Fish and Aquatic Life
The Arrowhead River is a turbid, hard water stream tributary to Lake Winneconne. Silt is the major bottom material with a few areas covered by detritus. In-stream cover is provided by logs, trees, and aquatic vegetation. Adjacent land uses are primarily agricultural; however, some grassland and woodland areas are present. The lower portion of the stream is, in reality, a bayou off Lake Winneconne which contains a fishery similar to that of the lake. The upper portion has been ditched to a large extent and contains a forage fish population.
The Winnebago Comprehensive Management Plan identified an 8.2 mile strip along the Arrowhead River as high priority for runoff pollution abatement. The data search for the Wolf River Basin indicated problems are widespread within this watershed. Major issues in this watershed include excessive vegetation, dissolved oxygen standard violations, and critical levels of soil loss. The watershed contributes an estimated 0.5 pounds of phosphorus per acre per year to the Lake Winnebago pool lakes (2001).
Author Aquatic Biologist
Arrowhead River, T19N, R15E, Section 3 (11), Area = 30.5 acres, Length = 6.0 miles, Gradient = 11.5 feet/mile.
The Arrowhead River is a turbid, hard water stream tributary to Lake Winneconne.
Silt, covered i n a few areas by detritus, is the major bottom material. In-stream cover is provided by
undercut banks, logs, trees,and aquatic vegetation. Streambanks are largely cultivated,
however, some meadow and upland hardwood areas are also present. The upper portion has been
ditched to a large extent and contains a forage fish population. Muskrats and waterfowl are
common along the stream. Broods of mallard, wood duck, and blue-winged teal were
sighted during the field survey. Some fish and wildlife habitat has been destroyed
through dredging and marsh filling. A large system of intermittent streams and ditches drain to the
Arrowhead River. Public access is provided by two county highways and two town roads.
From: 1975. Surface Water Resources of Winnebago County: Lake and Stream Classification Project,
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
The Arrowhead River is 9 mile tributary to the east shore of Lake Winneconne. The stream has critical soil erosion problems, with an erosion rate in excess of 3 T/A/YR. Three barnyard/feedlot operations ranked high, and two ranked medium for their NPS pollution hazard. The NPS pollution is a major cause of excess vegetation in this stream and contributes nutrients to Lake Winneconne.
The Arrowhead is a low gradient river that has been ditched extensively in the past. Very little grazing occurs on the Arrowhead River, but in many cases the soil is tilled up to the edge of the banks which makes it easy for eroded soil to enter the river. This stream experiences from critical soil erosion with a rate in excess of 3 T/A/YR (tonlacrelyear). Tolerable soil erosion levels, which allow for the maintenance of long tern soil productivity, have been determined for all the state's soils and are referred to as soil "T" values. All county erosion inventories use the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) to determine cropland soil erosion rates (WDATCP, 1990).
From: Bougie, Cheryl A., Kosmond, Lisa D, and Watermolen, Dreux J. 1996. Wolf River Basin Water Quality Management Plan. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, WI.
Author Cheryl Bougie
The 2018 assessments of the Arrowhead River showed impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use and biological impairment was observed. New macroinvertebrate and fish sample data were assessed; at least one fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the poor condition category. Based on the most updated information, this water was proposed for the impaired waters list.
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.
T20N R16E S2; Arrowhead River, trib;
20N 16E S21; Arrowhead River, trib;
20N 16E S35; Arrowhead River; extension of previous determin
The Arrowhead River and 3 of its tributaries were classified in this study according to the State of Wisconsin Guidelines for Designating Fish & Aquatic Life Uses for Wisconsin Surface Waters (DNR, 2004). The Stream Classification breaks are illustrated in Figure 1 and listed in Table 2. The Arrowhead River mainstem was originally classified in 1976 (Weisensel and Hildreth, 1976) as: 1) continuous, fish and aquatic life (CFAL) from the mouth upstream 0.7 miles to HWY M; 2) continuous intermediate aquatic life (CIAL) from HWY M to ½ mile above HWY 110 (now identified as HWY 45), a distance of 3.4 miles from the mouth; and 3) non-continuous marginal (NCM) from there to the Village of Larsen (a distance of 7 miles from the mouth). Data analyzed for this study resulted in a reclassification of the CIAL section to DFAL-GF (comparable to CFAL). Also reclassified was the NCM section (to the confluence with the RT) as DFAL-NG. From that point upstream the Arrowhead River is reclassified as tolerant fish and aquatic life (TFAL). The original classification from the mouth to HWY M as CFAL (now DFAL-GF) is substantiated. Therefore, the Arrowhead River is reclassified as DFAL-GF from the mouth to ½ mile above HWY 45. The data from the Fish Distribution Study were definitive in the classifications (see Table 3 for a list of fish species from this study). The Fish Distribution Study was conducted on July 31, 1979 during a time of the year the fish could be considered summer resident. Due to the large number of gamefish, in particular northern pike, one can conclude the two lower sites, FD2 and FD3 as being located in DFAL-GF stretches of River. Habitat appeared to be very poor due to very extensive dredging and straightening throughout the most of the River, and Tributary, stretches from HWY 45 upstream. From the significant quality of the lower half of the Ridgeway Country Club Trib. it was clear that the Arrowhead River Mainstem should be classified DFAL-NG/Seasonal DFAL-GF to that point. Table 4 contains the Fish Shocking Survey done by DNR-Research (see Fish Habitat Database) at site FD2a on July 7, 2005. Except for 2 two-year old bluegill the fish caught could be considered descriptive of a nongame community. This aided in the classification of ½ mile above HWY 45 to the confluence with the RT to be DFAL-NG.
Author Michael Reif
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|
This water was assessed during the 2018 listing cycle; new total phosphorus sample data exceed 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use and biological impairment was observed. New macroinvertebrate and fish sample data were assessed; at least one fish Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) scored in the poor condition category. Chloride sample data were assessed, but did not exceed 2018 WisCALM listing criteria for the Fish and Aquatic Life use.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Arrowhead River is located in the Arrowhead River and Daggets Creek watershed which is 142.91 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (45.40%), wetland (22.50%) and a mix of grassland (15.80%) and other uses (16.40%). This watershed has 246.26 stream miles, 4,646.49 lake acres and 18,649.27 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Not Ranked for runoff impacts on lakes and High for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of High. 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.
Arrowhead River is considered a Cool-Cold Headwater, Macroinvertebrate, Cool-Warm Headwater 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.
Cool (Warm-Transition) Headwaters are small, sometimes intermittent streams with cool to warm summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are uncommon to absent, transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are common to uncommon. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.
Cool (Cold-Transition) Headwaters are small, usually perennial streams with cold to cool summer temperatures. Coldwater fishes are common to uncommon (<10 per 100 m), transitional fishes are abundant to common, and warm water fishes are uncommon to absent. Headwater species are abundant to common, mainstem species are common to absent, and river species are absent.