Catfish Lake, Wisconsin, USA

Also known as:  Eagle River Chain of Lakes

Centerpiece of the Eagle River Chain of Lakes, Catfish Lake holds a special spot in the hearts of visitors to the Lake Superior Northwoods region of Wisconsin. The largest lake in the chain, Catfish Lake is a natural lake and a favorite of both anglers and resort visitors to the Eagle River area. Settled in the early 1800s, the Eagle River area saw a massive population increase in the 1880s – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Catfish Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Catfish Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Catfish Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Catfish Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Catfish Lake

Centerpiece of the Eagle River Chain of Lakes, Catfish Lake holds a special spot in the hearts of visitors to the Lake Superior Northwoods region of Wisconsin. The largest lake in the chain, Catfish Lake is a natural lake and a favorite of both anglers and resort visitors to the Eagle River area. Settled in the early 1800s, the Eagle River area saw a massive population increase in the 1880s when loggers arrived from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Word soon spread of the multiple chains of lakes teaming with fish, and the area began to draw sportsmen as seasonal visitors. Within a few years, the area was logged out and the loggers mostly moved on. The memory of this remote northern fishing destination 150 miles northwest of Green Bay remained, drawing hardy anglers to fish camps and rustic lodges. Because the area is so far from major cities, Catfish Lake never suffered over-development with vacation cottages and resorts as did more accessible areas.

Today, Catfish Lake remains an uncrowded, although increasingly upscale tourist venue. Most available lakefront property has been developed and holds an eclectic mix of lovely private homes and a few townhouses and condos mixed with the occasional resort. The lake is a favorite among boating enthusiasts who can access all ten lakes in the Eagle River chain from Catfish Lake. Sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, jet skiing, diving and snorkeling are favored activities here, as is swimming. The many coves lend themselves to canoeing, kayaking and pontooning along the wooded shoreline. A marina at the channel between Catfish and Voyageur Lakes rents boats, pontoons and motors. A public boat ramp is located on the northwest shore off Highway 32. Wildlife is still plentiful in the area, and few residents venture far without a pair of binoculars and camera at the ready as bald eagles are plentiful in the area.

The Eagle River flows through the lake; boaters have direct access to Cranberry and Voyageur Lakes and through them, to Eagle Lake, Scattering Rice Lake, Otter Lake, Lynx Lake, Duck Lake, Yellow Birch Lake and Watersmeet Lake. Although natural lakes, the water levels in the entire system are regulated by the Otter Rapids hydroelectric dam operated by Wisconsin Public Service Corporation. Boaters can access the 20 lakes in the higher ‘Three Lakes’ chain by way of a Boat hoist/tramway at Burnt Rollways Dam south of Cranberry Lake on the Otter River. The channel between the two chains is dredged and maintained to provide access to boats up to 30 feet long and eight feet wide. It is reported the two combined chains make up the largest inland freshwater chain of lakes in the world. Access to this boating paradise is one of the main reasons for Catfish Lake’s increasing popularity among vacationers.

Catfish Lake and the Eagle River Chain are very popular fishing waters. Although specializing in walleye, muskie and largemouth bass, other species caught are smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill and northern pike. In winter, ice fishing becomes the sport of choice as shanties appear over the favored ‘hard water’ hotspots. The Catfish Lake area offers a wealth of activities year-round to please the outdoors fan. The Town of Eagle River three miles away is considered a snowmobiling capital. The World Championship Snowmobile Derby is held at the ice oval north of the city, and local snowmobile clubs offer a number of groomed trails through the area. These same trails and others provide ample room for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Provisions for downhill skiing, snowboarding and sledding can all be found nearby. In warmer weather, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, miniature golf and wildlife viewing take precedence along with golf. Eagle River offers a variety of festivals and activities throughout the year, including the Klondike Days Voyageur Encampment in mid-winter each year.

Several campgrounds and camping resorts exist near Catfish Lake. One needn’t be a fan of camping and rustic living to enjoy the area around Catfish Lake, however: several newly-developed resorts on the Eagle River chain offer every possible amenity from gourmet meals to spa treatments and world-class entertainment. Although Eagle River is a small city with only 1500 residents, shopping is provided for everyday items, groceries and hardware. Eagle River offers movie theaters, restaurants and all necessary services to occupy the family on the occasional rainy day.

A variety of vacation rentals can be found along the shores of Catfish Lake. Many private residences and cottages can be rented by the week or month. Many are luxury homes with all amenities, private beaches and provisions for water sports. A motel located at the west end of the lake offers weekly rentals, and the several resorts and condo complexes on the Eagle River chain can provide exactly the kind of vacation venue to suit the most discerning visitor. Real estate in the form of existing homes is often found along the shore, although building lots are quite rare. So come investigate the possibilities at Catfish Lake. Let Catfish Lake become the centerpiece of your summer or winter vacation. Perhaps you’ll stay for both!

Things to Do at Catfish Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Snorkeling
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Miniature Golf
  • Movie Theater
  • Shopping

Fish Species Found at Catfish Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

All About Catfish Lake

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Catfish Lake

The Catfish Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Catfish Lake Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Catfish Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Catfish Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Catfish Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Catfish Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Wisconsin Public Service Corporation

Surface Area: 1,012 acres

Shoreline Length: 11 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,615 feet

Average Depth: 12 feet

Maximum Depth: 30 feet

Water Volume: 11,818 acre-feet

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More Catfish Lake news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Catfish Lake forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Catfish Lake photos coming soon!
  • You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
  • Share this Catfish Lake article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Catfish Lake? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

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Looking for the Catfish Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your Catfish Lake vacation rental or local business.

The former Catfish Lake forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Catfish Lake photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Catfish Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Catfish Lake vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old Catfish Lake forum group? Click Here

New Catfish Lake photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi