Deer Lake, Weirgor Creek and Brunet River Watershed (UC19)
Deer Lake, Weirgor Creek and Brunet River Watershed (UC19)
Deer Lake (2374600)
423 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.
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.
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.


Deer Lake, in the Weirgor Creek and Brunet River Watershed, is a 419.60 acre lake that falls in Sawyer County. This lake is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently not considered impaired.

Date  2011

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Source: 1969, Surface Water Resources of Sawyer County Deer Lake, T37N, R8W, Section 8

A soft water drainage lake with an outlet water control structure 8 feet in height. The normal estimated flow over this concrete spillway is 4.8 cfs. Its inlet on the north end is a brook trout stream, and its outlet, also known as Deer Creek, flows immediately into Rusk County and then into the Big Weirgor Creek. Below Deer Lake, Deer Creek is a forage minnow stream to the county line. The dam was constructed in 1959 by Sawyer County. Extensive areas of bog are covered with water. Some parts of the bog broke loose and floated freely as the lake was doubled in size. Winter freezeout conditions occurred occasionally in the years preceding the dam construction. After the dam was built, winter fish kills occurred almost annually. Restocking of northern pike, largemouth bass, and bluegills has been done, but is appears that the best surviving species were bullheads and golden shiners. Several other small feeder streams enter the lake from the north and east and an artesian well is located on the west side of the lake. When the winter ice cover thickens on the lake and water temperatures drop, fish are attracted into spring flows on the northeast side of the lake. Congregations of fish in these areas create low dissolved oxygen conditions and severe mortalities of fish occur. Waterfowl nesting here include mallards, blue-winged teal, wood ducks, and loon. About one-third of the present lakeshore is bog and is not conductive to large numbers of furbearers. Private development amounts to seven cottages, a boys camp, and a boat rental. There is a town road on the east shore and of the 10.02 miles of lake frontage 3.14 miles are in Sawyer County ownership partly as forest cropland.

Surface Acres = 423.2, Maximum Depth = 18 feet, M.P.A. = 37 ppm, Secchi disk = 4 feet

Date  1969

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Deer Lake, Weirgor Creek and Brunet River Watershed (UC19) Fish and Aquatic LifeDeer Lake, Weirgor Creek and Brunet River Watershed (UC19) RecreationDeer Lake, Weirgor Creek and Brunet River Watershed (UC19) 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.



Land Acquisition
The West Wisconsin Land Trust proposes to purchase an easement on approximately 75 acres of the Stockman property on Deer Lake in Sawyer County. The easement protects 4,600 feet of lake frontage and eliminates any option of development on the protected property.
The West Wisconsin Land Trust proposes to purchase an easement on 78.6 acres of the Tom McMillin property on Deer Lake in Sawyer County. The easement protects 2,640 feet of lake frontage and eliminates any option of development on the protected property.

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

Deer Lake is located in the Weirgor Creek and Brunet River watershed which is 324.00 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (64.80%), wetland (24.80%) and a mix of agricultural (4.10%) and other uses (6.40%). This watershed has 407.41 stream miles, 2,240.99 lake acres and 39,377.08 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Low 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.

Natural Community

Deer Lake is considered a Reservoir 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.

More Interactive Maps
Maps of Watershed