The West Fork of the Chippewa River was an adventure I took with a Natural Resources Foundation (NRF) field trip led by the Couderay Waters Regional Land Trust.The leaders taught us about fish populations here (we got to participate in seining fish) and some history of the river. I would highly suggest a trip with the NRF if you get a chance: www.wisconservation.org
This section of river has lots of flatwater and some class I rapids. Certain sections of it have lots of boulders and there is one large erratic in the river. The rapids would be more fun with higher water levels than we had. They did mention that a decade ago, the water was two feet lower, which probably made the river impassable at times. On this section of river, we saw kingfisher and two snapping turtles creating more turtle eggs, tumbling in the water as if in battle.
As the river nears Moose Lake, it turns into more of a flowage, slowing a lot. Moose lake isn’t very developed and has a unique population of hemlock and cedar on its banks. Other trees that were along this route were maple, tag alder and white pine. At the end, we were against the wind going across the lake, which made for a long last stretch after a too-sunny (and not enough water) paddle. There is a bridge to go under to enter the larger part of the lake before you reach the final destination. I had hoped that the bridge would be the dam we were taking out at! We took out at Louie’s Landing, a private resort.
Resources used: Wisconsin Gazetteer, guides from Couderay Waters Regional Land Trust.
Last paddled July 15, 2017