Chippewa Flowage

Quick Facts

Chippewa Flowage

Wisconsin

(715) 634-2688

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The 15,300-acre Chippewa Flowage is in Sawyer County east of Hayward. First filled in 1924, it is now Wisconsin's third-largest lake, with an irregular, wooded, and generally undeveloped 233-mile shoreline and about 200 undeveloped islands. It is known for its spectacular natural scenery and fishing. Public access points on the flowage are a starting point for a wilderness experience.

Map of Chippewa Flowage (WI)

Latitude, Longitude: 45.960220, -91.261711

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Activities

  • Boating

    Six boat access sites provide public access to the Chippewa Flowage; 4 provided by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), 1 provided by the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe (LCO), and 1 provided by the Town of Hayward.

    DNR Photo

    CC South landing (DNR) is the largest and offers the most amenities, including a large parking area and toilet facilities, and is the only public landing that has drinking water available. Winter Dam landing (DNR) offers a paved parking area and toilets. CC North and Hay Creek landings (both DNR) have large gravel parking areas, but no toilet facilities. Blueberry Flats Landing (LCO) is off County Highway CC across from the intersection with County Highway H. It is a primitive boat landing best suited for small boats. Chief Lake landing (Town of Hayward) is at the end of CHief Lake Road off County Highway NN. There is no parking available. The Chippewa Flowage has an abundance of sand and rock bars, stumps, floating bogs, and floating driftwood, which makes for good fish and wildlife habitat but could damage boats. These features are not shown on maps. Boaters should be aware of changing conditions on the Flowage, especially fluctuating water levels, and should always exercise caution.

  • Camping

    There are 18 primitive island campsites available for public use. Some are available on a first-come, first-served basis and some are available by making a reservation. Each public campsite is marked with a sign and has a fire ring, picnic table and open-air box latrine. Camping is allowed in designated campsites only. You may NOT establish new campsites or camp at undesignated sites.

    All campsites are accessible by water only, and due to the remoteness of the campsites, it is recommended that campers leave an itinerary with friends or relatives.

    Campsites may be closed or relocated to allow the vegetation to recover and/or to protect threatened, endangered, or sensitive species and their habitats. Camping is also available at private resorts on the Flowage.

    DNR and USFS Campsites Of the 18 total campsites on the Flowage, eleven are on Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) islands and one is on an island under USFS ownership with the remainder on LCO tribal-owned islands. DNR and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFS) campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. One campsite, Cedar Tops West, has been improved with accessible facilities and can be reserved by persons with disabilities by contacting the Hayward DNR Office.

    The Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Conservation Department provides island camping at six island campsites. The LCO island campsites are located on: Sister, Chipmunk, Headflyer, Campers, Wagon Wheel, and Flat Islands. Campsites are checked regularly by LCO wardens.

    This area of the Flowage is of great cultural and historical significance to the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe. The Ojibwe people have great respect for these waters that now cover areas of their tribal homeland and wish for you to share their respect. While camping on these islands please do not cut wood for fires. Even if a tree is dead, it may not be cut for firewood.

  • Fishing

    The Chippewa Flowage is a world-class fishery in a wilderness-like setting. It is home to the world-record muskellunge-- a 69-pound, 11-ounce monster caught by Louis Spray in 1949 and upheld by the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame as one of the most well-documented world record fish of all time.

    Walleye, black crappie, muskellunge, and bluegill are the most popular species among Flowage anglers today. DNR fishery management strategies are aimed at optimizing conditions for the reproduction, growth, and survival to preferred sizes of these species in particular.

    Yellow perch and smallmouth bass add positive elements of diversity to the Flowage fishery. Perch numbers are on the rise and the smallmouth fishery has become outstanding in the darker, river-connected waters of the eastern basin. Largemouth bass and northern pike are present in ever-increasing numbers particularly in the clearer, weedier western basin.

    Increased numbers of largemouth bass and northern pike may please some anglers, but these predators threaten to reduce the reproductive survival of walleye and muskellunge, respectively. Without moderate to high numbers of walleye to prey upon young pan fish, crappie and bluegill could become too numerous to grow well and achieve the sizes that Flowage anglers prefer.

    In order to focus on achieving the highest priority objectives for the Chippewa Flowage fishery, DNR fishery biologists urge Flowage anglers to harvest (keep) up to their daily limits of legal-size largemouth bass and northern pike. Both are excellent table fare if prepared properly.

    In addition, biologists urge restraint in the harvest of walleye and they strongly encourage catch-and-release of muskellunge and smallmouth bass. Anglers may be asked to support more protective length limits for muskies and smallies in the near future.

    Anglers wishing to have fun with their children while assembling a good fish fry cannot hurt the fishery by keeping some tasty 6- to 8-inch bluegill, which have become abundant in recent years. Shallow bays attract thousands of spawning bluegill throughout the spring; bluegills are easily caught by drifting worm chunks over sunken bogs throughout the summer.

    Black crappies also provide excellent table fare, but evidence suggests these fish can be over-harvested once they reach desirable size (approximately 9 inches). Despite moderate to high numbers of crappie, anglers are urged to abide by the reduced daily bag limit for crappie and to consider keeping only those needed for a good meal or two.

    Folks who like to eat fish might also consider keeping some of the abundant, quality-size bullheads that can be caught with worm chunks over sunken bogs. Unlike some southern waters, Chippewa Flowage bullheads taste excellent.

  • Hiking

    There are 2 miles of hiking trails located on Department of Natural Resources land on the north side of the Flowage which can be accessed via a parking area adjacent to County Highway B between Moss Creek and Hay Creek. No motorized vehicles are allowed on this trail.

  • Winter Sports

    There are 2 miles of ski trails located on Department of Natural Resources land on the north side of the Flowage which can be accessed via a parking area adjacent to County Highway B between Moss Creek and Hay Creek. No motorized vehicles are allowed on this trail.

Seasonality/Weather

Open year-round

Directions

Driving

The Chippewa Flowage is located in central Sawyer County in northwestern Wisconsin. Access from the south is via either State Highway 27 and 70 and Sawyer County Highway CC or from the north via Sawyer County Highway B and CC. Access points are off County Highway CC in the central portion of the property, County Highway B on the north, or via County Highway G and Dam Road on the southeast side. The property office is located on Highway 27 at the DNR Service Center in Hayward.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(715) 634-2688

Links