Fish and Aquatic Life
Big Muskego Lake is a large shallow remnant basin occupying part of an old glacial lake bed. A conspicuous band of beach sand and gravel occupies the original east shore some distance from the present open water. Nearly 1,000 acres of the basin are presently classed as deep marsh in wetlands inventories. Originally the lake drained to the Root River, thence to Lake Michigan; construction of a canal to Wind Lake, Racine County, altered the drainage. The lake presently drains to the Fox (Illinois) River and the Mississippi River system. A head of about three feet is maintained by a dam on the outlet canal. The fishery is composed of pan fish, northern pike, walleye, and largemouth bass. Winterkill, weeds, and carp have all at times been cited as use problems. Rough fish removal operations were undertaken here as recently as 1958. Public access at present is questionable. This was formerly considered one of the best duck hunting lakes in southeastern Wisconsin In 1942, the Game Management Division suggested additional head on the dam, weed treatment, continued carp removal, and closed season on muskrats as methods of creating better waterfowl habitat.
Source: 1963, Surface Water Resources of Waukesha County Big Muskego Lake T5N, R20E, Sections 13, 14, 22, 23, 26, and 27 Surface Acres = 2,260, S.D.F. = 2.66, Maximum Depth = 26 feet (in Bass Bay).
Author Aquatic Biologist
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.
The Big Muskego/Bass Bay Protection and Rehabilitation District conduced an extensive water quality and aquatic plant diagnostic feasibility examination of the drawdown and fish eradication at Big Muskego Lake. Project activities include determining rates of nitrogen and phosphorous release from sediments, analyzing sediment cores to determine moisture content, density, organic matter, total sediment nitrogen and phosphorous, porewater nitrogen and phosphorous, extractable phosphorous, and exchangeable sediment nitrogen, and evaluating changes in the distribution, abundance, and species composistion of aquatic macrophytes from aerial photography and field survey work before and after drawdown.
Nine Key Element Plan
Muskego-Wind Lakes PWS Plan - Nine Key Element Plan - The Muskego-Wind Lakes Priority Watershed Project plan assesses the nonpoint sources of pollution in the Muskego-Wind Lakes Watershed and guides the implementation of nonpoint source control measures. These control measures are needed to meet specific water resource objectives for the Muskego-Wind Lakes Priority Watershed Project area. The purpose of this project is to reduce the amount of pollutants originating from nonpoint sources that reach surface water and groundwater within the Muskego-Wind Lakes Priority Watershed Project area.
Monitor Aquatic Biology
This lake is undergoing intensive management following the principles of biomanipulation to improve water quality not only within the lake, but further downstream to Wind Lake and the Fox River..
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
|WBIC||Official Waterbody Name||Station ID||Station Name||Earliest Fieldwork Date||Latest Fieldwork Date||View Station||View Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683356||Big Muskego Lake - Sediment Core 02||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683358||Big Muskego Lake - Sediment Core 04||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683361||Big Muskego Lake - Sediment Core 07||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10045041||Big Muskego Lake - Hunter's Nest [Herbicide Monitoring Site A5]||6/27/2016||6/28/2016||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10045044||Big Muskego Lake - Durham Launch [Herbicide Monitoring Site B2]||6/27/2016||6/28/2016||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10045053||Big Muskego Lake - Boxhorn's Launch [Herbicide Monitoring Site C29]||6/27/2016||6/28/2016||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||643555||Muskego (Big Muskego) Lake - Outlet Near Wind Lake||12/17/1987||1/12/2021||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10050788||SW Outbranch of Big Muskego Lake near 5577228 ||7/16/2010||7/16/2010||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10045051||Big Muskego Lake - Boxhorn's Launch [Herbicide Monitoring Site C16]||6/27/2016||6/28/2016||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683359||Big Muskego Lake - Sediment Core 05 Center E Of Large Island||7/7/1994||7/7/1994||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683363||Big Muskego Lake - Sediment Core 09 Se Heinrich'S- E Of Tern