Lake Butte des Morts

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Lake Butte des Morts
Lake Butte des Morts
Location Winnebago County, Wisconsin,
United States
Coordinates 44°04′23″N 088°38′31″W / 44.07306°N 88.64194°W / 44.07306; -88.64194Coordinates: 44°04′23″N 088°38′31″W / 44.07306°N 88.64194°W / 44.07306; -88.64194
Primary inflows Fox River, Wolf River
Primary outflows Fox River
Basin countries United States
Surface area 8,800 acres (36 km2)
Average depth 9 ft (3 m)
Much of the Winnebago Pool from space, July 1996. Lake Winnebago is in the center, with Lake Butte des Morts just to the right of the center of the lake. Lake Winnebago runs along a roughly north-south line, with the south end of the lake being toward the top of this image. Oshkosh can be seen as the lighter area between the lakes.

Big Lake Butte des Morts (/ˌbjuːdəˈmɔər/[1]) is an 8,800-acre (36 km2) lake located in the U.S. state of Wisconsin and is part of the Winnebago Pool (also known as the Winnebago System). The lake is fed by the Fox River in the southwest and the Wolf River draining from Lake Winneconne in the northwest, and drains via the Fox River southeast into Lake Winnebago. The lake is also part of the Butte des Morts region in Winnebago County, Wisconsin. Much of the lake is flooded marshland created by the damming of the Fox River downstream in Menasha in the 19th century, which explains the lake's flat and shallow character (maximum depth is 15 ft). U.S. Highway 41 (US 41) / Interstate 41 (I41) spans the east end of the lake via a bridge and causeway combination. The bridge includes the Tribal Heritage Crossing, a designated national trail, which is a portion of the Wiouwash Trail.[2] The city of Oshkosh lies between Lake Butte des Morts and Lake Winnebago.

Big Lake Butte des Morts is popular among both fishermen and recreational boaters during the warm months, and with ice fishermen in the winter. A marked navigation channel helps passage across the lake from the inflow of the Wolf River to the west (connecting to Lake Poygan), to the outflow of the Fox River east to Lake Winnebago. While in the same general location, it is not connected to Little Lake Butte des Morts, a smaller lake to the north downstream of the Winnebago Pool. Big Lake Butte des Morts served as part of the Fox-Wisconsin Waterway.

Fish species found in the lake include walleye, drum, white bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, carp, flathead and channel catfish, northern pike, crappie, yellow perch, bluegill and sturgeon. Sunset Point, located near the US 41 bridge, is one of the most popular walleye fishing spots on the Winnebago System.

US 41 bridge over Lake Butte des Morts, now reconstructed and designated as Interstate 41

The name "Butte des Morts" was given by French settlers, and means "Hill of the Dead", in reference to a nearby Indian burial mound.


  1. ^ Miss Pronouncer: Hear how to pronounce; The Wisconsin pronunciation guide for cities, counties, Indians & lawmakers
  2. ^ Dickmann, Noell (June 13, 2015). "Tribal Heritage Crossing Designated as National Trail". The Post Crescent. Gannett Company. p. 3D.