Elkhart Lake Fishing, Size, Depth, And More

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Published: September 10, 2023
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Located in the heart of Wisconsin, Elkhart Lake is a hidden gem for fishing enthusiasts seeking a rewarding experience. With its pristine waters, ample size, and diverse ecosystem, Elkhart Lake offers a haven for both seasoned anglers and newcomers to the sport. The lake’s impressive size and depths are home to an abundance of fish species. Elkhart Lake is a destination that promises excitement, tranquility, and the thrill of reeling in your next big catch. So, grab your fishing gear, prepare to explore the depths, and embark on a memorable fishing adventure in Elkhart Lake!

Location, Size, And Depth

Fall colors in Wisconsin by Elkhart Lake

Elkhart Lake is located in Kettle Moraine, Wisconsin.


Elkhart Lake is a stunning 292-acre lake located in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. Nestled within the picturesque surroundings of the Kettle Moraine, this lake offers a tranquil escape for fishing enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Elkhart Lake has a maximum depth of 119 feet. This lake provides ample opportunity for anglers to explore its depths and discover hidden fishing spots. Access to the lake is convenient, with a public boat launch and ample parking available on the northwest side of the lake.

History And Purpose of Elkhart Lake


Elkhart Lake has a rich history that dates back centuries. The area was originally inhabited by the Potawatomi Indians, who called the lake “Me-shay-way-o-deh-ni-bis” or “Great Elk Heart Lake” due to its resemblance to an elk’s heart. European settlers arrived in the mid-19th century, with the village of Elkhart Lake officially incorporated in 1894.


In the early 1950s, Elkhart Lake gained recognition in the world of motorsports. Sports car races were held on the streets in and around the lake, attracting drivers and enthusiasts from across the country. However, when racing was prohibited on public roads in Wisconsin, local businessmen collaborated to build the iconic Road America circuit, located two miles east of Elkhart Lake. Today, Road America is known as one of the most picturesque and challenging road courses in the United States.


The purpose of Elkhart Lake has evolved over time, from a place of natural beauty and leisure to a renowned motorsports destination. It has quickly become a popular destination for vacationers and tourists, drawn by its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Elkhart Lake served as a summer retreat for city dwellers from Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Louis, offering a peaceful escape and a chance to enjoy water activities and the scenic landscape. Its history and significance as a recreational haven and racing hub continue to draw visitors from near and far, ensuring that Elkhart Lake remains a cherished destination for both nature lovers and motorsports enthusiasts alike.

Fishing At Elkhart Lake

The lake is known for its solid smallmouth bass fishery, with good numbers of fish and sizes ranging up to 20 inches. The current regulation for smallmouth bass is a 14-inch minimum length limit and a daily bag limit of 5 fish.

Types of Fish in Elkhart Lake

Elkhart Lake is home to a variety of fish species. The most common fish species found in Elkhart Lake include:

  • Smallmouth bass
  • Largemouth bass
  • Musky (Muskellunge)
  • Northern pike
  • Walleye
  • Panfish (which can include various species such as bluegill, crappie, and perch)

These species provide fishing opportunities for anglers visiting the lake. It’s worth noting that fishing regulations and bag limits may apply, so it’s advisable to check the current regulations set by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) before fishing in Elkhart Lake.

Tips for Successful Fishing at Elkhart Lake

To have a successful fishing experience at Elkhart Lake, here are some tips based on the information provided:

Target Smallmouth Bass:

Elkhart Lake is known for its solid smallmouth bass fishery. Focus your efforts on targeting smallmouth bass, as they are plentiful and can reach impressive sizes.

Follow the Regulations:

Make sure to adhere to the fishing regulations set by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The current regulation for smallmouth bass at Elkhart Lake is a 14-inch minimum length limit and a 5-fish daily bag limit.

Use Appropriate Lures and Baits:

Smallmouth bass are known to be attracted to a variety of lures and baits. Popular choices include soft plastic crawfish imitations, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and live bait such as nightcrawlers or minnows.

