and Lake Nokomis as the Wisconsin River Headwaters System. Lake levels are drawn down periodically as power generation demands, to maintain levels on the Wisconsin River, and for spring run off storage. Water levels and water quality are very similar for Lake Nokomis and Bridge Lake, both tending to eutrophic. At 62 feet deep, 156 acre Deer Lake is deeper with better water quality that the other two lakes and because it is connected to Bridge Lake by a single shallow channel, when water levels are lowered it essentially becomes isolated from the rest of Rice Reservoir.
Lake Nokomis is considered a Class A1 musky lake with lots of big fish to challenge anglers. There are also healthy populations of walleye, crappie, northern pike, pan fish and bass. There is plenty of room on Lake Nokomis for boating and water skiing and jet skiing are also popular. There are several public boat launches and places to get bait and provisions along with boat rentals. There are also several restaurants and bars on the water that are accessible by boat. Quiet boaters can explore the islands in Lake Nokomis or the floating bogs which can grow to over an acre.
Accommodations range from cabins and cottages to resorts. Nearby Harshaw and the city of Tomahawk have additional accommodations, restaurants and shopping along with any other amenities visitors could want. Rice Reservoir with Lake Nokomis is the largest body of water in the Tomahawk area, but Oneida County's Pelican Lake and Tomahawk Lake are both over 3,000 acres and an easy drive from Lake Nokomis. The area around Lake Nokomis and the city of Tomahawk were settled by the timber companies and in particular by William Bradley. Mr. Bradley who died in 1902 was instrumental in developing the region and along with Bradley Dam there are several things named for him including Bradley Park. The park is a hundred acres of virgin pine set aside within the city of Tomahawk.
Oneida County has lots of trails for hiking, biking, and cross country skiing along with trails for ATV's and snowmobiles. The Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest is 225,000 acres for recreation and hunting, including an archery season for deer.
Dotted with lakes and surrounded by Wisconsin's beautiful Northwoods, it is obvious that nature lingered in Oneida County. Beautiful Lake Nokomis is the perfect place for you to linger as well.
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