At the top of Wisconsin, you will find a place where wilderness is alive and well. Water draws people to picturesque Presque Isle, whose name in French means “almost an island,” and whose fishery remains strong due to its less trafficked waters. Enjoy abundant natural resources with contemplative endeavors such as hiking, birding, and photography; or activities like boating, biking, and snowmobiling. Our diverse trails and pathways, water and waterfalls, and glacial hills and forests provide outdoor enthusiasts with plenty to do year-round. Our quaint town is known for its quality waters, year-round wildlife, and snowbelt winters, alongside a laid-back and friendly way of life. A number of area resorts, lodges, and vacation cabins cater to visitors, from couples seeking a quiet wilderness experience to the hunter-angler seeking a trophy for their wall, from cross-country skiers to snowmobilers, from birdwatchers to motorcyclists, from young families to the young-at-heart.
French Voyageurs named us Presque Isle or “Almost an Island.” Our rich history includes booming logging days, vacation resorts, sportsman’s traditions and more. History reports that nearly 300 years ago, two French priests, leading a missionary expedition through uncharted waters, were shipwrecked and marooned on the shores of Lake Superior. The party pitched their camp at the mouth of a river and survived the winter. During the spring thaw and high water, they found themselves on “Almost an Island.” They christened the river “Presque Isle.” because of the vast stretches of lakes and rivers that dwarf the land.
Development came to the area in the early 1900s with the advent of the logging era. In 1905, J.J. Foster built the Vilas County Lumber Company on the edge of a pond. The community that grew up around it was called Fosterville.
When William S. Winegar bought the mill in 1910, the fledgling community was renamed Winegar. The “lumber baron” era came to an end in 1933 when the mill closed, but the town of Winegar continued to grow.
Today, the world’s largest walleye rearing ponds occupy the old mill grounds. In 1955, the village name was changed once again. Reflecting the wisdom and farsightedness of early French missionary priests we became “Presque Isle – Almost an Island” again.
As it is today, our township, with 77 square-miles and over 80 lakes, translated from the French words is truly “Almost an Island.” With over 21 islands – try to count them – our second largest lake, Crab Lake, is acclaimed by many to be the most beautiful in the state. Indeed, all of our island-stuffed lakes are beautiful, and as you may well expect, ideal for fishing too. Although most of our spring-fed lakes flow to the sea through the St. Lawrence Waterway, those along our south boundary make their journey to the Gulf of Mexico – most interesting to find some lakes flowing north, while some others only a few blocks away are spilling their springs to the south. This exhibits the Presque Isle area to be on top of the watershed – high on the divide – and with our elevation up to over 1800 feet, we enjoy many of Nature’s privileges. We deem it one of our privileges to cordially invite you and your family to visit and share Nature’s benefits with us.
The Town of Presque Isle is located in northwest Vilas County, Wisconsin in the Lake Superior snowbelt region. The area contains many lakes, such as the Presque Isle Lake and the headwaters of the Presque Isle River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 74.4 square miles (192.8 km2), of which, 61.7 square miles (159.8 km2) of it is land and 12.7 square miles (33.0 km2) of it (17.10%) is water.
The population in Presque Isle is 617. There are 10 people per square mile aka population density. The median age in Presque Isle is 61.3, the US median age is 37.4. The number of people per household in Presque Isle is 2.1, the US average of people per household is 2.6.
Family in Presque Isle
- 71.5% are married
- 9.2% are divorced
- 21.3% are married with children
- 5.6% have children, but are single
Race in Presque Isle
- 99.4% are white
- 0.0% are black
- 0.0% are asian
- 0.6% are native american
- 0.0% claim Other
- 0.0% claim Hispanic Ethnicity
- 0.0% Two or More Races
- 0.0% Hawaiian, Pacific Islander
In the town, the population was spread out, with 13.8% under the age of 18, 1.9% from 18 to 24, 16.8% from 25 to 44, 36.5% from 45 to 64, and 31.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 56 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.7 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $41,250, and the median income for a family was $43,438. Males had a median income of $35,000 versus $29,000 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,798. About 5.7% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.4% of those under age 18 and 3.2% of those age 65 or over.
