Big Round Lake, Upper Apple River Watershed (SC06)
Big Round Lake, Upper Apple River Watershed (SC06)
Big Round Lake (2627400)
1013.72 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 Lowland
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.
This lake is impaired
Eutrophication, Excess Algal Growth
Total Phosphorus
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 Lowland
Shallow lowland 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.
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent sport fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
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.


The feasibility study for this lake (1980) documented a eutrophic body of water primarily influenced by in-lake recycling of sediment phosphorus. This lake district has been relatively inactive for several years but recently contacted us for help in combating recurring algae blooms and other eutrophic symptoms. This lake should rcceive high priority for a lakes planning grant to assess the priorities of the lake community and work toward a long range lake management plan. High priority should also be accorded to this lake for any funding to reasonably implement the recommendations of the 1980 study.

Date  1992

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Situated on the Straight River, its inlet and outlet (3 cfs) are navigable. Fish present include northern pike, walleyes, largemouth bass, bluegills. black crappies, perch, pumpkinseed and bullheads. Forty per cent of the shore line is privately developed with seven resorts and 36 cottages. There are also two boat liveries. Public frontage on the lake consists of 3,956 feet of federal Indian lands, a 200-foot and a 60-foot unimprovedplatted access. There are no improved access roads at present. One hundred eight acres of wooded wetlands adjoin the lake. Nesting waterfowl include mallards, bluewing teal, greenwing teal and ringneck ducks. Extensive use is made of the lake by migratory waterfowl. Ranging in importance from most to least use are coots, diving ducks (redheads and canvasbacks), puddle ducks, Canada geese and whistling swans.

Source: 1961, Surface Water Resources of Polk County Round Lake T35N, R16W, Sec. 13 Surface Acres = 1,031.0, S.D.F.=1.19, Maximum Depth = 15 ft., M. P. A. = 94

Date  1961

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Big Round Lake, Upper Apple River Watershed (SC06) Fish and Aquatic LifeBig Round Lake, Upper Apple River Watershed (SC06) RecreationBig Round Lake, Upper Apple River Watershed (SC06) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Big Round Lake was recently evaluated during the ten-year period of 2009 through 2018 for results that were reported to the USEPA for the 2020 Clean Water Act condition report. The waterbody is considered impaired, or in poor condition for designated uses which include the quality of fish and aquatic life, recreational use, and public health and welfare (fish consumption and related). Pollutants or problems encountered during sampling (impairments) are determined based on water quality standards outlined in Wisconsin 2020 Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (WisCALM). Assessment results show water conditions that are potentially harmful for Recreation and Aquatic Life uses due to values for total phosphorus and chlorophyll that fall into the range expected for an aquatic community in poor health, therefore this water is listed as impaired.

Assessment results during the 2020 listing cycle show excess algal growth and eutrophication as a result of total phosphorus levels. Chlorophyll and total phosphorus data were assessed during the 2020 listing cycle. Both were too high for a healthy waterbody for recreation and aquatic life. Based on the most updated information, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list in 2020.

Date  2019

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.



Watercraft Inspections Clean Boats, Clean Waters
Watercraft Inspections on Big Round Lake
Monitor Invasive Species
Install Kiosk or Sign
Monitor Paleocore
One core collected from Big Round Lake with a piston core. Diatom analysis was done.
Lakes Planning Grant
WRM should assist the Big Round Lake District in a Lakes Planning Grant application to pursue a long range lake management plan and help them to implement the recommenda tions of the 1980 study.

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

Big Round Lake is located in the Upper Apple River watershed which is 195.43 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (45.90%), agricultural (16.40%) and a mix of wetland (15.70%) and other uses (22.10%). This watershed has 138.62 stream miles, 7,663.43 lake acres and 16,247.07 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Medium for runoff impacts on streams, High 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.This water is ranked High Lake for individual Lakes based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.

Natural Community

Big Round Lake is considered a Shallow Lowland 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 lowland lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.