Lake Noquebay, Middle Inlet and Lake Noquebay Watershed (GB09)
Lake Noquebay, Middle Inlet and Lake Noquebay Watershed (GB09)
Noquebay Lake (525900)
2397.89 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 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.
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 Lowland
Deep 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.


Lake Noquebay is a 2,406-acre drainage lake located in Marinette County, Wisconsin. Its 86,000 acre watershed encompasses a major portion of the 99,567 acres in the Middle Inlet and Lake Noquebay Watershed. There has been a significant amount of water quality data accumulated and studied over the past 30 years to help direct management decisions in the Lake Noquebay Watershed and water body. During the process of developing a Comprehensive Lake Management Plan/Aquatic Plant Management Plan which was completed in October 2009 by the Marinette County LWCD for the Lake District, the long-term trend in water quality was examined. The water quality is generally good.

The trophic state index (TSI) trends for the past 30 years used to determine a lake’s nutrient enrichment status showed an improvement in water clarity and chlorophyll a (an indication of algae growth in the water) through the years. However, the total phosphorus trend in the lake has been slightly upward which needs to be investigated to determine the reason. This phosphorus trend is occurring despite a successful Lake Noquebay Priority Watershed Project completed in 2006. The 2009 Comprehensive Plan recommends maintaining summer total phosphorus concentrations in Lake Noquebay below 25 ug/l to prevent potential deterioration in the current water quality and lake ecosystem.

The major tributaries contributing nutrients to Lake Noquebay are the Smith Creek, Lower Middle Inlet, Upper Middle Inlet and Middle Inlet streams and their sub-watersheds. These waterbodies are all cold water trout streams located in the northern and western areas of the watershed.

Date  2011

Author  Gregory Sevener

Historical Description

Lake Noquebay is a hard water drainage lake having slightly alkaline, light brown water of moderate transparency. The littoral zone is 70 percent sand, 25 percent muck and 5 percent gravel. The lake has three inlets, Middle Inlet, Upper Inlet and Lower Middle Inlet. The outlet flows to the Peshtigo River. The fish population consists of walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, perch, bluegill, black crappie, rock bass, pumpkinseed, bullhead, brook trout, brown trout, white sucker, longnose gar, bowfin and several species of minnows. Waterfowl make moderate use of this lake during their spring and fall migrations. A state wildlife marsh on Upper Inlet provides a nesting area for puddle ducks. The lake had a persistent problem with macrophytic vegetation in recent years, principally due to several species of water millfoil. Water level drawdowns in winter have been used as a method to control the vegetation as well as to reduce ice drainage to shore areas. However, these attempts have only met with partial success. Other aspects of the problem must also be dealt with, such as increasing development of the lake shoreline and consequent increase in nutrient input. A public park and boat landing with parking provide for public access. One public campground, twelve resorts and 268 dwellings are located on the shoreline. The dam, maintained by the Lake Noquebay Improvement Association, has a head of 2 feet.

Source: 1975, Surface Water Resources of Marinette County Noquebay Lake, T32N, R21E, Section 8 Surface Acres-2,162.0, Secchi Disk-6 feet, Maximum Depth-54 feet.

Date  1975

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Lake Noquebay, Middle Inlet and Lake Noquebay Watershed (GB09) Fish and Aquatic LifeLake Noquebay, Middle Inlet and Lake Noquebay Watershed (GB09) RecreationLake Noquebay, Middle Inlet and Lake Noquebay Watershed (GB09) Fish Consumption


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 Implementation
(1) Continue to conduct water quality sampling and analyses in 1996, 1998, and 2000 to determine any trends in Lake Noquebay. (2) Conduct an aquatic macrophyte survey; prepare a report and map. (3) Produce an educational video covering aquatic macrophyte communities, the harvesting program, lake front property management, and watershed management. (4) Prepare a final report addressing the results of the above tasks. (5) Disseminate information on the project results to the public by public meeting, newsletter, video program, local newspaper article, and poster display.
Nine Key Element Plan
Lake Noquebay PWS Plan - Nine Key Element Plan - The primary objectives of this project are to reduce nonpoint source pollution loads to Lake Noquebay and the surrounding lakes and streams to enhance and protect water quality Agricultural sources of nonpoint pollution include eroding agricultural lands and stream banks, field application of manure, fertilizers and pesticides and runoff from livestock wastes. Urban sources of pollution include storm sewers, roads and road ditches and riparian development.
Monitor Invasive Species
Control or strive to contain AIS infestations in water bodies that have been determined to be detrimental according to NR40. Identify the populations, establish a target level, and reduce them to that level if feasible.

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

Lake Noquebay is located in the Middle Inlet and Lake Noquebay watershed which is 155.58 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily forest (45%), wetland (34.60%) and a mix of agricultural (8.80%) and other uses (11.50%). This watershed has 145.85 stream miles, 3,254.49 lake acres and 28,278.00 wetland acres.

Nonpoint Source Characteristics

This watershed is ranked Not Ranked for runoff impacts on streams, High for runoff impacts on lakes and Medium for runoff impacts on groundwater and therefore has an overall rank of Medium. 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

Noquebay Lake is considered a Deep 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.

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