The town is served by four Vilas County Trunk Highways and a Michigan State Highway. CTH W leads west and south through Winchester and Manitowish Waters to a connection with USH 51. CTH B runs east–west through the town and connects with M-64 about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the village of Presque Isle, to the east it connects with USH 45 and STH 32 at Land o’ Lakes. CTH P serves the western part of the town and provides access to North Lakeland Elementary School. CTH M begins at a junction with CTH B near Natural Lakes Private Preserve in the eastern part of the town, and provides access to Boulder Junction and eventually USH 51.
Colleges/universities with over 2000 students nearest to Presque Isle:
- Michigan Technological University (about 84 miles; Houghton, MI; Full-time enrollment: 6,078)
- Northcentral Technical College (about 86 miles; Wausau, WI; FT enrollment: 3,356)
- Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (about 112 miles; Shell Lake, WI; FT enrollment: 2,414)
- Northern Michigan University (about 113 miles; Marquette, MI; FT enrollment: 8,258)
- University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (about 117 miles; Stevens Point, WI; FT enrollment: 9,089)
- University of Wisconsin-Superior (about 119 miles; Superior, WI; FT enrollment: 2,302)
- University of Minnesota-Duluth (about 121 miles; Duluth, MN; FT enrollment: 10,612)
Library in Presque Isle:
- PRESQUE ISLE COMMUNITY LIBRARY (Operating income: $71,209; Location: 8306 SCHOOL LOOP RD.; 15,376 books; 11,545 e-books; 3,048 audio materials; 4,907 video materials; 2 local licensed databases; 28 state licensed databases; 6 other licensed databases; 43 print serial subscriptions)
Hospitals nearest to Presque Isle:
- Rocco Medical Clinic (about 18.6 miles; 601 Sunday Lake St, Wakefield MI)
- Duluth Clinic (about 24.1 miles; 400 E 3rd St, Duluth MN)
- Grandview Hospital (about 24.2 miles; N10565 Grandview Ln, Ironwood, MI)
- Howard Young Medical Center (about 24.4 miles; 240 Maple Street, Woodruff WI)
- Josephsons Nursing Home (about 25.2 miles; 634 E Ayer St, Ironwood MI)
Outdoor Points of Interest
Wisconsin’s Last Wilderness is a place of sun filled happy lazy days and star-filled, cool comfortable evenings and nights. Our tourism-centric, quaint Northwoods town is known for its quality waters, year-round wildlife, and snowbelt winters, alongside its laid back and friendly way of life. A number of area resorts, lodges, and vacation cabins cater to visitors, from couples seeking a quiet wilderness experience to the hunter-angler seeking a trophy for their wall, from the cross-country skier to the snowmobiler, from the birdwatcher to the motorcyclist.
And remember, being in Wisconsin’s Last Wilderness does not mean a lack of access to mouth-watering food. On the contrary, our area offers a variety of restaurants; from pubs and taverns to traditional supper clubs and award-winning fine dining. Whether you’re looking for a hearty meal, a quick snack, or a nightcap and a pool table, our fine establishments will keep you satisfied. Whatever your vacation or future home dreams, make them a reality by coming to the vistas of Presque Isle.
Trails. Presque Isle offers a fantastic variety of trails for mountain bikers, hikers, birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.
- Presque Isle/Pomeroy/Henry Lake Bike Trail
- Presque Isle/Winchester Bike Route
- WinMan Trails – Hiking/Biking
- Catherine Wolter Wilderness Area
- North Lakeland Discovery Center
- Van Vliet Hemlocks
- Guido Rahr, Sr. Tenderfoot Forest Reserve
- Northern Highland State Forest
Bird City. The Town of Presque Isle received recognition on Aug. 10, 2011, as a Bird City Wisconsin community and has maintained this honor thru the years. A plethora of places to enjoy birds exist in Presque Isle, from the lakes and your backyard to designated birding hotspots including the Catherine Wolter Wilderness Area, Pipke Park’s Rearing Ponds, and the Van Vliet Hemlocks State Natural Area.
