Little Elkhart Lake, Sheboygan River Watershed (SH03)
Little Elkhart Lake, Sheboygan River Watershed (SH03)
Little Elkhart Lake (46000)
51.94 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.


T16N R21E Sec. 34, Sheboygan County, Sheboygan River Watershed
Surface Acres = 54, S.D.F. = 2.27, Maximum Depth = 25 feet

Little Elkhart Lake is a 54-acre seepage lake, with an irregular shape, bordering an end moraine. In 1986, a water control device was permitted to deal with severe high water conditions. A pipe was inserted about 25 feet underground to create an overflow outlet, which drains to the headwaters of Otter Creek. The lake underwent two complete chemical treatments, in 1961 and 1981, to eradicate an unbalanced fish population. The lake was stocked with northern pike, largemouth bass, walleye, perch, and golden shiners following the 1961 treatment. Largemouth bass and bluegill were restocked after the 1981 treatment. Currently, the fishery is composed of moderate to undersized largemouth bass, bluegills, perch and crappies. The YMCA of Racine, Wisconsin, which operates a camp on the lake, owns more than half of the shoreline. One public access site, with parking, toilets and a picnic area, is available. Hunting is allowed in the area with permission.

Major problems with the lake are the ever-present possibility of winterkill and an abundant aquatic plant community. In 1990, the DNR conducted a Sensitive Area Survey of the lake and identified areas of aquatic vegetation that provide unique fish and wildlife habitat and or had benefits to the water quality. As a result of the survey there are limitations on the use of aquatic herbicides and algaecides. The Little Elkhart lake Sanitary District has recently constructed sewers around the lake, with treatment provided by the Plymouth wastewater treatment plant.

Date  2001

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Source: 1968, Surface Water Resources of Sheboygan County

Little Elkhart Lake T16N, R21E, Section 34
Surface Acres = 47.6, S.D.F. = 2.27, Maximum Depth = 21 feet
A fair-sized, seepage lake with an irregular shape bordering the end
moraine. After complete chemical treatment for elimination of an
unbalanced fish population in August 1961, the lake was stocked with
northern pike, largemouth bass, walleye, perch, and golden shiners.
Rehabilitation of this lake has resulted in an excellent game fishery.
Major problems with the lake are wide fluctuations in the water level and
the ever present possibility of winterkill. A township ordinance limits
outboard motor size to 7-1/2 horsepower, which serves to protect natural
habitat. Over half of the shoreline is owned by the Y.M.C.A. of Racine,
Wisconsin, who operate a Boys' Camp on the lake. Two public access sites
with parking and a picnic area, a boat livery, and one resort are
available. Hunting is allowed in the area by permission.

Date  1968

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin


Lakes Planning Grant
Aquatic Plant Management Plan
Informational Meetings

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

Little Elkhart Lake is located in the Sheboygan River watershed which is 260.12 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (47.30%), grassland (17.60%) and a mix of wetland (16.70%) and other uses (18.30%). This watershed has 340.24 stream miles, 4,345.33 lake acres and 27,968.05 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Available for runoff impacts on streams, Not Available 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.

Natural Community

Little Elkhart Lake is considered a Deep Seepage 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.

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