Fish and Aquatic Life
Fox Lake is smaller (2,625 acres) and somewhat deeper (max. depth 19 ft.) than Beaver Dam Lake but has similar problems. Those problems include excessive algae growth and blooms, carp degrading the fishery and water quality, turbidity and high nutrient loads. As a result, the lake's once diverse sport fishery has declined. Fox Lake was chosen for a study to determine the effects of carp on a lake. For more information, refer to Phosphorus Loadings from Carp and Estimated Water Quality Changes With Various Levels of Carp Control For Fox Lake, Dodge County (Sesing, 1993) and 1993 Fox Lake Carp Exclosure Project (Dreher, 1994).
The Fox Lake Wastewater Control Commission operates an aerated lagoon-adsorption pond groundwater wastewater treatment system (Eagan, 1989). In 1999, a large rain event resulted in a sewage bypassing event at the facility.
Author Aquatic Biologist
Source: 1965, Surface Water Resources of Dodge County Fox Lake T13N, R13E
A large, fertile lake partially of natural origin, now impounded by an 11-foot dam on the outlet stream which drains to Beaver Dam Lake. The first permanent settlement in Dodge County was established on the north shore of Fox Lake in 1838, and a dam and sawmill were constructed on Mill Creek in 1845 which floodedthe large marsh to the south and east. Increased water levels and wave action have diminished the marsh and although the shoreline is still retreating, over 1, 500 acres remain which provide habitat for waterfowl, muskrat and pheasants. Mallards, black ducks, blue-winged teal, wood ducks, and coot have been-observed to raise broods here, and the thousands of ducks which visit the lake during the fall often provide good shooting. Seven islands are located in the lake, most of which are at least partially developed. A heron rookery is located on Brushwood Island. Inlet streams include Alto and Drew Creeks, although most runoff entering the lake drains from the extensive watershed to the west. Seepage also contributes to maintain water levels. Littoral materials vary from muck in former marsh areas to extensive rock and gravel bars in other sections. The third largest lake in Dodge County, Fox Lake has great potential for boating and water-skiing. It owes most of its popularity, however, to its ability to provide excellent fishing. In 1874-75 - 20,981 pounds of northern pike, walleye and perch were shipped to Milwaukee. The lake became a population vacationing, spot in southeastern Wisconsin, and 17 resorts and nearly 400 cottages and homes are located on the shoreline.Public access is provided by a town park on the northwest and a city park on the southeast, each equipped with boat launching and parking facilities. Including a 50-foot town road ending near the Drew Creek Inlet, 670 feet of the shoreline is in public ownership. In the past, Fox Lake provided a reliable source of well oxygenated water which was utilized on several occasions to save downstream Beaver Dam Lake from freezing out. Natural aging hastened by addition of nutrients through intensive farming in the watershed and developments on the lake itself is believed to be responsible for the trend established in the winter of 1958-59 when Fox Lake suffered its first winterkill. Carp, bullheads, and crappies increased rapidly, despite the stocking and rough fish removal programs conducted by the Wisconsin Conservation Department. Bullheads and carp have contributed to increase turbidity, which, accompanied by large algae blooms, has led to a marked reduction of rooted vegetation. Conditions approached critical levels in the winter of 1961-62, and a partial kill occurred in 1964-65. Steps must be initiated to retard and reverse this trend. Watershed rehabilitation and the establishment of a sanitary district demand top priority. Chemical treatment to remove undesirable species would provide a solution to the rough fish problem.
Surface Acres = 2,120, S.D.F. = 2.19, Maximum Depth = 19 feet
Author Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin
Fox Lake (WBIC 835800) was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus and sediment/total suspended solids in 2006. The TMDL for these pollutants was approved by the U.S. EPA in 2011. The 2018 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; new total phosphorus and chlorophyll-a sample data exceeded the 2018 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use. Based on the most updated information, no change in the existing impaired waters listing was needed.
Author Ashley Beranek
Fox Lake (835800) was placed on the impaired waters list for total phosphorus and sediment/total suspended solids in 2006. The TMDL for these pollutants was approved by the U.S. EPA in 2011. The 2016 assessments showed continued impairment by phosphorus; total phosphorus sample data overwhelmingly exceed 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use, and chlorophyll data exceed REC thresholds. Total phosphorus and chlorophyll data do not exceed Fish and Aquatic Life thresholds. Based on the most updated information, no change in existing impaired waters listing is needed.
