Iron County is made up of two major drainage basins, the Lake Superior Basin and the Upper Chippewa River Basin. See map. The northern half of the county drains into Lake Superior. This basin is comprised of four main subwatersheds including Upper Bad River, Tyler Forks. Montreal River, and Potato River. The southern half of the county drains into the Upper Chippewa River Basin. It is comprised of five main subwatersheds including Upper North Fork Flambeau, Flambeau Flowage, Bear River, Manitowish River, and East Fork Chippewa.
Lake surface area makes up over 6% of Iron County’s surface area with 30,457 acres. There are 494 lakes in the county. This is 3.3% of all of Wisconsin’s lakes. The county also has 222 names streams totaling 633 miles, many of which are classified as trout waters. Wetlands are also numerous in Iron County as a result of the glacial history. Approximately 32% (151,065 acres) of the land base is mapped as wetland.