The Chain O' Lakes
History and Attraction of the Chain O' Lakes
Unique Glacial Formation
The Chain of Lakes is an impressive natural feature created by a receding lobe of the great Cary Glacier which melted approximately 12,500 years ago, leaving irregular hills and valleys. Organic matter plus deposits of sand, gravel and rocks trapped in the mass fell to the bottom of the valleys, creating their unique terrain. Great chunks of ice melted in the deep pits, forming today's lakes of the Chain. The melting ice uncovered natural springs opened by the movement of the glacier. These natural springs feed the lakes with remarkably pure water, and natural filtration keeps the lakes crystal clear by continually releasing fresh spring water while older water empties through the Crystal River outlet.
The water of the lakes is translucent; the greenish-blue color comes from the reflection of unique materials at the bottom of each lake. Varying levels of limestone, clay, alkaline and glacially deposited organic material create different tints of green on the surface of the lakes. Deep emerald tints are especially vivid on Marl, Taylor, McCrossen, Nessling and Round lakes. The unique colors are one of the trademark characteristics of the Chain, oftentimes referred to as the Killarneys of The Americas.
The first of ancient civilizations here are known as the Mound People. They were followed by the Algonquin, made up of Menomini (meno meaning "good" or "first" and min meaning "grain" or "rice") who were avid fishermen and harvested wild rice from the lakes. These peace-loving people practiced a unique religion, paying tribute to nature by treating the land, waters and wildlife with great respect. Today, the pristine Chain O' Lakes carries reminders of its earliest inhabitants in the form of turtle-shaped effigy mounds along its shorelines.
Collectively the Chain has 274 surface acres, approximately 22 miles of shoreline and could be considered a single body of water. However, certain natural elements evolved on different lakes to provide distinct characteristics. Due to the unique bottoms and topographic contours, the aquatic species of the Chain are quite diverse. Game fish such as walleye and pike, pan fish such as bass and perch, lake trout and sturgeon are found in the various lakes and marginal shelves of the Chain.
The natural beauty, clean clear waters and beautiful coloration of Chain O' Lakes provide a unique natural setting for seasonal beauty and recreation. Today's inhabitants range from full-time residents and seasonal cottage-goers to retirees and working professionals commuting to the Fox Valley. Locals and tourists alike enjoy a wide range of activities, from a quiet kayak paddle through Otter Lake to a live music performance on a floating stage at Clearwater Harbor. Go by boat to play mini golf, have an ice cream cone or bike the winding roads around the lakes to Hartman Creek State Park or a rustic state road. Fish, swim, tube, ski, boat, or jet ski the big lakes. Enjoy events such as a Chain Skiers show, 4th of July fireworks, lighted and wooden boat parades, the Polar Plunge benefit, Civil War reenactments, narrated boat tours and more. Waupaca's Chain O' Lakes is a great destination for a weekend or a lifetime. As current residents know, Waupaca’s Chain O’Lakes area is easy to find and hard to leave.