Explore Different Areas:

Elkhart Lake has a public boat launch on the northwest side of the lake, but don’t limit yourself to just one spot. Explore different areas of the lake, including rocky shorelines, weed beds, and drop-offs, to increase your chances of finding active fish.

Time Your Fishing:

Smallmouth bass tend to be more active during the early morning and late evening when the water is cooler. However, they can be caught throughout the day as well. Consider adjusting your fishing schedule accordingly.

Observe Weather and Water Conditions:

Pay attention to weather patterns, as they can impact fish behavior. Additionally, consider factors such as water temperature, clarity, and wind direction when selecting your fishing techniques and locations.

Remember, fishing success can vary, and it’s always helpful to gather local knowledge and consult with experienced anglers or local bait shops for the most up-to-date information and tips specific to Elkhart Lake.

The Best Launch Spots and Marinas at Elkhart Lake

Elkhart Lake Public Boat Launch

Elkhart Lake has a public boat launch located on the northwest side of the lake. This is a popular spot for launching boats and accessing the lake.

Sheboygan County-Owned Public Lake Access Points

Sheboygan County maintains several boat landing areas, but specific information about Elkhart Lake’s marinas or launch spots within the county is not readily available in the search results.

Local Knowledge

To get the most accurate and up-to-date information about the best launch spots and marinas at Elkhart Lake, it would be beneficial to reach out to local bait shops, fishing guides, or the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). They can provide specific details on the current conditions and any recommended launch spots or marinas.

Remember that local regulations and permits may apply to launch boats and accessing marinas, so it’s essential to check for any specific requirements before visiting Elkhart Lake.

Recreational Activities At Elkhart Lake

Elkhart Lake offers a variety of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. Based on the search results, here are some popular recreational activities at Elkhart Lake:

Boating and Fishing

Elkhart Lake is known for its boating and fishing opportunities. Visitors can launch their boats from the public boat launch and enjoy a day on the water, fishing for species like smallmouth bass and panfish.


Elkhart Lake provides a great spot for swimming. Whether it’s at the public beach or at the resorts located around the lake, visitors can take a refreshing dip in the clear waters of the lake.


The village and surrounding area of Elkhart Lake are suitable for cycling enthusiasts. Visitors can bring their bicycles or rent them from resorts to enjoy biking around the lake and surrounding countryside.

Auto Racing

Elkhart Lake is home to Road America, a world-famous racetrack known for hosting various motorsports events. Visitors can watch thrilling races or even participate in driving experiences at the track.

Winter Activities

During winter, Elkhart Lake offers activities such as ice fishing and snowshoeing. These activities allow visitors to enjoy the beauty of the lake and surrounding area in a winter setting.

Spa Experiences

Elkhart Lake is also known for its world-class spa experiences. Visitors can indulge in relaxing spa treatments and wellness activities at the resorts in the area.


Elkhart Lake has hiking trails that allow visitors to explore the natural beauty of the area. These trails offer scenic views and opportunities to spot wildlife.


There are a variety of camping options available at Elkhart Lake, some of which are listed below.

It’s worth noting that the availability of certain activities may vary depending on the season and specific amenities provided by resorts and other establishments. It’s recommended to check with local resources or resorts for the most up-to-date information on recreational activities at Elkhart Lake.

Camping Spots Near Elkhart Lake

Here are some camping spots near Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin:

Plymouth Rock Camping Resort: Located near Elkhart Lake, this campground offers various amenities, including RV hookups and tent sites.

Sundance Farm Campground: Situated close to Elkhart Lake, this campground provides camping options for both RVs and tents.

Greenbush Group Campground: This campground offers group camping options and is located near Elkhart Lake.

Toadally Natural Garden: A campground near Elkhart Lake that offers a natural and peaceful camping experience.

Edenwood Ranch & Preserve: Located near Elkhart Lake, this campground offers a range of camping options and amenities.

PV’s Campground and Resort: Situated close to Elkhart Lake, this campground provides camping options for both RVs and tents.

