Four wild rivers offer great canoeing and kayaking, fantastic fishing and a variety of recreational options
Like most northern Wisconsin counties, Rusk County is home to a number of lakes—a total of 250 lakes in county, to be exact. But the true stars of this sparsely populated region of northwest Wisconsin are the rivers.
The Chippewa, Flambeau, Jump and Thornapple rivers of Rusk County offer some of Wisconsin’s best paddling, birdwatching, fishing and wilderness camping. Each of the four rivers has its own unique properties. But what all of the rivers have in common is quality—miles of undeveloped banks, great fishing, numerous camping opportunities and excellent public access.
For a straight-forward paddling trip, the Flambeau River is the perfect option. It’s among the most beautiful of all of Wisconsin’s rivers and features a number of well-documented and mapped paddling routes. As the river flows towards Ladysmith, paddlers will find many excellent places to camp.
One of the best kept secrets in the Midwest, the Jump River is not only one of the best paddling experiences, it’s also one of the cleanest riverways in North America. Solitude seekers looking to get away from the sights and sounds of civilization need to take a trip down the Jump River. The stretch from Highway 73 to Sheldon offers 9 miles of natural beauty. Clean banks of river-rounded stones invite you to take a break and enjoy the scenery.
The Chippewa River is the king of Northwoods rivers, big and brawny, with deep bends that hold monster musky. An exciting paddle is from the Hwy D bridge in Exeland down to Imalone—an 11-mile stretch with lots of fast water and great fishing. Walleye and bass fishing can be excellent on this section of the Chippewa.
The Thornapple River is truly wild, twisting and turning through remote forests and wetlands. If you’re looking for great birdwatching and wildlife viewing, this is the river for you. Be sure to check local conditions before embarking on your trip—the Thornapple River is prone to low water during periods with little rain.
A complete paddling guide for the Flambeau River is available, as well as a floating map with selected routes on several Rusk County waterways. To order a map and get more information on Rusk County’s rivers, visit www.ruskcountywi.com.