main attraction to Chetek is, of course, our fabulous
Chetek Chain of Lakes - Chetek, Prairie,
Pokegama, Ojaski, Ten Mile, and Moose Ear
Lake. Together these lakes cover over 3,800 surface
acres with 120 miles of shoreline.
one hundred and fifty years ago Barron county was primarily forest land. The Chetek
lakes area was a marshy area with only Chetek, Pokegama and Prairie lakes existing
as well defined lakes.
The first inhabitants here were the Ojibway Indians. The name Chetek is thought to
originate from "Shadack" the Indian name for a long-legged bird abounding in the
wild rice growing in the marshy land.
Chetek lake originally was a source of wild rice for
the Indians. Some wild rice beds can still be found in the Ten Mile Creek area.
Chippewa Indian name for Chetek was "Jede-sagaigan", Jede meaning swan or
pelican and sagaigan meaning island lake.
first post office was established, "Chetek"
became the preferred spelling which has continued to
A pipestone quarry
attracted many Indians to the area. A pipestone
formation called "Catlinite" is a dark
red clay easily worked with a knife which then
hardens and takes on a high red polish upon being
exposed to the air. Catlinite was fashioned into
beads, ornaments and building blocks. The pipestone ridge just north of Chetek and the one
running through Minnesota are the only ones in
With the construction of the first dam in 1863 the original lakes were greatly enlarged
and Ojaski, Moose Ear and Ten Mile lakes were formed.
Today fishing abounds in the
fertile waters of these lakes. Crappies,
bluegills, perch, bullheads, bass, northerns and
walleyes are all sought after and caught in the chain. The lakes
have been stocked over the years with thousands of walleye fingerlings, courtesy of the DNR
and the local Lakes Protection
all estimates, over 400,000 fish are taken
annually from the waters of this popular fishery.
Along the lakeshore there are
twelve public boat landings, numerous public fishing areas, and a public
beach with lifeguards.
The city also has an airport with 3400
foot all-weather lighted runway, NDB navigational
beacon and fuel facilities,
The Chetek area currently boasts a year round population of 7500 people
with the summer population burgeoning to over 40,000. With
groceries, bait and tackle shops, restaurants, and convenience stores all of your vacation needs can be
met in Chetek.