Archive | August, 2012

Family Farm in Iron County Wis.

Photo of Ledvina family farm in Oma, WI

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This is the Ledvina family farm in Iron County, Wisconsin, which is not too far from where I live. I’m featuring this photo because of it’s simplicity, it’s a beautiful aerial photo, and I love the green expanse surrounding the farm.

The Ledvina’s were fairly early settlers in these parts. I believe the farm is owned now by third generation Ledvina’s. What makes that unusual is that farms normally do not do well this far north. The growing season is too short and the rocky, sandy soil is not well suited to crops. Farms are far and few between.

Behind the farm, Swamp Creek feeds like a mountain stream into the mighty Flambeau River just below the Turtle Flambeau River dam. It’s a beautiful area. The Flambeau winds on to Park Falls, Wisconsin, where it supports a paper mill and then continues on to the west central part of the State.

A word about aerial photos – when I worked as a broker for Coldwell Banker, we had an airplane that we would take up twice a year in early summer and autumn. These photos were shot by my boss as he hung outside the cabin of a single engine small plane with a pilot trying to maneuver for the perfect shot. I have a lot of aerial photos of this part of the State, which I’ll be sharing with you as I find space.

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Map of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage

Map of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage

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This is a map of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage located in the southern portion of Iron County Wisconsin. I chose to feature this media because this is where I live. The flowage was formed in 1926 by damming the Flambeau River. The flowage is fed by the Turtle River, the Manitowish River, the Bear River, Beaver Creek and several smaller creeks. The flowage encompasses over 14,000 acres or water and hundreds of islands. It’s the largest body of water in the Northwoods.

If you have a limited understanding of what a flowage is, please see my post titled “What is a Flowage?”

The acreage surrounding the flowage in green is owned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for the sake of preserving that land as wilderness. The white portions of land in and around the flowage are private property. I live on the peninsula (white) that nearly touches Townline Lake in the southeast portion of the map.

The original lake basins which existed before the flowage was created are noted in a darker blue within the water portion of the map. The original river channels can be seen in darker blue as they snake around the islands. The river channels are still there beneath the water line. These can easily be found using an LCD graph or depth finder and are a good place to fish as fish use the submerged river channels just like we use highways to get around.

What makes this flowage unique are trees which are still standing just below the water line and a large amount of rock; some which can be seen and some under water. When the flowage was created, the dam was shut and the water rose behind the dam faster than the builders had anticipated. Loggers who were clearing the trees in portions of the land that would be flooded had to make a hasty exit. Thus the trees which are still standing.

This makes the flowage a hazardous body of water to navigate. But the underwater structure also makes the flowage an excellent fishery for walleye, smallmouth bass, musky, and panfish. The flowage is a popular “fishing hole” for Mid-West fisherman.

A plus is the fact that, due to State wilderness preservation, the flowage will never look any different than it does today.

I should mention that island camping is popular and far more exciting than camping on the mainland. Island campsites are free on a first come, first served basis. Be aware that the flowage is inhabited by deer, bear, wolves, an occasional moose and other wildlife that are known to swim between islands as they look for shelter and food.

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Autumn in the Northwoods

Bassett acreage overlooking the Gile Flowage, near Hurley

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This featured media is an aerial photo of the Bessett acreage and log home overlooking the Gile Flowage in Iron County, Wisconsin. The log home, though large in size, can barely be seen in the middle surrounded by maple trees in autumn full color.

Rolley and Helen Bessett own the famous Rolley and Helen’s Musky Shop in Minocqua, Wisconsin. The musky shop has been a landmark on Highway 51 (Interstate 39) in Minocqua for decades. When the shop first first started equipping musky fisherman in the 1940’s, only the hearty would travel the dirt roads to reach lakes teeming with the famous muskellunge.

The Gile Flowage resides in the center of Iron County and is formed by damming the Montreal River. The portion of the river north of the Gile forms the border between Iron County, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Log homes, maples, and water are the typical scenery in the Northwoods and this photo says it all best in stunning fall color.

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