Three Guys & a Grill Campground: This campground near Elkhart Lake offers tent camping sites.

Please note that it’s essential to check with each campground for specific details, availability, and reservation policies. Additionally, some campgrounds may have seasonal availability, so it’s advisable to plan accordingly and make reservations in advance.

Safety Tips While Enjoying Elkhart Lake: 

While enjoying Elkhart Lake, it’s important to prioritize safety for a pleasant experience. Here are some safety tips to consider:

Water Safety:

  • Swim in designated areas and obey any posted rules or warnings.
  • Be aware of your swimming abilities and never swim alone.
  • Keep an eye on children and inexperienced swimmers at all times.
  • Wear life jackets when boating or participating in water sports.
  • Be cautious of changing weather conditions and strong currents.

Boating Safety:

  • Follow all boating regulations and requirements.
  • Wear appropriate life jackets for everyone onboard.
  • Be mindful of other boaters and maintain a safe distance.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption while operating a boat.
  • Check weather conditions before heading out on the water.

Road Safety:

  • Obey speed limits and traffic laws.
  • Be cautious of pedestrians and cyclists, especially in congested areas.
  • Avoid distractions while driving, such as texting or using your phone.
  • If participating in teen driving programs at Road America, follow all safety instructions and guidelines.

General Safety:

  • Stay aware of your surroundings and be cautious of potential hazards.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.
  • Stay hydrated and bring plenty of water, especially during hot weather.
  • Follow any safety guidelines provided by resorts, campgrounds, or activity organizers.
  • In case of emergencies, know the location of the nearest medical facilities and contact information for local authorities.

How to Preserve Elkhart Lake’s Ecology When Visiting

Preserving Elkhart Lake’s ecology when visiting is important to maintain the natural beauty and sustainability of the area. Here are some tips on how to do so:

Respect Wildlife and Plants:

  • Observe wildlife from a safe distance and do not disturb or feed them.
  • Avoid picking or damaging plants, flowers, or trees.
  • Stay on designated trails to minimize impact on the environment.

Practice Leave No Trace Principles:

  • Pack out all trash and dispose of it properly.
  • Minimize your impact by leaving the area as you found it.
  • Follow any posted guidelines or regulations regarding waste disposal and recycling.

Conserve Water:

  • Be mindful of water usage, especially in areas where water resources may be limited.
  • Use water efficiently and avoid excessive waste.
  • Avoid introducing pollutants or contaminants into the lake or surrounding water bodies.

Responsible Fishing and Boating:

  • Follow fishing regulations and practice catch-and-release whenever possible.
  • Dispose of fishing lines, hooks, and other gear properly to prevent harm to wildlife.
  • Use eco-friendly and non-toxic products when boating to minimize water pollution.

Stay on Marked Trails:

  • Stick to designated trails to avoid damaging vegetation or disrupting wildlife habitats.
  • Be cautious of fragile ecosystems, such as wetlands or sensitive areas, and avoid disturbing them.

Educate Yourself:

  • Learn about the local ecology and the species that inhabit the area.
  • Educate yourself on any specific guidelines or conservation efforts in place for Elkhart Lake.
  • Consider joining or supporting local conservation organizations to contribute to preservation efforts.

In Conclusion

Elkhart Lake offers a captivating fishing experience with its abundant fish population, diverse species, and pristine waters. The lake’s size and depth provide ample opportunities for anglers of all skill levels to reel in their prized catches. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice fisherman, you’ll enjoy this lake.

The lake’s ecological balance and commitment to conservation ensure the sustainability of the fish species. It is essential for visitors to respect the lake’s ecology, practice responsible fishing techniques, and adhere to local regulations to preserve the lake’s natural beauty and protect its delicate ecosystem.

Beyond fishing, Elkhart Lake offers a picturesque setting with lush greenery and serene landscapes. Whether you seek adventure or simply a peaceful retreat, Elkhart Lake will captivate your senses.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © ajkelly/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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