This part of the Clam River is lots of fun and moves quickly, despite the flowage on the map. The only thing that can ruin your trip, depending on the season, is the deer flies.It is about a 15 mile trip.
At the put in, I went on the Northwest side of the bridge. There was a lot of poison ivy there. It looked like there were also options to put in on the Southwest and Southeast corners of the bridge. The first third of the trip winds through forests after the Ice House Bridge. As I mentioned, the deer flies were terrible. They buzzed around my head, sometimes landing to bite. I killed at least 10, if not 20 of them throughout the day.
Eventually, the river opens up into a marshy area (with no deer flies!!) I found later when I could see the bridge, that this marsh is actually considered part of the flowage on the maps. The current slows down but is still moving. Once you come to what looks like a real lake, the flowage isn’t that much longer. It is almost cut in half by the Balcom Bridge, which you can see when you come around the corner out of the marsh.
Continue past the bridge and soon the power dam is visible on river right. The portage around the dam is on river right and is signed to go around all of the dam equipment. It is not well-used, though I could tell a few people had been there recently. There is a steep climb down to the river at the end of the portage. Total, it’s probably about a quarter of a mile. This was the one place I encountered mosquitoes. The deer flies also returned here. Once back on the water, only the mosquitoes subsided. This last part of the Clam River was my favorite section of the day, as it was moving quickly again and had some grand white pines to paddle by.
I could see the flood marks and dirt from two weeks earlier when the area got about 12 inches of rain. It was at least five feet above the current level. The Clam feeds into the St. Croix River at mile S109.3. There is a campsite immediately on the left when you enter the St. Croix. The nearest landing is less than a mile downstream on the right (MN). I opted to go to the closest WI landing. It was 4.5 river miles further, but 14 biking miles (on state roads) shorter.
The St. Croix is much wider and has islands to go around. You can find a map of it https://www.nps.gov/sacn/planyourvisit/upload/SCRMap-5Color.pdf The river is beautiful and has a very different character from the Clam. It is easy to navigate. On the Minnesota side (river right) is St. Croix State Park.
There are very few houses on the Clam Flowage, and on the river none at all. The houses were also well hidden, and you could find them only because there were boats and docks. The area had sandy soil with basswood, red and white pine, silver maple, jack pine, alder and white oak. The marsh had many rushes, arrowhead and lilypads. Wildlife that I saw included kingfisher, a fish that flipped out of the water, and 2 bald eagles, one of which was fishing on the St. Croix!
Resources you can use are the map above for the St. Croix River and Canoeing the Wild Rivers of Northwest Wisconsin. The portage around the dam is incorrect in the book.
(Paddled on July 26, 2016)
Difficulty 2/5 (portage)
Paddle it: 5/5