Potter Lake

Potter Lake

About The Lake

Potter Lake is a small seepage lake located on the far northeast end of the Sugar-Honey Creek Watershed. As a seepage lake, Potter Lake is highly dependant upon its watershed area, which encompasses about 576 acres in the Town of East Troy. Of the 576 acres, approximately 43 percent are urban and 57 percent rural.

The lake is formed from a shallow depression at the base of a moraine. The lake has a total volume of 1,304 acre-feet, with an average depth of about 8 feet. Approximately 19 percent of the lake is less than 3 feet deep. The lake level is only partially controlled by a culvert (dam), maintained by the District, located near the Public Launch on County Highway L. The navigable lake area is 162 acres, and the shoreline is approximately 2.2 miles. The maximum depth of Potter Lake is 26 feet.

Hydrographic and Morphometric Data (source: WDNR)
  • Size of Lake: 162 acres
  • Lake Volume: 1,304.2 acre feet
  • Length of Shoreline: 2.2 miles
  • Maximum Depth: 26 feet
  • Mean Depth: 8 feet
  • Percent of area less than 3 feet deep: 19%
  • Percent of area greater than 20 feet deep: 5.5%

Aquatic plants found in Potter Lake include muskgrass, coontail, common waterweed, water star grass, eurasian watermilfoil, slender naid, nitella, white water lilly, curly leaf pondweed, sago pondweed, flat stem pondweed, and horned pondweed. Until recently, eurasian watermilfoil and curly leaf pondweed dominated the vegetation. In 1975, the lake was chemically treated to remove all vegetation. From 1975 to 1997, the District maintained a harvesting program. In 1998, a selective herbicide was applied to remove eurasian watermilfoil from the lake and to promote the growth of native aquatic plants. Harvesting was not done in 1998 but is contemplated for future years, depending upon need and the ability to chemically “spot-treat” for milfoil should it return. To monitor progress, a plant survey is conducted annually.

Fish species found in Potter Lake include rock bass, white sucker, grass pickerel, northern pike, black bullhead, yellow bullhead, largemouth bass, carp, black crappie, pumpkinseed, bluegill, green sunfish and perch. The lake is stocked every few years by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or by the District itself. A recent shocking of the lake showed the yellow perch (72 percent) to be the most common species of fish in Potter Lake. Panfish dominate the fish population, accounting for more than 88 percent of the fish in the lake. Another, more comprehensive, fish survey has been scheduled by the DNR, probably for 1999. In addition to fish, the lake provides habitat and cover for waterfowl and small animals. Ducks, geese, muskrats and blue herons all find homes on Potter Lake.

While we have not experienced Zebra Mussels in Potter Lake, we are always on the lookout. If you see one, or need more information about what to look for, contact one of the District Commissioners. For fishing restrictions, check the information board located at the Public Launch.


Potter Lake offers something for everyone. In the Summer you’ll see power boating, swimming, fishing, water skiing, paddle boarding kayaking and sailing. In the Winter you’ll see skating, cross country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing. In the Fall you may also find the occasional duck or goose hunter on Potter Lake. For all of its activities, a community survey in 1992 found that the number one use for Potter Lake was for scenic viewing. Living on Potter Lake, according to one family, was like being on vacation all the time!


For information about ordinances governing the lake, contact the Town of East Troy at 262-642-5386. You can also visit the Lake Rules page.

If you are building, remodeling, landscaping or even building a deck, you should contact Walworth County for information about special restrictions and erosion control plans affecting lake properties.

Riparian Ownership

For certain our lake is improving because of the District’s management activities. But the work of the DNR and the District is not enough. As riparian owners, we each have a special responsibility to care for Potter Lake. In some cases, we may need to spend a little money; improving an eroding shoreline, fixing a boat motor that leaks oil, etc. In most cases, caring for the lake just needs a little time and effort; picking up harvested weeds, using common sense when applying lawn fertilizer and disposing of oils and solvents properly.

WDNR Phosphorus Rule
WDNR Phosphorus Reduction Tips

Enjoy your home! If you have any questions or comments, we want to hear from you!
The Potter's Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District