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Located in the beautiful Northwoods region of Wisconsin, Lake Thompson is a sparkling 382-acre lake located southeast of Rhinelander in Oneida County. Oneida County has one of the largest concentrations of water bodies in the world. With over a thousand lakes, and 68,447 total acres of water, the area is an anglers and boaters paradise. Although one of the smaller lakes in the area, Lake Thompson is abundant with large northern pike, walleye, and musky.
Lake Thompson, or Thompson Lake as it is sometimes called, is a popular vacation spot with several resorts on the water's edge. Most resorts provide their own lake access, but for boaters visiting the lake for just the day, a public boat ramp is located on the northern shore of the lake. Fishing is one of the main pastimes for guests and residents. Primary fish species include musky, walleye, northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, perch, and bluegill. Paddlers will find three islands in the lake, perfect for exploring. Because Lake Thompson is a well-liked body of water, fishing and boating pressure can be heavy during the peak summer months. There is still plenty of clear open water, however, and all water sports are encouraged. During the winter months, ice fishing becomes the number one lake sport followed by skating, skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
Most of Lake Thompson's shoreline is developed with vacation rentals, private real estate, and campgrounds. Tent and RV camping facilities can be found on the western bay of the lake. For additional accommodations and provisions, the City of Rhinelander is just west of the lake. Originally named Pelican Rapids, Rhinelander, like most of the Northwoods area, started in the late 1800s with logging camps. Many of the original logging camps near Rhinelander have been converted to fishing resorts which are still in use today. Along with restaurants and shopping, Rhinelander has museums and many cultural activities. For golfers, an 18-hole public golf facility can be found just north of the city. Be on the lookout for the city's mascot - the illusive, hodag. In 1896 lumberjack Gene Shepard was photographed with a seven foot long, 30 inch tall, hairy beast with tusks and horns down its back. Shepard later admitted that the photograph was a hoax, but by then the hodag had become the talk of the town. Today hodag images show up on signs, t-shirts, souvenirs, and in team and festival names.
In addition to Lake Thompson, there are several recreational lakes in the Rhinelander area. Clear Lake, at 40 acres, is a great little lake for swimming, fishing, canoeing, and relaxing; 382-acre Lake George, just south of Lake Thompson is known for its great water sports, canoeing and fishing. Boom Lake, north of Rhinelander is a part of the Rhinelander Chain of Lakes and offers 1,300 acres of shimmering water for recreational enjoyment.
Outdoor enthusiasts visiting Lake Thompson will find mile after mile of hiking, biking, cross country skiing, and horseback riding trails along with trails designated for ATVs and snowmobiles in the pristine woods of the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. A half hour drive northwest of the lake, the forest was established in 1925, and covers 225,000 acres. It is the largest of Wisconsin's state forests. Over two million people visit the forest every year to experience the remote solitude and enjoy hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, nature study, boating, canoeing, and countless other outdoor activities.
Lake Thompson offers the perfect balance between pristine natural resources and convenient amenities. You'll have no trouble finding something to do, no matter what the weather brings. One visit to this busy, yet beautiful lake and you may find yourself, like many others, coming back year after year.
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