Big Muskego Lake & Bass Bay
Big Muskego Lake
Big Muskego Lake is a shallow 2,260-acre flow-through lake fringed with cattail-dominated wetlands and encompassing numerous islands of cattail marsh. Most of Big Muskego Lake is less than four feet deep with generally an organic or "muck" bottom.
Bass Bay is a 100-acre connected embayment of Big Muskego Lake that has a deeper basin typical of glacially formed "kettle lakes" in the region. Bass Bay has a maximum depth of 23-feet and has a bottom substrate of predominantly muck with some isolated sandy shoreline areas.
Between 1995 and 1997 a nationally-recognized lake restoration effort was undertaken on Big Muskego Lake and Bass Bay. The project resulted in dramatically improved water quality and enhanced fish and wildlife habitat. Prior to the project the lake was a turbid, carp-dominated, open expanse of shallow water. After a full year drawdown and eradication of rough fish, the lake shifted to a marsh/shallow lake complex with improved water quality.
Boat Launches - Get out there!
Maps - Find your way around!
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The clearer water supports a quality fishery that includes panfish, northern pike, and largemouth bass. Increased plant coverage and diversity has improved waterfowl nesting habitat and production. Greater usage by migrating ducks and geese has translated into improved hunting success. Wildlife viewing opportunities have increased with non-game species such as Ospreys, Bald Eagles, Forster's Terns, and Yellow Headed Blackbirds more commonly seen in the enhanced habitat.
Big Muskego Lake and the surrounding marsh have long been recognized as an outstanding natural resource. Aldo Leopold even makes reference to the marsh in his most famous writing, A Sand County Almanac. The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission classifies Big Muskego Lake Marsh as a natural area of regional significance. In 2006, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources published Wisconsin's Land Legacy Report which identifies Wisconsin's natural resource "gems". It identified 228 places statewide believed to be most important to meeting Wisconsin's conservation and recreation needs over the next fifty years. Big Muskego Lake, including its wetland fringe and adjacent uplands, is one of those special places.