Catfish Lake (Eagle Chain), Eagle River Watershed (UW44)
Catfish Lake (Eagle Chain), Eagle River Watershed (UW44)
Catfish Lake (Eagle Chain) (1603700)
977.56 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.
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.
Supported Aquatic Life
Waters that support fish and aquatic life communities (healthy biological communities).
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.


, in the Eagle River Watershed, is a 977.54 acre lake that falls in Vilas County. This lake is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently not considered impaired.

Date  2011

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Source: 1963, Surface Water Resources of Vilas County Catfish Lake, T-40-N, R-10-E, Sections 25, 30, 31, 35, and 36,

Catfish Lake is a fertile drainage lake. It has slightly alkaline to neutral light brown water of low transparency. Bottom materials are, quite varied; however, sand does predominate. Both the inlet and the outlet are freely navigable, as the lake is part of the Eagle Chain. From the standpoint of fishing, muskellunge and walleyes are considered to be the principal game fish species besides pan fish; however, largemouth bass are also common in Catfish Lake. It is a lake of multiple use capacity and as a part of the Eagle Chain, powerboating and water-skiing are important activities on the lake. Public use opportunities are excellent as the lake not only has good public access, but there are 11 resorts and two boat rental places. There are 105 cottages scattered along the shore. The public access facility is maintained by the City of Eagle River.

Area = 991 Surface Acres, Maximum Depth = 26 feet

Date  1963

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Catfish Lake (Eagle Chain), Eagle River Watershed (UW44) Fish and Aquatic LifeCatfish Lake (Eagle Chain), Eagle River Watershed (UW44) RecreationCatfish Lake (Eagle Chain), Eagle River Watershed (UW44) 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.



Lake Management Plan Implementation
The Town of Washington is sponsoring a project on Anvil Lake, Vilas County. The project will focus on studying water quality and developing an Anvil Lake Management Plan (LMP). Project activities include: 1) Develop water and P budget; 2) Water quality evaluation and groundwater assessment; 3) WiLMS simulation modeling; 4) Stakeholder participation; 5) Collect sediment cores for historical and future lake water quality assessment; 6) Implementation of County sewage ordinance and association shoreline restoration project; 7) Develop annual reports, a scientific investigations report and LMP.

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

Catfish Lake is located in the Eagle River watershed which is 181.70 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (55.60%), wetland (28%) and a mix of open (12.90%) and other uses (3.50%). This watershed has 146.13 stream miles, 15,720.03 lake acres and 32,094.84 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Ranked 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.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

Catfish Lake (Eagle Chain) is considered a Shallow Lowland under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results and 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.