Wilderness. At the top of Wisconsin, you will find a place where wilderness is alive and well.
- Catherine Wolter Wilderness Area
- Ottawa National Forest
- Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
- Powell Marsh State Wildlife Area
- State Natural Areas (SNA)
- Van Vliet Hemlocks State Natural Area
Great Lakes or Chains
Presque Isle is surrounded by more than 1,000 lakes. Add to that the more than 70 rivers and streams than flow through Vilas County, and you’re looking at a lot of water. One could enjoy a different lake or stream every day for three years without ever visiting the same water twice, and that doesn’t even take into consideration the countless bodies of water that await just over the state line in Michigans’s Upper Peninsula.
Whatever your waterborne desire may be, sailing, skiing, scuba diving, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, or just watching the sun set over a tranquil shoreline, Presque Isle and its immediate vicinity has what you need.
Presque Isle Chain of Lakes
The Presque Isle Chain of Lakes is a small chain of 3 lakes that offer some good fishing for a variety of fish. Anglers target muskie, northern pike, smallmouth bass and panfish here. The 3 lakes are Presque Isle, Van Vliet Lake and Averill.
Presque Isle Lake. Presque Isle Lake is a 1165 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 103 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from public boat landings. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye. The lake’s water clarity is very clear.
Van Vliet Lake. Van Vliet Lake is a 230 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 20 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from a public boat landing. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye.
Averill Lake. Averill Lake is a 68 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 5 feet. Fish include Musky, Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye.
Armour Lake. Armour Lake is a 328 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 56 feet. Fish include walleye, muskie, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and panfish. According to the Wisconsin DNR, walleye and panfish are common in this lake. All of the other species of fish are listed as present.
Big Lake. Big Lake is a 827 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 61 feet with moderately clear water. Fish include muskie, walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and panfish. According to the DNR, muskie, smallmouth bass, walleye and panfish are considered common while largemouth bass and northern pike are listed as present.
Crab Lake. Crab Lake is a 909 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 60 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from a public boat landing. Fish include walleye, muskie, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and panfish. It’s a very good numbers lake for smallmouth bass with some big smallies here too. Fish the rocky points, shorelines and islands and you’ll find plenty of smallmouth bass willing to bite. There is also some decent muskie fishing here too with some big fish available as well.
Oxbow Lake. Oxbow Lake is a 523 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 44 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from a public boat landing. Fish include walleye, muskie, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and panfish. According to the Wisconsin DNR, walleye are common in this lake and all of the other species of fish are listed as present.
Papoose Lake. Papoose Lake is a 422 acre lake located in Vilas County. It has a maximum depth of 65 feet. Visitors have access to the lake from a public boat landing. Fish include walleye, muskie, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and panfish. According to the Wisconsin DNR, muskie and walleye are common in this lake. Northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and panfish are listed as present. The lake’s water clarity is very clear.
Arts Centers, Community Centers, and ETC
The Presque Isle Community Center, Presque Isle Community Library, and Presque Isle Volunteer Fire Department are located in the unincorporated community of Presque Isle.
The Community Park sits adjacent to the Library, Heritage Museum, and our Town Hall. You can take the Nature Trail to Shanty Boy Hill Cemetery, or visit the perennial garden or new community gardens, baseball diamonds, horseshoe pits or playground. Adjacent to the playground is pit restrooms meeting ADA requirements. Two shelters are available, one between the ball diamonds serving concessions during games and the other an open log pavilion available for larger groups or simply to enjoy lunch out of the sun.
Presque Isle Heritage Cottage Museum
The Heritage Society maintains this museum in an effort to preserve the past history of the town of Fosterville/Winegar/Presque Isle. They are recording the present history for the future. Their collections are assembled in a cottage museum they love to show residents and visitors.
PRE-COVID AVERAGE PRICE AND POST-COVID AVERAGE PRICE
Pre-Covid Ave Price Sold: $368,524.36
Post-Covid Ave Price Sold: $555,135.61