Canoeing the Flambeau River, Wisconsin

 
Expert paddler Mike Svob has been canoeing and kayaking the rivers of the Midwest for 30 years. He paddled more than a thousand miles to complete these books. Below are brief descriptions of the canoe trips that Mike goes into detail with in his books with maps. The maps are very useful, showing rapids, take in and take out points and other things of interest.
 

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North Fork, Turtle Dam to Park Falls - 18 miles, 8 hours
A good mix of challenging whitewater and wild scenery.

Launch below the Turtle Flambeau Dam for an 18-mile voyage that immediately begins with some excitement. The first mile of the trip is through fast rapids, leading to the very challenging, narrow and potentially dangerous Notch Rock Rapids. It is important to stay to the middle in this stretch to avoid contact with the steep rock walls. About 400 yards below Notch Rock Rapids is Island Rapids. Stay to the left of the island - the right side is quite dangerous.

After this, you will paddle through Flat Rapids, and 3 miles later pass Bear Skull Rock. For the next three miles, the river will pick up speed and you will find several rapids, including Quinn’s Rapids. The next 2 miles hold many smaller rapids that are easy to navigate. As you pass First Rapids, the river will begin to take on a slower character. This continues for the next 5 miles to the town of Park Falls. There is a portage of about 400 yards through Park Falls where the river runs through the mill’s dams. You can take out your canoe at the Agenda Landing north of Park Falls or at Hines Park and Campground on the left bank in Park Falls.

Flambeau River north fork 1

 

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Flambeau River 2-North Fork-Sawyer and Price County-11.7 miles-Nine Mile Creek to Oxbo. This is a good beginners section. Almost the whole trip is through Flambeau River State Forest which maintains designated campsites. The beginning is about 200 feet wide here with a fast current. About two miles from put in is a very easy Barnaby Rapids. Rapids continue downstream but you should have no trouble dodging rocks. Call Flambeau State Forest for water level info 715-332-5271. Put in at Nine Mile Landing on river left next to Hwy. 70. Take out at Dix-Dox landing upstream from the old bridge. An access road leads to the landing from Hwy. 70.

Flambeau River north fork 2

 

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Flambeau River 3-North Fork-Sawyer County-18.3 miles-Oxbo to Camp 41 landing. Another good stretch for beginners with plenty of campsites and mild whitewater. There are at least a half dozen campsites along the way. Put in at Dix-Dox landing which you can access from Hwy. 70. About a mile dowstream is a campsite located on the left shortly after Log Creek enters on the right. In the mile and a half before take out there is a long curving series of riffles and Class I rapids known as Porcupine Rapids. Take out at Camp 41 landing on the right just downstream from the campsite. Camp 41 landing is accessed from West lane Rd. Call Flambeau State Forest for water level info. 715-332-5271

Flambeau River north fork 3

 

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Flambeau River 4-North Fork- Sawyer and Rusk County-11.4 miles-Camp 41 landing to Beaver Dam landing. This is the best whitewater stretch on the Flambeau and is for experienced canoeists. Camping is available at several designated sites. The river is fast, wide and quiet for a mile. The river turns left into Wannigan Rapids which is not difficult for most experienced canoeists, Flambeau Falls is about a half mile further, which is a little more challenging than Wannigan. At about the 7 mile point Cedar Rapids starts. This is a Class II rapids which should be scouted first. The next couple of miles have widely scattered Class I-II rapids. Beaver Dam Rapids, the biggest drop on the north fork is at 10.8 miles. This solid Class II rapids has a sheer drop of 4 feet and its roar can be heard far upstream.. Inexperienced canoeists should portage, boaters have drowned in the area.Water levels are always adequate for good paddling. Put in at Camp 41 landing. Take out and Beaver Dam landing shortly after the rapids.

Flambeau River north fork 4

 

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Flambeau River 5-North Fork-Rusk County-8.1 miles-Thornapple Dam to the Chippewa River. This last section is developed compared to the upriver sections. Water levels are dangerous when high. From the beginning paddlers see the same grassy heavily wooded banks they have become accustomed to on the Flambeau. A number of deep holes are apparent as the trip continues. Fishing for musky, northern, walleye and catfish is popular here.Not long after the Cty. P bridge County E runs close to the river. It will remain that way for most of the trip. Put in at Thornapple Dam on river left. A gravelaccess road leads from Hwy. P to the landing. Take out at Flater's Resort where the Chippewa and Flambeau merge.

Flambeau River north fork 5orth fork

 

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Flambeau River 1-South Fork-Price County-12 miles-Fifield to Cty. F. Less paddled than its better known counterpart to the north, the South Fork is a smaller stream with numerous riffles, Class I and II rapids and even a Class III drop. Unlike the north fork there are no designated campsites along the river. Water levels are best in the spring and after sustained rainfall. Put in on river right at Movrich Memorial County Park in Fifield. The river begins quite wide and continues that way for awhile. Farther downstream a big island is followed by the mouth of Rock Creek on the left about 7 miles into your trip. The biggest rapids of the trip begins at an island: Rock Carry 11 miles. Scout and portage if necessary but remember you are on private property so ask permission of the owner.. Take out at the Cty. F bridge near Lugerville.

Flambeau River south fork 1

 

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Flambeau River 2-South Fork-Price County-9 miles- Cty. F to Cty. W. This section is comparable to the previous one. The countryside is beatiful and varied, the fishing good, and the riffles and rapids enjoyable. Put in near Lugerville at the Cty. F bridge downstream left. After the bridge the river is fairly wide straight and deep, but a Class I rapids follows the first right bend.. Stonewall Rapids is a short Class I-II rapids immediately followed by a low rocky wall on the left. Just downstream a sign on the left indicates the location of a Boy Scout campground. Camping is permitted. About two miles past the campground is the Class I-II Rock Ledge Rapids and about a half mile later is the Class I-II Davis Rapids. There are several large rocks to avoid in this 50 yard rapids. The remaining 4.5 miles are nice and slow. Take out at the public landing at the Cty. W bridge.

Flambeau River south fork 2

 

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Flambeau River 3-South Fork-Price, Sawyer and Rusk County-10.2 miles- Cty. W to Otter Slide Landing. This is probably the most popular canoeing stretch on the south fork. This has some of the best whitewater on the river for experienced paddlers. Picturesque rock formations appear frequently on this section. There are no designated campsites , but canoeists often camp at an undeveloped site at Cornsheller Rapids 4 miles from the put in. Water levels are best in spring. Put in at Cty. W downstream left. The Carpenter Rapids Class I begin about 1.5 miles downstream. Class II Cornsheller Rapids requires care to avoid the big boulders halfway through this 300 yard long rapids. Just past the mouth of Price Creek is a big island and then Class II Bull Rapids. At the 8 mile point comes Little Falls, which isn't little! Here the river drops about 7 feet on both sides of a small rocky island. Both sides are tough Class III. The best portage is along the trail on the left. Not far downstream from Little Falls is Scratch Rapids. This Class II rapids often has big waves.. The rest of the trip is flatwater. Take out on the left just before Otter Slide Rapids.

Flambeau River south fork 3