Fish and Aquatic Life
Fish Creek is a spring-fed coulee stream located in east central La Crosse County and west central Monroe County. It flows in a northerly direction for a total of nearly seven miles. Fish Creek begins in Monroe County and flows for approximately 1.7 miles with a steep gradient of 100 feet per mile and then through La Crosse County for 5.2 miles with a more moderate gradient of 35 feet per mile before reaching the La Crosse River near Rockland. This stream drains steep forested hillsides and agriculture valley land. Fish Creek is not a classified trout stream in Monroe County but is a Class III trout stream for the entire length in La Crosse County.
The most recent survey, completed in 1968, documented a stream bottom consisting mainly of sand with some gravel areas. Silt deposits were prevalent near heavily eroded banks. Riparian land consisted of cultivated crops and pasture. The shifting sand bottom prevented growth of aquatic vegetation and in-stream cover was limited to undercut banks, logs and woody debris. Brown and brook trout were collected during the survey, along with rock bass and a variety of forage fish species. A fish and habitat survey should be conducted of Fish Creek to document the current status of Fish Creek. Between 1960 and 1991, Fish Creek was stocked with brown trout. From 1992 to 1999, brook trout were introduced to the stream. Access is possible from six road crossings.
In 1998, the La Crosse County Land Conservation Department initiated water chemistry testing of streams throughout La Crosse County. Baseflow conditions were targeted for testing as the most likely to show normal water quality conditions. Land Conservation staff sample streams four times annually when no rainfall or snowmelt has occurred during the previous 72 hours. Between 1998 and 2001, Fish Creek met the county phosphorus goal in only 7% and the county fecal coliform bacteria goal in 40% of the samples taken. These data indicate a nutrient load that is likely also contributing to high bacterial counts. The county ranks Fish Creek among the lower half of streams in the county on which to expend effort to reduce phosphorus and bacterial contamination. La Crosse County should continue baseflow water chemistry monitoring of Fish Creek to determine water quality trends over time.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Wisconsin has over 84,000 miles of streams, 15,000 lakes and milllions of acres of wetlands. Assessing the condition of this vast amount of water is challenging. The state's water monitoring program uses a media-based, cross-program approach to analyze water condition. An updated monitoring strategy (2015-2020) is now available.
Compliance with Clean Water Act fishable, swimmable standards are located in the Executive Summary of Water Condition in 2016 . See also 'monitoring' and 'projects'.
Wisconsin's Water Quality Standards provide qualitative and quantitative goals for waters that are protective of Fishable, Swimmable conditions [Learn more]. Waters that do not meet water quality standards are considered impaired and restoration actions are planned and carried out until the water is once again fishable and swimmable
Management goals can include creation and implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load Analysis, habitat restoration work, partnership education and outreach and more. If specific recommendations exist for this water, they will be displayed below.
Monitoring the condition of a river, stream, or lake includes gathering physical, chemical, biological, and habitat data. Comprehensive studies often gather all these parameters in great detail, while lighter assessment events will involve sampling physical, chemical and biological data such as macroinvertebrates. Aquatic macroinvertebrates and fish communities integrate watershed or catchment condition, providing great insight into overall ecosystem health. Chemical and habitat parameters tell researchers more about human induced problems including contaminated runoff, point source dischargers, or habitat issues that foster or limit the potential of aquatic communities to thrive in a given area. Wisconsin's Water Monitoring Strategy was recenty updated.
Grants and Management Projects
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|1654800||Fish Creek||10009042||Fish Creek #1- Bridge On Cty U||5/13/1980||1/1/2015||Map||Data|
|1654800||Fish Creek||10013945||Fish Creek Station 2 - Langrehr Rd. Bridge Crossing||Map||Data|
|1654800||Fish Creek||10009043||Fish Creek #2- Cty J Bridge||10/23/2001||10/23/2001||Map||Data|
|1654800||Fish Creek||10013944||Fish Creek Station 1 - Cth J Bridge Crossing In S1||8/21/2013||8/4/2015||Map||Data|
|1654800||Fish Creek||10013101||Fish Creek St. 1-05 Bridge On George Schroder Road||Map||Data|
|1654800||Fish Creek||323085||Fish Creek - Nw1/4 Of Sw1/4 Sec. 36||Map||Data|
|1654800||Fish Creek||10013946||Fish Creek Station 4 - Cth J Bridge Crossing In S12||Map||Data|
Fish Creek is located in the Little La Crosse River watershed which is 240.79 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (46%), forest (44%) and a mix of suburban (6%) and other uses (4%). This watershed has 445.88 stream miles, 114.59 lake acres and 5,439.88 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked for runoff impacts on lakes and Low for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Low. This value can be used in ranking the watershed or individual waterbodies for grant funding under state and county programs.However, all waters are affected by diffuse pollutant sources regardless of initial water quality. Applications for specific runoff projects under state or county grant programs may be pursued. For more information, go to surface water program grants.