Fish and Aquatic Life
Big Fork Lake, T39N, R11E, Section 27
A soft water drainage lake having slightly acid, light brown water of low transparency. Sand is the chief littoral material (70 percent) with gravel (15 percent) and some muck and rock present. The shoreline is predominantly upland (90 percent) with a coniferous bog wetland adjoining a portion of the lake basin. Muskellunge, northern pike, walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, perch, bluegill, crappie, rock bass, pumpkinseed, bullhead and sucker inhabit this lake. Public access is either of the wilderness type or by navigable water. Two resorts and 77dwellings are located on the lakeshore. Part of the Three Lakes Chain, the water levels are influenced by a dam on the Eagle River below Long Lake.
Surface Acres = 623.8, S.D.F. = 1.54, Maximum Depth = 22 feet
Author Aquatic Biologist
Big Fork Lake (1610700) was placed on the impaired waters list for Mercury in 1998 and total phosphorus in 2014. The 2016 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; total phosphorus sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use, however chlorophyll data do not exceed REC or FAL thresholds. Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.
Author Aaron Larson
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.
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
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|1610600||Little Fork Lake||10004579||Little Fork Lake||7/27/1999||9/30/2017||Map||Data|
|1610700||Big Fork Lake||10015042||Big Fork Lake/Fourmile Lake - Treaty Chain||Map||Data|
|1610700||Big Fork Lake||10018637||Big Fork Lake -- Access at NE Side Lake Fourmile Creek Rd||5/27/2005||8/17/2021||Map||Data|
|1599500||Eagle River||10004579||Little Fork Lake||7/27/1999||9/30/2017||Map||Data|
|1610700||Big Fork Lake||443007||Big Fork Lake - Deep Hole||6/6/1986||11/8/2021||Map||Data|
|1610700||Big Fork Lake||10004272||Big Fork Lake||7/27/1999||9/30/2017||Map||Data|
Big Fork Lake is located in the Eagle River watershed which is 181.70 mi². 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.