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.