Author Aaron Larson
Waterbody Name: Fox Lake
Waterbody ID Code (WBIC): 835800
County (ies): Dodge
Impaired Stream Reach: Entire 2,625 acres
Type of impairment (water quality standards violations [eg, pH, DO, etc.], not meeting codified use [e.g. WWFF should be Cold II], eutrophication, etc.]:
Physical substrate habitat alterations
Low flow alterations (dam)
Fish barrier (dam)
Excess algal growth
Eurasian water milfoil
Cause of impairment (e.g. temperature, nutrients, sediment, BOD, toxics, etc.):
Source of impairment (e.g. point source, nonpoint source, internal load, unknown, etc.):
Description of monitoring conducted (including dates, results, quality of data and reports):
Sesing, M., 1993. Phosphorus Loadings from Carp and Estimated Water Quality Changes with Various Levels of Carp Control for Fox Lake, Dodge County. Unpublished report, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Asplund, T.R., and J.A. Johnson. 1996. Alternative stable states in Fox Lake, Dodge Co., WI: Results of 1995 plankton and water quality monitoring. WI DNR Bureau of Integrated Science Services. 34 pp.
Asplund, T.R., and P.J. Garrison. 2002. The effectiveness of the partial drawdown of Fox Lake, Dodge County, Wisconsin. WI DNR Bureau of Integrated Science Services. 32 pp.
Dreher, R., 1994. 1993 Fox Lake carp exclosure project. Unpublished report, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
1997 Fox Lake sediment mapping study by Jim Killian/Clay Wible, DNR Central office
Location of supporting data (electronic and hard copy files):
Laura Stremick-Thompson, Dan Heim, Ruth Johnson
Author Lisa Helmuth
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.
Issue News/Media Release
Aquatic Plant Management Plan
Lakes Planning Grant
Lake Management Plan Development
Fish Management, Access
Fox Lake Inland Lake Protection & Rehabilitation District will work to reduce rough fish populations in a continuing attempt to increase abundance of rooted aquatic plants. Progress will also be monitored via a comprehensive fish survey of Fox Lake.
Dodge County Planning & Development Department is interested in revising the Dodge County Shoreland Zoning Regulations and adopting a "waterway" classification system to better regulate and manage the county's water resources.
Lakes Protection Grant
The Fox Lake Inland Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District proposes to restore a balanced fishery in Fox Lake. Project activities include approximately two years of spot rough fish treatments, fish pick up and disposal, and accompanying electrofishing surveys.
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|
|835800||Fox Lake||10017479||Fox Lake -- Access - Nr Indian Point Rd||7/30/2005||8/22/2018||Map||Data|
|835800||Fox Lake||143123||Fox Lake - Deep Hole||7/25/1968||9/13/2020||Map||Data|
|835800||Fox Lake||10007621||Fox Lake - 100 Meters From Alto Creek Mouth||Map||Data|
|835800||Fox Lake||143032||Fox Lake - North End||8/26/1989||7/28/2014||Map||Data|
|835800||Fox Lake||10017810||Fox Lake -- Town Of Fox Lake Park||4/19/2005||7/13/2019||Map||Data|
|835800||Fox Lake||10001255||Fox Lake - T13 R13E S23||6/1/1982||3/25/2020||Map||Data|
|835800||Fox Lake||143350||Fox Lake - Town Park Of Fox Lake||Map||Data|
|835800||Fox Lake||10017808||Fox Lake -- Access - Nr Indian Point Rd/ Mill Creek||6/3/2007||9/30/2013||Map||Data|
|835800||Fox Lake||10041747||Fox Lake near deepest point||3/9/1994||3/9/1994||Map||Data|
|835800||Fox Lake||10017938||Fox Lake -- Access - Nr Chief Kuno Rd - North||1/23/2016||1/23/2016||Map||Data|
|835800||Fox Lake||143305||Fox Lake - Island End East||8/27/1989||7/28/2014||Map||Data|
|835800||Fox Lake||143324||Fox Lake - Southeast Bay||7/19/1995||11/10/2005||Map||Data|
|835800||Fox Lake||10017939||Fox Lake -- Access - Nr Chief Kuno Rd - South||Map||Data|
|835800||Fox Lake||10045227||Phragmites Occurrence - Fox Lake||7/15/2015||9/30/2017||Map||Data|
Fox Lake is a 1,022-hectare (2,625-acre) lake located in northwestern Dodge County. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Fox Lake experienced a rapid shift in water quality from a clear-water lake to one characterized by poor-water transparency, increased algae populations, loss of aquatic macrophytes, loss of wetland fringe, and declining sports fishery. In the mid 1990’s, the Fox Lake Inland Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District (FLILPRD), in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) began implementation of a long-range management project to shift the lake back into a clear-water state.
Author Lisa Helmuth
Fox Lake is located in the Beaver Dam River watershed which is 290.25 mi². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (62.90%), wetland (13.80%) and a mix of grassland (9.50%) and other uses (13.90%). This watershed has 421.30 stream miles, 3,607.03 lake acres and 29,349.96 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.