Random Lake, North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed (MI05)
Random Lake, North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed (MI05)
Random Lake (30300)
211.74 Acres
Natural Community
Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results that use predicted flow and temperature based on landscape features and related assumptions. Ranges of flow and temperature associated with specific aquatic life communities (fish, macroinvertebrates) help biologists identify appropriate resource management goals. Wisconsin Natural Communities.
Shallow Headwater
Year Last Monitored
This is the most recent date of monitoring data stored in SWIMS. Additional surveys for fish and habitat may be available subsequent to this date.
Trout Water 
Trout Waters are represented by Class I, Class II or Class III waters. These classes have specific ecological characteristics and management actions associated with them. For more information regarding Trout Classifications, see the Fisheries Trout Class Webpages.
Outstanding or Exceptional 
Wisconsin has designated many of the state's highest quality waters as Outstanding Resource Waters (ORWs) or Exceptional Resource Waters (ERWs). Waters designated as ORW or ERW are surface waters which provide outstanding recreational opportunities, support valuable fisheries and wildlife habitat, have good water quality, and are not significantly impacted by human activities. ORW and ERW status identifies waters that the State of Wisconsin has determined warrant additional protection from the effects of pollution. These designations are intended to meet federal Clean Water Act obligations requiring Wisconsin to adopt an 'antidegradation' policy that is designed to prevent any lowering of water quality - especially in those waters having significant ecological or cultural value.
Impaired Water 
A water is polluted or 'impaired' if it does not support full use by humans, wildlife, fish and other aquatic life and it is shown that one or more of the pollutant criteria are not met.

Fish and Aquatic Life

Current Use
The use the water currently supports. This is not a designation or classification; it is based on the current condition of the water. Information in this column is not designed for, and should not be used for, regulatory purposes.
Shallow Headwater
Shallow headwater lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.
Attainable Use
The use that the investigator believes the water could achieve through managing "controllable" sources. Beaver dams, hydroelectric dams, low gradient streams, and naturally occurring low flows are generally not considered controllable. The attainable use may be the same as the current use or it may be higher.
Fish and Aquatic Life - waters that do not have a specific use designation subcategory assigned but which are considered fishable, swimmable waters.
Designated Use
This is the water classification legally recognized by NR102 and NR104, Wis. Adm. Code. The classification determines water quality criteria and effluent limits. Waters obtain designated uses through classification procedures.
Default FAL
Fish and Aquatic Life - Default Waters do not have a specific use designation subcategory but are considered fishable, swimmable waters.


Random Lake, in the North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed, is a 211.74 acre lake that falls in Sheboygan County. This lake is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently not considered impaired.

Date  2011

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Random Lake and the outlet of Spring Lake drain the Random Lake Subwatershed. Spring Lake is the only water
Spring Lake Subwatershed and is included in the discussion with Random Lake. Both are located in the
eastern portion of the watershed.

Water Resources. The Random Lake Subwatershed includes Random Lake and the outlet of Spring Lake. Random
Lake is a 209-acre drainage lake, with a maximum depth of 21 feet. The contributing watershed is predominanliiy
rural, except for the Village of Random Lake and a developing industrial park to the east of Random Lake. For the
most part, Random Lake is shallow, the deepest part occurring in the southern basin. The northern half of the lake is
shallow and aquatic vegetation is common.

Calculated phosphorus loading to the lake is greater than that calculated to be "acceptable" to control eutrophication.
Although 80% of the lake bottom has been colonized by aquatic vegetation, dense beds occur mostly in the northern
basin. Dissolved oxygen depletion occurs during the summer and winter stratification periods. Dissolved oxygen 1s less
than 2 mgL below 15 feet in both periods. Recreational boating on Random Lake stirs bottom sediment,
resuspending nutrients and contributing to cloudy water.

