Namekagon River – Phillipi Bridge Landing to Larsen Landing (~10.8 miles)

The stretch of river from Phillipi Bridge Landing to Larsen Landing was quaint and pleasant to paddle in the spring. The rivers are not up by any means, but there was enough water to get through the whole river, so long as we chose the correct path.


Between Philippi Bridge and Leonard School Bridge, there are lots of riffles and Class I rapids. Our kayaks dragged a bit on some of them, but all were manageable. On the Leonard School Bridge there is a sign to portage right. With low enough water levels, we decided to go right under the bridge, ducking and hoping for the best. If someone is in a canoe or isn’t flexible, a portage will be necessary. If the water levels were much lower one would likely get stuck on rocks that are currently riffles under the bridge.

As we neared Pacwawong Lake, the river slowed and at times we ended up out of the main current without a flow at all. The lake was very nice to go through in early spring, as there was little vegetation to direct where the boat had to go. This lake is a wonderful producer of wild rice (some of the best I’ve seen – few worms and the grain taking up the whole chaff) but later in the season, you might have to paddle the path that has been created through the rice, which can make for a longer ride. After the lake is the old Pacwawong Dam. You can portage right here or go over (what was) the dam. It is about a three-foot drop. We chose this option, and it might not be recommended on a cold spring day, as water likely will get in your boat!

After the dam, the river picks up again and is wider than the first section. Below Peterson Bridge, there is a gravel bar in the middle of the river you want to avoid. The river goes past Seeley (you can get out behind the Lenroot Lodge) and then the river skirts the highway. The landing is about a mile past the highway sighting.

The wildlife on this portion of river was alive even on a cold spring day! There were hooded and common mergansers, wood ducks, bald eagles, ospreys, turkey vultures, kingfisher and mallards, all making their flighted appearances at various times along the way. We also saw a muskrat and two fishermen. I will let you decide which was more wild! The flora included many evergreens – spruce, white pine, and arbor vitae; below Pacwawong, there were more deciduous trees that above the lake. There are lots of tag alder along much of the shoreline. A few silver maple trees were budding out and some ground plants brightened the shoreline.

There are various campsites on this portion of the river – 3 small group sites and 3 large group sites, spread unevenly along the shore.


Last paddled April 23, 2017


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