Wisconsin’s Wild Lakes: A Guide to the Last Undeveloped Natural Lakes

Sample Illustration


ISBN 978-0-9998157-0-0
Author: John Bates
Illustrator: Rebecca Jabs
Includes 55 maps and dozens of illustrations
Sofrtcover, 6 x 9, 240 pages (approx.)
Manitowish River Press, November 2021

About the Book

Of Wisconsin’s over 15,000 lakes, very few wild lakes remain. These are rare places where remarkable peace and beauty abounds, and where native wildlife flourishes. Over the last four years, John Bates has paddled or visited nearly all of these remaining wild lakes, and he describes them in detail in this comprehensive, illustrated guide.

The book directs visitors to the 55 best wild lakes left in Wisconsin. Each lake has clear directions, a map, a detailed listing of its physical features, and a description of some of its ecological highlights. An additional chapter includes short descriptions and directions to 64 other wild lakes. Elegant color illustrations by Manitowoc artist Rebecca Jabs further embellish the book.

Sample Page

Lake Name: Frank Lake

Location: Vilas County, T41N-R7E, Section 13, and T41N-R8E, Section 18, 46.03367510, -89.55385420

Directions: From Cty. M south of Boulder Junction, turn east onto Big Muskellunge Lake Rd., and go nearly 5 miles, then turn left (north) onto Frank Lake Rd. Drive about a half mile to where the road ends at a gated, carry-in boat landing.

Ownership: WDNR

Surface Area: 147 acres

Lake Type: Seepage

Maximum Depth: 38’ max

Bottom Sediments: 70% sand, 15% gravel, 10% rock, 5% muck

Access/Parking/Facilities: A small parking area for up to 5 cars occurs at the end of the access road with a gate blocking any further driving. To put-in, one has to carry down a short hill, perhaps 100 yards, to the landing. No motorboats permitted. No facilities.

Elevation: 1655’

Recreational Opportunities: Numerous wild lakes are nearby to paddle, including Starrett (which has a small campground), Nebish, Escanaba, Pallette, Aurora, and a few others. For concentrated wild lake paddling, there is likely no better area to visit in Wisconsin. The Heart of the Vilas County bike trail is two miles south of Frank Lake, and the Escanaba hiking trail is two miles north.

Clarity: Mesotrophic - secchi disk readings of 10.75’ on 6/25/18 and 8.25’ on 8/13/18

Watershed: St. Germain River

Invasive Species: None apparent

Description: I paddled Frank Lake on a mid-June, gorgeous, blue-sky morning. Paddling counter-clockwise, I quickly found a plaque attached to a shoreline boulder that read, “Frank Lake. Named for Frank J. Long, State Forest Ranger and Game Warden from 1911 until his death in 1937 while on duty on snowshoes in the Star Lake area.”

The shoreland is nearly all upland pines and oaks, but the northernmost bay is framed by a wetland. A large beaver lodge hugs the southwest shore. Some lakes impress you with their wildlife or their unusual flora, and others, like Frank, impress simply by their beauty. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more lovely lake to paddle in all of Wisconsin’s Northwoods than Frank Lake.