Love Your Lake
3 tips for choosing a lake place
Who wouldn’t want to sit on their own dock on a long summer evening and watch the sun set over the water? Or get on the lake without the headache of launching the boat – just untie and go for it?
There are a lot of factors to consider when buying property on a lake or river. When you own shoreline property, you’re essentially becoming next door neighbor to a Wisconsin public park. And this comes with some responsibilities. Like sharing.
What are you going to do on the lake? If you’re a quiet sports person, check ordinances regarding jet skis and no-wake zones and times. Nothing is more miserable than trying to sneak up on a walleye while someone’s kid is learning to ski ten feet from your boat. Vice versa, fast boats and jet skis are a lot of fun, but not when Ol’ Sam next door is shaking his fist at you because his fish got off the line. Or you swamp your neighbor in his kayak. Whoops.
Because of the variety of sizes, depths, shorelines and locations of lakes in Northwest Wisconsin, you have a lot to choose from. There truly is a water body for every taste and activity from kayaking the wild and scenic riverways to water skiing the wide open spaces of a large clear lake.
Here are three easy ways to find out more about that lake where your dream cabin is waiting for you to move in.
1. Contact the lake association or lake district
Most lakes in Northern Wisconsin have organizations made up of shoreline owners or “riparian” owners. The associations and districts often have websites where you can find out more about the lake and its regulations and quirks. We’ve compiled a list here. (It’s still growing.) If possible, find out when they meet and ask if you can attend.
What’s the difference between Lake Associations and Lake Districts?
Lake Districts are units of government that manage one or more lakes. They have statutes that govern their responsibilities in regard to the resource (the lake), citizens, and taxpayers. They have the capability to tax property within their district.
Lake Associations, on the other hand, are groups that have an interest in what’s done on and around their lake but they have no regulatory power.
2. Talk to DNR
We’ve created a list of DNR service stations. Most of these offices have staff that work specifically in water quality or fisheries biology. They not only know the regulations about lakes and lake property, but they have a good handle on exactly what’s going on with specific lakes’ water clarity and depths, types of fish and other factors that may influence your buying decision. Usually a phone call will give you all the information you need.
3. Get on the water
To really know a lake you should get on the water. Sometimes this is easier said than done, especially if you don’t own a boat (yet). There are plenty of places that rent boats and pontoons. Take an afternoon and see what’s what on the lake of your choice. You can learn a lot just by cruising around.
Of course the agents at Northwest Land and Rec have all lived in this area for a lo-o-o-o-ng time. So, they’ll be able to give you excellent information on the lakes where you’re looking at property. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! We’re here to get you on a lake you love.