Sitting on the Wisconsin/Michigan border is the beautiful Cisco Chain of Lakes. There are fifteen lakes that comprise the chain, which, not surprisingly, is one of the largest freshwater chains in the world, based on an estimated 4,025 acres according to a Michigan DNR special report.
The chain totals 270 miles of shoreline beginning on the north with Big Africa Lake and to the south, in Wisconsin, Mamie Lake. Two of the lakes cross into Wisconsin, Big Lake, West Bay and Mamie Lake is entirely in Vilas County, Wisconsin.
The deepest of the lakes is the largest lake, Thousand Island Lake, at about 40 feet. The next deepest is Cisco Lake, next largest lake, at about 21 feet deep. Most of the other lakes are 20 feet deep or less.
The connecting waterways of the chain were developed during the late 1800s into the early 1900s when a primitive log crib (dam) was built at the north end of the chain. Thereby the connecting waterways flooded, allowing for logs to traverse the chain to railheads at Big Lake and Mamie Lake.
In 1931 the Copper District Power Company reconstructed the dilapidated dam and the dam eventually came under the control of the Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) in 1948. Currently, UPPCO’s parent company, Integrys Energy Group, Inc., is selling the company to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners LP.
Most of the shoreline is private property. After the logging industry vacated the area, it the lakes became a recreational haven. Resorts ranging from quaint cabins to luxurious accommodations sprung up on its pristine shores.
Some of the best fishing anywhere is found are in these waters – home to Yellow perch, Walleye, Northern pike, Bluegill Black, crappie, Rock bass, Pumpkinseed, Brown bullhead, Largemouth bass, Smallmouth bass, Golden shiner, White sucker, Muskellunge, Tiger Muskellunge, Creek chub, Mottled sculpin, Black bullhead, Central mudminnow and Lake herring.
During winter, snowmobiles crisscross the area and there are plenty of activities scheduled throughout the season.
For vacation or a residence steeped in nature’s tranquility, the Cisco Chain is a superstar destination.
Lakes of the Cisco Chain
Big Lake | Mamie Lake | West Bay Lake
East Bay Lake | Little Morley Lake | Big Morley Lake
Bass Lake | Poor Lake | Fishhawk Lake
Lindsley Lake | Cisco Lake | Thousand Island Lake
Record Lake | Big Africa Lake | Little Africa Lake
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