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Totagatic Lake Wildlife Area

Totagatic Lake Wildlife Management Area is a 1,403-acre property located in southwest Bayfield County. It includes all of the 537 acre Totogatic Lake, one of northwest Wisconsin's finest waterfowl hunting lakes.

Totagatic Lake is also one of Wisconsin's premier wild rice producing lakes, which makes it a highly valuable waterfowl migratory stop-over. Rice production and harvest are monitored closely by the department and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. Ricing may be prohibited in certain years, depending on production. Maximum lake depth is eight feet, and the lake is heavily vegetated, making it susceptible to winter-kill.

There is a public boat landing on the southeast shore of the lake, facilitated by a small parking area. The fishery consists mainly of small northern pike and panfish. As such, there is some fishing activity, but pressure is light. The main lake uses are waterfowl hunting and wild rice harvesting. Totagatic Lake provides excellent bird watching and other wildlife viewing opportunities. There is usually a pair of trumpeter swans nesting on the lake each year.

The upland portions of the property offer numerous wildlife-related recreational opportunities since there is a good diversity of habitats and forest age classes found throughout the property. Grouse, deer and bear hunting are popular and bird watching is good along a hunter walking trail located near the boat landing.

Totagatic Lake is located in southwest Bayfield County. Take Highway 63 south from Cable approximately 2.5 miles to Leonard School Road. Go west on Leonard School Road to a T-intersection with Cable Sunset Road. Go south on Cable Sunset Road and continue following it south then west. It will turn into Totagatic Lake Road, which ends at the boat landing of Totagatic Lake and at the wildlife area.

Management Objectives

Acquisition of the property began in 1963 in an effort to gain control of the lake's outlet to prevent unauthorized modification of lake levels, but it wasn't until 1968 that the Natural Resources Board established the wildlife area and classified Totogatic Lake as a wild lake. This designation requires that the shoreline be managed so that man-made influence upon the surrounding landscape is not noticeable. Accordingly, there is a 400-foot wide "no-cut" buffer established around the entire lake. There is also a 50-acre scientific area with old growth hemlock established at the north end of the lake, which also is left undisturbed. The remainder of the property is primarily managed for northern hardwoods production and maintenance of aspen stands and lowland conifers.

For more information on master planning for this and other wildlife areas around the state, visit the property planning page.


The Totagatic Lake Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:

  • Auto travel;
  • Boating (non-motorized);
  • Birding;
  • Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
  • Fishing;
  • Hiking;
  • Hunting;
  • Trapping;
  • Wild edibles/gathering;
  • Wild rice harvesting; and
  • Wildlife viewing.


Download [PDF] a map of this property.

If you are interested in exploring this property further, you can access an interactive map.

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