Fish Lake, Roxbury Creek Watershed (LW18)
Fish Lake, Roxbury Creek Watershed (LW18)
Fish Lake (985100)
198.60 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.
Two-Story
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.
2019
Poor
 
This lake is impaired
Eutrophication, Excess Algal Growth
Total Phosphorus
 
Dane
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.
No
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.
No
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.
Yes

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.
Two-Story
Shallow 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.
FAL
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.

Overview

Fish Lake is a 216-acre pothole lake on the edge of the unglaciated driftless area of
Wisconsin. The lake is fairly deep, with a maximum depth of 62 feet. The lake is a seepage
lake with no inlet or outlet streams. Northern pike, largemouth bass and panfish dominate the
fishery. It has been considered a mesotrophic lake, but declining water quality and habitat are
pushing it toward eutrophic status. Fish Lake had some of the best water quality among Dane
County lakes in the early 1980s. Since then, the lake has experienced a decline in water
clarity, and lower dissolved oxygen readings as a result of increased surface water runoff.
DCRPC has ranked Fish Lake high for possible selection as a nonpoint source priority lake
watershed project. The lake has a high population of cisco, a cold water fish related to
salmon, which need cold water and high dissolved oxygen. The declining quality of the water
in the lake has led to occasional fishkills.
The surrounding landuse is over 60% agriculture. Factors contributing to the decline of the
lake are believed to be the lack of adequate buffer zones, poor animal waste management and
farm management practices, organic loading and sedimentation of the southwest bay, and
excessive Eurasian water milfoil growth in the lake. An Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) Clean Lakes research project was conducted on the lake and a lake management plan
was completed in 1996. The lake is also a long-term trends monitoring lake through the
WDNR's lakes management program. WDNR and Dane County Parks have been conducting
shoreline habitat and riparian area improvement work on Fish Lake. As a part of this work,
several trees have selectively been knocked into the lake to create shoreline habitat. In
addition, black locust trees, an invasive exotic species, has been removed and there have been
efforts to re-establish American locust. These efforts, as well as the successful acquisition of
Lussier Park on the eastern shoreline should have a positive impact on the lake.
Another factor affecting the management of the lake is that over the past 25 years, the lake **18** s
water level has risen. A study, funded by a Lake Planning Grant and conducted by USGS and
the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Management, was being done over the last year and a
half. The study was examining options to help reduce the problems being caused by Fish
Lake **18** s high stage condition, such as flooding of roads and residences. The study will help
evaluate options of how to manage the problem, whether it be pumping water out of the lake
or diverting surface water from the lake. Another study is being conducted simultaneously to
determine how these options would or could affect Crystal Lake. The lake has a lake
association that was organized in 1998.

Date  2002

Author   Aquatic Biologist

Historical Description

Fish Lake is a pothole lake on the edge of the unglaciated driftless area of Wisconsin.
The lake is fairly deep, with a nlaximum depth of 62 feet. It has been considered a
mesotrophic lake, but declining water quality and habitat are pushing it toward
eutrophic status (Marshall, 1992). Fish Lake had some of the best water quality among
Dane County lakes in the early 1980s. Since then, the lake has experienced a decline in
water clarity, lower dissolved oxygen readings and occasional fishkills. Problems
identified as contributing to the decline of the lake are lack of adequate buffer zones,
animal waste managenlent and farm management practices, organic loading and
sedimentation of the southwest bay, and excessive eurasian water milfoil growth in the
lake (WDNR, 1991). An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Lakes research
project is underway on the lake and a completed lake management plan is expected in
1993 (WDNR, 1991). DCRPC has ranked Fish Lake high for possible selection as a
nonpoint source priority lakes watershed project (DCRPC, 1991) . The lake is also a
long-term trends monitoring lake through the WDNR's lakes management program.
There is a small county park adjacent to the lake.

