The Chippewa Moraine Glacial Lakes canoe portage route from Horseshoe Lake to Knickerbocker Lake is not entirely passable thanks (perhaps more appropriately – no thanks!) in large part to beaver! Thankfully there is some good paddling to be had on a portion of the route.
Slip your canoe in Town Line Lake to enjoy its clear water, fishery, and wild setting which is part of the Chippewa Moraine Lakes State Natural Area. The portage 500’ to Horseshoe Lake, which is another wild lake with a healthy population of fish and wildlife. A short 100’ portage from Horseshoe Lake leads you over the Ice Age Trail (which is wonderful) and into Lake 28-16. [ Here’s the deviation from the trail shown on the website.] Enjoy the terrain adjacent Lake 28-16 as you paddle easterly towards Dumke Lake. The 200’ portage across Town Line Road to Dumke Lake takes you back across the Ice Age Trail, out of the County Forest, and into the Chippewa Moraine Ice-Age Scientific Reserve. Enjoy the varied terrain and land cover while you loop around Dumke lake and make your way back to Horseshoe Lake. You can easily get back on Horseshoe Lake at the boat launch. You are now on your way back to Town Line Lake.
Whether you spend a few hours or the entire day, the alternative trail described above will take you through a diverse set of lakes and fine forested landscape. There are several opportunities to stash the canoe and hike a section of the Ice Age Trail. You could also round out a day, or weekend, by paddling your pick of the many glacial lakes throughout the area. When the fall foliage peaks, the beauty of this area will amaze you.
This summer my family and I had a wonderful time kayaking/canoeing on the Chippewa river! We thankfully
rented our boats from Wild Earth Eco Tours because they
offered excellent customer service and education regarding
the Chippewa river. I would highly recommend the Wild Earth
Eco Tours for your next boating adventure!
A lot of people fish the Flambeau, Jump and Chippewa rivers for smallmouth and walleye. They are plentiful on these rivers. If the conditions are right, a skilled river angler can hook into many dozens of smallmouth in a single day and catch some pretty decent walleye too.
But if you’re really looking for a new flavor of river fishing, try going for musky. Like their lake-loving counterparts, river musky situate themselves in prime ambush spots where they can hide and lunge out at large prey. On the Flambeau, Jump and Chippewa, these spots are large rocks or boulders in deep pools, vegetation adjacent to deeper water and anywhere slack water meets fast water.
A fight with a river musky can be incredible. Fighting the river current makes these fish strong. Next time you’re up in Rusk and Chippewa counties, you should bring your musky rod.
Right now, conditions are very good on most stretches of the Flambeau River. There are some low spots on the stretch just below the Turtle Flambeau Flowage, but elsewhere, the water levels are prime for paddling. Water temperatures are rather warm—perfect for stopping for a swim. If you’ve never canoed or kayaked the Flambeau River before, you’re in for a treat. It’s a beautiful river, with heavily forested banks and lots of wildlife. Get up to the Flambeau River now for some of the best paddling of the year.