Because of the good water quality in Spring Lake, discharge from the Spring Lake outlet is not a concern to Wandog2

The Spring Lake Subwatershed contains Spring Lake and no perennial or intermittent tributaries. As the name
implies, this 57-acre lake is spring-fed, has a maximum depth of 20 feet and lies in glacial outwash and terminal
moraine. The shoreline is mostly undeveloped, consisting of wooded wetlands. Access to Spring Lake is available for d

No bacterial data are available, but full-body contact recreation occurs. Although there are only three year-round
residences, the potential exists with these soils for failing septic systems to contribute nutrients and fecal matter in the

The calculated phosphorus loading to Spring Lake is currently far less than that calculated to be "acceptable" or
"excessive." Dissolved oxygen is above 2 mg/L at all depths in the summer and winter. Overall, the summer
chlorophyll 2 in Spring Lake is low. Observed chlorophyll is, however, higher than that predicted bzed on the
calculated phosphorus loading. This could reflect some impact from septic systems. Spring Lake has a well-balanced
aquatic plant population with sparse distribution of macrophytes.

Fisheries. Random Lake currently supports a warm-water sport fishery dominated by hybrid muskellunge, largemouth
bass, northern pike and panfish. In addition, walleye have also been stocked and afford a limited fishery. Panfish
populations, particularly black crappie are stunted and may be a symptom of overharvest of predator species, a growing
problem on many area lakes. Residents have also raised concerns regarding carp populations, turbidity, excessive boat
traffic and suspected competition between stocked fish species. Overall, habitat quality is good and suggests that
over harvest of predator populations may be the most important factor limiting a balanced and sustainable sport fishery.
Spring Lake is also classified as a warm-water sport fishery and supports largemouth bass, northern pike and panfish.
However little more is known about the speicies composition or structure of the fish community. Fee access is
avalible on the west shore. Water and habitat quality are considered excellent.

Date  1990

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Source: 1968, Surface Water Resources of Sheboygan County

Random Lake T13N, R21E, Section 26, 35
Surface Acres = 213, S.D.F. = 1.94, Maximum Depth = 19 feet
The third largest lake in Sheboygan County; borders the Village of
Random Lake. Due to its large size and recreational value, the lake has
been providing multiple use for many years. Fishing, swimming, and
boating are the major assets. Partial winterkill, extreme abundance of
aquatic vegetation contributing to a stunted panfish population, periodic
"swimmer's itch", and algae blooms contribute to major use problems.
These problems have been reduced by chemical control. Some conflicting
use between water skiers, boaters and fishermen does exist- -local
ordinances could minimize this problem. Largemouth bass, northern pike,
walleye and panfish are the mainstay of the fishery. There is a good
winter fishery for northern pike. Several duck blinds along the lake
attest to the value extended to waterfowl use and hunting. Public access
with parking in conjunction with the village park is available (picnic
tables, bathhouse, swimming float and buoyed swimming area).

Date  1968

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Random Lake, North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed (MI05) Fish and Aquatic LifeRandom Lake, North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed (MI05) RecreationRandom Lake, North Branch Milwaukee River Watershed (MI05) Fish Consumption

General Condition

Random Lake (30300) was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus and chlorophyll sample data were clearly below 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use. This water is meeting these designated uses and is not considered impaired.

Date  2015

Author  Ashley Beranek


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 2018. See also the 'monitoring and projects' tab.


Management Goals

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 or implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load analysis, a Nine Key Element Plan, or other restoration work, education and outreach and more. If specific recommendations exist for this water, they will be displayed below online.


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

Monitoring Projects

Watershed Characteristics

Random Lake is located in the North Branch Milwaukee River watershed which is 149.67 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (45.40%), grassland (20.30%) and a mix of wetland (15.50%) and other uses (18.80%). This watershed has 159.81 stream miles, 886.38 lake acres and 13,793.69 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, High for runoff impacts on lakes and High for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of High. 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.

Natural Community

Random Lake is considered a Shallow Headwater under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model resultsand DNR staff valiation processes that confirm or update predicted conditions based on flow and temperature modeling from historic and current landscape features and related variables. Predicated flow and temperatures for waters are associated predicated fish assemblages (communities). Biologists evaluate the model results against current survey data to determine if the modeled results are corect and whether biological indicators show water quaity degradation. This analysis is a core component of the state's resource management framework. Wisconsin's Riverine Natural Communities.

Shallow headwater lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.