Mud Hen Lake, Wood River Watershed (SC11)
Mud Hen Lake, Wood River Watershed (SC11)
Mud Hen Lake (2649500)
569.32 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.
Deep Seepage
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.
Deep Seepage
Deep seepage lake describes the depth and hydrologic charactertistics of the lake. 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.
Aquatic Life
Waters that support fish and aquatic life communities (healthy biological communities).
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.


Mud Hen Lake, in the Wood River Watershed, is a 569.31 acre lake that falls in Burnett County. This lake is managed for fishing and swimming and is currently considered impaired.

Date  2011

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Mud Hen Lake is a 563 acre, hard water, drainage lake located at the headwaters of the North
Fork Wood River. The lake community formed a lake district around this lake in 1977. A
feasibility study was conducted and the results published in 1981. Mud Hen Lake was
documented as a mesotrophic body with good water quality and relatively few trophic problems
at present.

Management alternatives suggested for this lake concentrated on water quality protection
measures but also mentioned aeration, macrophyte harvesting and water level stabilization. This
lake should be ranked high for funding implementation measures that follow through on the
management recommendations set down in the 1981 report. The lake district should be
encouraged to continue the pursuit of a long range management plan to direct and prioritize
their future lake management efforts.

Date  1992

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Source: 1966, Surface Water Resources of Burnett County Mud Hen Lake, T38N, R17W, Sections 15, 16, 17, 21 Surface Acres = 572.7, Maximum Depth = 65 feet, M.P.A. 85 ppm, Secchi Disk 11 feet A hard water, seepage lake which is the headwaters of the North Fork Wood River. Its outlet flow is approximately 3.3 cubic feet per second. The fish population is composed of northern pike, largemouth bass, bluegill, perch, black crappie, pumpkinseed, bullhead, white sucker, bowfin and common shiner. The lakeshore is mostly upland hardwoods except for an area of tag alder, tamarack and spruce swamp in the northeast end and near the outlet. This swampy area provides habitat for nesting mallards, blue-winged teal, wood ducks and loons. Large numbers of migrant puddle ducks, diving ducks, coots and geese use the lake at times. The littoral zone has an abundant growth of bulrushes, spike rush, pickerelweed, pondweed species, water lilies and water shield. The east end of the lake has a large stand of bulrushes which extends almost one-third the length of the lake. There are five resorts, 44 cottages and dwellings and one church camp around the lake. Lindberg Park, a town park, at the southeast end of the lake, provides access and picnicking facilities. The park is the only public frontage and amounts to 0.02 miles.

Date  1966

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Mud Hen Lake, Wood River Watershed (SC11) Fish and Aquatic LifeMud Hen Lake, Wood River Watershed (SC11) RecreationMud Hen Lake, Wood River Watershed (SC11) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Mud Hen Lake (2649500) was placed on the impaired waters list in 1998 for mercury in fish tissue. This water was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus and chlorophyll sample data clearly met 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Fish and Aquatic Life use. Chlorophyll sample data clearly met 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use. This lake is considered impaired for Fish Consumption use and meeting REC and FAL uses.

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.



Monitor Fish Tissue

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

Mud Hen Lake is located in the Wood River watershed which is 220.24 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (50.60%), wetland (25.10%) and a mix of grassland (11.10%) and other uses (13.40%). This watershed has 197.60 stream miles, 5,461.36 lake acres and 34,321.60 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.This water is ranked High Lake for individual Lakes based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.

Natural Community

Mud Hen Lake is considered a Deep Seepage under the state's Natural Community Determinations.

Natural communities (stream and lake natural communities) represent model results and 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.

Deep seepage lake describes the depth and hydrologic charactertistics of the lake. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.

Maps of Watershed