Rib Lake, Upper Rib River Watershed (CW26)
Rib Lake, Upper Rib River Watershed (CW26)
Rib Lake (1469100)
301.10 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.
Suspected Poor
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.
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.


Rib Lake is a hard water, drainage lake located at the headwaters of the Rib River in the Village of Rib Lake. There is a four-foot head roller dam on the outlet, that maintains the water at a stable level. There are many management problems connected with this lake. Summerkills, as well as, winterkills are common. Algae blooms occur in the summer. There is an excessive amount of aquatic vegetation growth that is being artificially controlled to some degree by the use of a mechanical weed harvester. Organic pollution from shoreline developments has tended to make the algae and weed growth a greater problem than it would otherwise be. As a result of summerkills and winterkills, the most hardy fish have survived, and the lake is now overpopulated with bullheads. Other fish present are muskellunge, northern pike, walleye, largemouth bass, perch, bluegills, black crappies, rock bass pumpkinseeds, and white suckers. The shoreline vegetation is approximately 80 per- cent upland hardwood and 15 percent black spruce. The littoral bottom is approximately 50 percent muck, 30 percent sand, and 20 percent gravel. There is a wide variety of aquatic plants present. Muskrat use is significant, but beaver are absent. Mallards, blue- winged teal, wood ducks, and hooded mergansers use the lakeshore for nesting. Migratory waterfowl use is heavy, with large numbers of puddle and diving ducks using the lake during their migrations. Public access with parking is available. A park is located a few hundred feet off the northeast corner of the lake. There are picnic facilities and a boat launching site. There is one resort and six dwellings located along the shoreline with approximately 25 more dwellings and a cemetery set back from the lake shore.

Source: 1970, Surface Water Resources of Taylor County Rib Lake, T33N, R2E, Section 26 Surface Acres = 320.0, Maximum Depth = 9 feet, M.P.A. = 65 PPM

Date  1970

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Rib Lake, Upper Rib River Watershed (CW26) Fish and Aquatic LifeRib Lake, Upper Rib River Watershed (CW26) RecreationRib Lake, Upper Rib River Watershed (CW26) Fish Consumption


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.



Diagnostic/Feasibility Assessment
Rib Lake Inland Lake Protection District proposes to conduct a diagnostic/feasibility study of lake bottom sediments as a preliminary step to a possible sunken log retrieval and/or dredging project in Rib Lake.
Monitor Water Quality or Sediment
Multiple sediment cores will be collected along several transects and visually examined to determine the distribution, depth and thickness of the contaminated layer. Representative cores will be saved for analysis. A three site composite of the contaminated layer will be developed for high, medium, and low areas of visually evident contamination. An additional composited sample will be developed for the overlying sediment layer from locations where it is less than 6 inches deep. A total of 4 samples will be analyzed.

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

Rib Lake is located in the Upper Rib River watershed which is 197.07 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (51.60%), wetland (26.90%) and a mix of agricultural (13.60%) and other uses (7.90%). This watershed has stream miles, lake acres and 17,127.41 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Low for runoff impacts on streams, Low 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.

Natural Community

Rib 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.

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