Fish and Aquatic Life
Stearns Lake, in the Bear River Watershed, is a 232.48 acre lake that falls in Vilas County. This lake is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently not considered impaired.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Source: 1963, Surface Water Resources of Vilas County Stearns Lake, T-41-N, R-6-E, Section 31,
Stearns Lake is an infertile seepage lake, having slightly alkaline, light brown water of moderate transparency. Bottom material consists of sand, gravel and muck. The principal fish species present are the muskellunge, northern pike, walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and pan fish. A town road without parking facilities is the only means of public access. Public use facilities consist of one resort.
Area = 217 Surface Acres, Maximum Depth = 16 feet
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
Stearns Lake (2323600) 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.
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.
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|
|2323600||Stearns Lake||643458||Stearns Lake - Deep Hole||9/8/1995||8/22/2022||Map||Data|
|2323600||Stearns Lake||10033969||Stearns Lake - Access off Stearns Lake Rd||6/22/2011||6/17/2021||Map||Data|
|2323600||Stearns Lake||10006036||Stearns Lake||5/26/1994||9/21/2017||Map||Data|
Stearns Lake is located in the Bear River watershed which is 145.45 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (48.20%), wetland (32.30%) and a mix of open (17.90%) and other uses (1.70%). This watershed has 109.53 stream miles, 16,823.52 lake acres and 30,671.84 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked Not Ranked for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked 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.