Island||7/7/1994||7/7/1994||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683364||Big Muskego Lake - Sediment Core 10 Sw Corner Of Lake Basin||7/7/1994||7/7/1994||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683309||Big Muskego Lake - South Site||5/19/1994||8/7/2002||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683347||Big Muskego Lake - Limno No2||6/1/1994||7/25/1994||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683348||Big Muskego Lake - Limno No3||6/1/1994||7/25/1994||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683351||Big Muskego Lake - Limno No6||6/1/1994||7/25/1994||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683352||Big Muskego Lake - Limno No7||6/1/1994||7/25/1994||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683353||Big Muskego Lake - Limno No8||6/1/1994||7/25/1994||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683354||Big Muskego Lake - Deep Hole||4/20/1991||7/29/2020||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683357||Big Muskego Lake - Sediment Core 03||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10017492||Big Muskego Lake -- Big Muskego And Bass Bay||9/4/2004||8/2/2020||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10007182||Big Muskego Lake||6/1/1995||9/15/2017||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10045052||Big Muskego Lake - Boxhorn's Launch [Herbicide Monitoring Site C22]||6/27/2016||6/28/2016||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683360||Big Muskego Lake - Sediment Core 06 Wc Limno Area||7/7/1994||7/7/1994||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683362||Big Muskego Lake - Sediment Core 08||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10045042||Big Muskego Lake - Hunter's Nest [Herbicide Monitoring Site A6]||6/27/2016||6/28/2016||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10045043||Big Muskego Lake - Hunter's Nest [Herbicide Monitoring Site A7]||6/27/2016||6/28/2016||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683344||Muskego Canal (Big Muskego Lake Outlet) - Outlet Dam Near Wind Lake WI||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683349||Big Muskego Lake - Limno No4||6/1/1994||7/25/1994||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683355||Big Muskego Lake - Sediment Core 01 Ne Corner Of Lake Basin||7/7/1994||7/7/1994||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10045040||Big Muskego Lake - Hunter's Nest [Herbicide Monitoring Site A3]||6/27/2016||6/28/2016||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10045048||Big Muskego Lake - Durham Launch [Herbicide Monitoring Site B6]||6/27/2016||6/28/2016||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683350||Big Muskego Lake - Limno No5||6/1/1994||7/25/1994||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10045045||Big Muskego Lake - Durham Launch [Herbicide Monitoring Site B3]||6/27/2016||6/28/2016||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10045046||Big Muskego Lake - Durham Launch [Herbicide Monitoring Site B4]||6/27/2016||6/28/2016||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683308||Big Muskego Lake - North Site Near Muskego WI||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||683346||Big Muskego Lake - Limno No1||6/1/1994||7/25/1994||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10017473||Big Muskego Lake -- Big Muskego And Bass Bay - Boxhorn Launch||6/4/2008||8/3/2019||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10045039||Big Muskego Lake - Hunter's Nest [Herbicide Monitoring Site A2]||6/27/2016||6/28/2016||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10045047||Big Muskego Lake - Durham Launch [Herbicide Monitoring Site B5]||6/27/2016||6/28/2016||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10045049||Big Muskego Lake - Boxhorn's Launch [Herbicide Monitoring Site C17]||6/27/2016||6/28/2016||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10045050||Big Muskego Lake - Boxhorn's Launch [Herbicide Monitoring Site C23]||6/27/2016||6/28/2016||Map||Data|
|762400||Big Muskego Lake||10047669||Big Muskego Lake - Hunters Nest - Private Access||7/19/2016||12/1/2016||Map||Data|
Big Muskego Lake is located in the Middle Fox River - Illinois watershed which is 247.72 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (35.50%), suburban (19.20%) and a mix of wetland (16.20%) and other uses (29.10%). This watershed has 316.41 stream miles, 6,810.35 lake acres and 22,750.85 wetland acres.
Nonpoint Source Characteristics
This watershed is ranked High for runoff impacts on streams, Medium 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.