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Okauchee Lake is a 1,187-acre lake located in northern Waukesha County, Wisconsin. One of the larger "Lake Country" lakes, Okauchee Lake's meandering shoreline lies within the boundaries of the towns of Oconomowoc and Merton. The lake's water quality and excellent fishery make it a popular destination for boaters and anglers throughout the year. The lake is also dotted with taverns and restaurants that cater to water enthusiasts. Numerous social events allow residents and tourists endless opportunities for recreation and socialization during the peak lake season.
Okauchee Lake's numerous bays and inlets offer nearly 13 miles of pristine shoreline. With a maximum depth of 94 feet, the main body of the lake can easily accommodate personal water craft of all sizes during the summer months, and allows for extraordinary fishing year round. Anglers will find large populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, crappie, white bass, and bluegill. After a day of fishing or boating, there are many restaurants and taverns with boat access. For visitors, a public boat launch can be found on the southwest shore off Highway 16.
A dam on the southern end of the lake controls the water flow from Okauchee Lake into neighboring Oconomowoc Lake, Fowler Lake and Lac LaBelle Lake. All four lakes are in the Oconomowoc River Watershed which drains approximately 128 square miles. From its origin in the town of Richfield in Washington County, the Oconomowoc River flows southwest through six major lakes for approximately 49 miles before entering the Rock River in the town of Ixonia in Jefferson County. During times of high and low water levels, neighboring communities must meet to discuss the best way to maintain the water levels of all six lakes.
Winter sports enthusiasts will discover the area doesn't slow down when the temperature drops. In the winter, ice fishing is exceptional on Okauchee Lake along with ice boating, ice skating and snowmobiling. Snowshoeing is a family winter sport that is gaining in popularity. Snowshoe rentals are available from several outfitters in the area and offer a great way to explore the snow-covered countryside and enjoy a self-guided wildlife experience. Cross-country ski trails can also be found and miles of groomed snowmobile trails will appeal to diehard snowmobilers.
Vacation rentals around Okauchee Lake range from cozy cottages to sprawling lakefront resorts. The town of Merton and Okauchee are large enough to have any amenity a visitor could want, but still retain their small town charm. The larger city of Oconomowo is just west of the lake and offers a variety of lodging, dining, and shopping options. A number of golf courses can be found in the area along with an extensive network of hiking, biking, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and horseback riding trails. For those wishing to purchase or rent real estate, year round and seasonal homes along with land for camping and hunting are readily available.
Just south of Okauchee Lake, the Kettle Moraine State Park is a great place to explore. Made up of unique geological formations created by retreating glaciers, the forest is managed for forestry and outdoor recreation. Visitors can explore and enjoy almost 30,000 acres of rolling hills, sparkling lakes, dense forests, and vast grasslands. Campgrounds can be found throughout the forest along with opportunities for fishing, swimming, kayaking, rafting, picnicking, hiking, and biking. Wildlife lovers have a good chance of spotting white tailed deer, muskrat, beaver, fox, mink, squirrel, and rabbits. Sandhill cranes and loons often visit the area when migrating. Osprey, bald eagles, falcons, owls, and the rare red-shouldered hawk also make their home around the lakes in the area.
North of Okauchee Lake, 444-acre Nashotah Park is located between the communities of Oconomowoc and Hartland. This park is comprised of rolling hills, woodlands, wetlands, and grasslands, offering habitat for deer, waterfowl, and a variety of songbirds. Nature trails lead through the park which is open year round. Boaters can enjoy a day on Forest Lake which is a favorite with paddlers.
Those who enjoy all the sights and sounds of a big city will find Milwaukee just 20 minutes away from Okauchee Lake. Popular attractions include the Milwaukee County Zoo, the Midwest Express Center, and the Milwaukee Public Museum. NBA fans can catch a Bucks game and baseball fans can cheer on the Brewers at Miller Park. Visitors can hop aboard several fun cruises on either Lake Michigan or the Milwaukee River. Taverns, terrific dining, a lively nightlife scene, art galleries and antique shops make this city a great place to visit.
The Okauchee Lake area offers an attractive blend of forests, lakes, and small town charm. Whether your passion is fishing, boating, golfing, horseback riding, sun bathing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, wildlife watching, searching for antiques, or just window shopping, you'll find it all at Okauchee Lake.
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