Date  1994

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Historical Description

Source: 1985, Surface Water Resources of Dane County,WI: WI-DNR Fish Lake - T9N, R7E, Sec. 3 Surface acres = 216, SDF = 1.60, Maximum depth = 62 ft Fish Lake is a deep, land-locked seepage lake occupying a valley of glacial outwash in northwestern Dane County. Two resorts are located on Fish Lake with farmland and cottages dominating the remaining shoreline. Dense beds of macrophytes, both emergent and submergent, are found throughout the littoral zone including water-milfoil, coontail, bushy pondweed, flatstem pondweed, bulrush, cattail, yellow and white water lilies, rush, and smartweed (Dane Cty. Reg. Plann. Comm. 1979a). Water quality is very good and winterkills do not occur. Inadequate septic systems in the area-must be identified and improved to prevent any degradation in water quality. Marx Pond is connected to Fish Lake by a culvert and serves as northern pike spawning grounds. The fishery of Fish Lake is unusual in that both cold and warm water game fishes are present. The lake is managed for northern pike, largemouth bass, panfish, and cisco. In the past, rainbow trout and walleye were stocked but survival was low, probably due to northern pike predation. Fishing pressure is moderately heavy. Access is available at an improved town road access way. A small county park on the west side provides parking and picnicking facilities. A Town of Roxbury ordinance does not allow motorboats on Fish Lake. Development consists of a resort-mobile home park. Fish species: cisco, northern pike, common carp, golden shiner, bluntnose minnow, white sucker, black and brown bullhead, green sunfish, pumpkinseed, bluegill, largemouth bass, black crappie, yellow perch, and walleye.

Date  1985

Author   Surface Water Inventory Of Wisconsin

Fish Lake, Roxbury Creek Watershed (LW18) Fish and Aquatic LifeFish Lake, Roxbury Creek Watershed (LW18) RecreationFish Lake, Roxbury Creek Watershed (LW18) Fish Consumption

Impaired Waters

Fish Lake (985100) was assessed during the 2016 listing cycle; total phosphorus and chlorophyll sample data exceed 2016 WisCALM listing thresholds for the Recreation use and Fish and Aquatic Life use.

Date  2015

Author  Aaron Larson

Condition

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.

Reports

Recommendations

Land Acquisition
Dane County acquired approximately a 1/2 acre of land located on the west shore of Fish Lake in the Town of Roxbury, Dane County. This acquisition will permanently protect 73 feet of shoreline and fishery ecosystem for wildlife and scenic beauty,
ATTAINS Implementation Initiated
The Marx property has already been purchased by Dane County. The property will protect the majority of the Mud Lake shoreline, which is connected to Fish Lake, a very important resource in NW Dane County. This land is adjacent to other property already purchased by the County. In five years, the property will be converted from row cropping to natural drainage patterns and natural vegetation to encourage wildlife and promote water quality benefits.
ATTAINS Water Identified for Protection
Dane County Lake Classification-Phase 2: The Phase 1 classification grant classified all county lakes and streams. This grant will take the next step by developing a management program based on the classification.
ATTAINS Water Identified for Protection
Dane County Department of Planning and Development will hire a project staff in order to develop a Lake Classification project, which is seen as the first step toward developing a consistent set of county-wide standards and procedures to protect Dane County Waters.
ATTAINS Implementation Initiated
This grant will provide financial assistance for the acquisition of approximately 117 acres along Fish Lake, including approximately 1,600 feet of lakeshore frontage.

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

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

Fish Lake is located in the Roxbury Creek watershed which is 71.11 miĀ². Land use in the watershed is primarily agricultural (40.40%), forest (28.50%) and a mix of wetland (12.80%) and other uses (18.30%). This watershed has 111.73 stream miles, 988.84 lake acres and 4,432.98 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.This water is ranked High Lake for individual Lakes based on runoff problems and the likelihood of success from project implementation.

Natural Community

Fish Lake is considered a Two-Story 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.

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

Fish Stocking