Description - Public lands make visiting Wisconsin's lakes and rivers easy, safe, and enjoyable. With over 15,000 fabulous lakes, hundreds of miles of nationally protected waterways, and famed borders with the Mississippi, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, the landscape is as diverse as the bountiful wildlife and culture.
Experience Copper Falls State Park's cornerstone - the Bad River, which weaves its way northward to Lake Superior penetrating scenic hemlock and maple stands while offering beautiful waterfall views. Amnicon Falls State Park is another sight for viewing tumbling waters (Amnicon River). The Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area is known for it's glacial kettles and ponds. Brule River State Forest offers access to its namesake where brook, brown and rainbow trout thrive and where coho and chinook salmon migrate annually from Lake Superior. The Browntown-Cadiz Springs State Recreation Area is located in southern Wisconsin featuring two scenic, spring-fed lakes: Zander Lake and Beckman Lake; two shorelines known for great berry picking. Lake Geneva is also located in southern Wisconsin and is considered one of the region's best fishing lakes. Located on 10,000-acre Lake Mendota, Governor Nelson State Park is just a short drive from the state's capitol city. Hartman Creek State Park, one of the state's most popular parks, is located in the famed Waupaca Chain O' Lakes region embracing eight spring-fed lakes. The names Wisconsin and Lake Winnebago are nearly synonymous. Access to the state's largest inland lake is found at High Cliff State Park where towering 200-foot cliffs provide extended views to Oshkosh, Neenah, Menasha, Appleton, and Kaukauna. Last but certainly not least is the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest consisting of 2000 miles of stream (nearly 1400 miles are classified as trout water), 607 lakes greater than ten acres in size, over 400 spring ponds, and 324,000 acres of wetland.
- A surge of recreation is enjoyed on Wisconsin's waters. On the upper St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers rapids challenge the canoeist. At the lower end, the river widens out at Lake St. Croix making power and sailboating popular. The Eau Galle Flood Control Project with its dam, lake, and recreation areas has excellent fishing from shore and is especially interesting to visit after heavy rains. Sightseeing reigns at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with its 21 forested islands, pristine stretches of sand beach, spectacular sea caves, and the largest collection of lighthouses within the National Park system. Horicon Marsh is a famed birding destination oftentimes referred to as the Everglades of the North. Two forks of the Flambeau River provide 75 miles of uninterrupted natural beauty and whitewater excitement. In addition to the fishing, sightseeing and hiking opportunities along the grand Mississippi and the world's largest great lake, Lake Superior, recreation dominates the shoreline of Lake Michigan especially on the peninsula of Door County. Whitefish Dunes State Park with its 6,600-foot beach is considered by many to be the best beach in Wisconsin. Experience Peninsula State Park, a 3,776-acre state treasure along the shoreline of Green Bay with rocky bluffs towering 150 feet above forests, meadows and wetlands. You may want to discover Newport State Park northeast of Ellison Bay comprised of 2,373 designated wilderness acres punctuated by sandy expanses, rocky juts and hidden coves.
Other Wisconsin notables include: Willow River State Park with its two dams, two lakes, and trout stream; Merrick State Park is considered a photographer's dreamscape hugging craggy bluffs above America's mighty river; and the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge where floodplain of the Upper Mississippi River provide important resting and feeding habitat for migratory birds thus entertaining over 60,000 annual bird watchers.
Recreation - Recreation on Wisconsin's lake and rivers ranges from waterskiing and lake fishing, to coldwater fly fishing and whitewater rafting. Canoeing, powerboating, sailing, scuba diving, wildlife watching, and sightseeing are just a few of the outdoor entertainments found along Wisconsin's fabulous waters.
Climate - Wisconsin experiences four distinct seasons with the average annual temperature varying from 39 degrees F in the northwest to 50 degrees F in the southeast. Great Lakes Michigan and Superior tend to make summers cooler and winters milder close to shore. Average January temperatures range from 12 to 16 degrees F (-11 to -9 degrees C) in the northwest to 22 degrees F (-6 degrees C) in the southeast. Average July temperatures in the northwest range from 70 to 85 degrees F (21 to 26 degrees C). However during the past several decades, average temperatures have risen in Wisconsin changing the imagery of the state. The winter economy has slowed considerable due to the lack of consistent snow, and where maples and aspens set the fall foliage a blaze, now duller elms, oak, ash and pine dominate the woodlands.
Wisconsin's lakes, rivers, and streamlets are found throughout the state. The western boundary is aligned with the Mississippi River while the northern tier embraces Lake Superior and the eastern shoreline is that of Lake Michigan.