Wapogasset Lake, Balsam Branch Watershed (SC05)
Wapogasset Lake, Balsam Branch Watershed (SC05)
Wapogasset Lake (2618000)
1188.84 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.
This lake is impaired
Excess Algal Growth, Eutrophication
Total Phosphorus
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.
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.


Wapogasset Lake T33N, R17W, Sec. 14, 23, 24, 25, 26 Surface Acres = 1,198.0, S.D.F.= 2.30, Maximum Depth = 33 ft., M.P.A. Situated on Balsam Branch, a navigable stream (50. cfs), it also has two other navigable inlets, one a channel to Beartrap Lake and the other, the outlet of Friday Creek. Fish species present include northern pike, walleyes, large mouth bass, bluegills, pumpkinseed, perch, crappies and bullheads. Public frontage on the lake includes a .6-acre town park with camping facilities, an access road with parking, and 106 feet of frontage, other public frontage includes two access roads with parking area (2.4 and 30.6 feet wide) and six unimproved platted access roadways with a total frontage of 253 feet. There are four resorts, one Bible Camp, two boat liveries and 204 cottages on the lake at present. One hundred eight acres of marsh wetlands adjoin the lake where mallards, bluewing teal, wood ducks and lesser scaup nest. Extensive use by migratory waterfowl, is made of the lake mainly coots and diving ducks (ringnecks and canvasbacks included), some puddle ducks and occasionally Canada geese and whistling swans. The lake level is partially maintained by a three-foot head dam. Pleasure boating is also extensive, and may soon reach problem proportions.


Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

These connected lakes have a strong Lake Association and an active Sanitary District.
Presently, the association is half way through with a comprehensive lake and incoming stream
water quality assessment study. This project is being funded under the lakes Planning Grants
Depending on the results of the "feasibility study", Wapogasset and Beartrap Lakes should
receive high priority for Implementation Grants funding or possibly NPS Priority Lakes or Small
Scale Watershed projects dependent on the study results.

Date  1992

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Wapogasset Lake, Balsam Branch Watershed (SC05) Fish and Aquatic LifeWapogasset Lake, Balsam Branch Watershed (SC05) RecreationWapogasset Lake, Balsam Branch Watershed (SC05) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Wapogasset Lake (WBIC 2618000) was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus/excess algal growth in 2012. The 2018 assessments showed continued excess algal growth; new chlorophyll-a sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use. Based on the most updated information, the impairment of Eutrophication was added to this listing.

Date  2017

Author  Ashley Beranek

Impaired Waters

Wapogasset Lake (2618000) was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus/excess algal growth in 2012. The 2016 assessments showed continued excess algal growth; chlorophyll sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use, however, total phosphorus did not exceed REC thresholds. Total phosphorus and chlorophyll data were clearly below Fish and Aquatic Life listing thresholds. Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.

Date  2015

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.



Lake Management Plan Development
The Lake Wapogasset & Bear Trap Lake Sanitary District is proposing to conduct an aluminum sulfate (alum) application to the waters of Wapogasset Lake in Polk County. This lake management procedure has been recommended in a previous Lake Management Planning Grant project report as a method to decrease the level of late summer phosphorus concentrations in the lake due to the in-lake recycling of nutrients from the bottom sediments.

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

Wapogasset Lake is located in the Balsam Branch watershed which is 104.07 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (31.60%), agricultural (28.40%) and a mix of grassland (18.70%) and other uses (21.30%). This watershed has 63.62 stream miles, 6,301.67 lake acres and 5,248.51 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, High 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.This water is ranked High Lake for individual Lakes based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.

Natural Community

Wapogasset Lake is considered a Shallow Lowland 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.

Shallow lowland lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.