Bass Lake, Little Peshtigo River Watershed (GB08)
Bass Lake, Little Peshtigo River Watershed (GB08)
Bass Lake (521400)
40.34 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 Headwater
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 Headwater
Deep headwater 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.
Streams capable of supporting a warm waterdependent sport fishery. Representative aquatic life communities associated with these waters generally require cool or warm temperatures and concentrations of dissolved oxygen that do not drop below 5 mg/L.
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.


Bass lake, located in southwest Marinette County, is a 37.4 acre hard water drainage lake with a maximum depth of 62 feet and an average depth of
23 ft. Bass lake is dimictic and exhibits very strong thermal stratification due to its small surface area relative to mean depth (stratification factor = 42.7).
The Bass lake shoreline is dominated by low-lying cedar swamp with limited upland areas. Development is limited to four private dwellings, giving the lake a strong wilderness character.

Bass Lake receives drainage from a 3.4 acre unnamed spring lake, a spring-fed farm pond and several spring seeps located north of the lake. Surface runoff from approximately 451 acres of land drains to the lake. Approximately 83% of the watershed is cropland. Prior to 1999 there were two dairy farms located north of the lake that owned or operated all of the cropland in the Bass Lake watershed.

Bass Lake has a long history of water quality problems caused primarily by animal waste runoff from unconfined manure stacks and feedlots. In the mid 1960s, the lake supported a diverse sport fishery and was popular with local anglers. The fish population included largemouth bass, northern pike, and panfish. The WDNR also stocked trout in Bass Lake for several years. However, trout stocking was suspended in 1975 after hypolimnetic oxygen concentrations declined and the lake could no longer support a coldwater fishery. Subsequent winter fish kills decimated the lake's warm water fishery as well. Between 1977 and 1991 the average dissolved oxygen concentration measured one meter below the ice in February was 2.24 mg/l with frequent periods of nearly complete anoxia. During the summer months massive algae blooms that reduced visibility and repressed aquatic macrophyte growth plagued Bass Lake. [Druckery, 2008]

Date  2008

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Source: 1975, Surface Water Resources of Marinette County Bass Lake, T31N, R20E, Section 30, Surface Acres-36.2, Secchi Disk-9 feet, Maximum Depth-50 feet.

A hard water drainage lake having slightly alkaline, light brown water of moderate transparency. The littoral zone is 70 percent muck and 30 percent sand. The shoreline is 95 percent coniferous wetland (cedar) and 5 percent cleared upland. The fish population consists of largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, green sunfish, perch, brook trout, rainbow trout and white sucker. Fifty percent of the lake is in excess of 20 feet in depth. Waterfowl make limited use of this lake. The Town of Beaver provides public access with parking. No dwellings are located on the shoreline. The outlet flows to Beaver Creek.

Date  1975

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin


Water Quality Planning
Marinette County proposes to treat Bass Lake with alum to reduce the effects of sediment phosphorus in the lake. Project activities include treating all waters of Bass Lake in excess of 3 feet deep and conducting pre and post treatment water quality monitoring
Nine Key Element Plan
Bass Lake PWS Plan - Nine Key Element Plan - Bass Lake in Marinette County - Bass Lake, a small lake in southwestern Marinette County, has experiences substantial degradation over the last 10 to 20 years. During December 1984, articles appearing in the Wisconsin State Journal and the Milwaukee Journal referred to Bass Lake as a lake that has died. In essence, this plan describes the game plan necessary to resurrect Bass Lake.

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

Bass Lake is located in the Little Peshtigo River watershed which is 158.43 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (34.20%), wetland (26.90%) and a mix of forest (22.80%) and other uses (16.00%). This watershed has 206.41 stream miles, 2,168.89 lake acres and 24,619.22 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Medium 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.

Natural Community

Bass Lake is considered a Deep Headwater 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 headwater lake describes the depth and location of the lake in a watershed. These variables affect the lakes response to watershed variables.