Willow Flowage Scenic Waters Area

Quick Facts

Willow Flowage Scenic Waters Area

Wisconsin

(715) 356-5211

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Described as "almost Canada," this flowage in Oneida County has a wild flavor. The area has more than 17,000 acres, 73 miles of shoreline, 106 islands, and seven boat landings. Rustic campsites around the shoreline and on the islands offer scenery and solitude. There are abundant walleye and panfish; northern pike, muskellunge, and bass; hunting and hiking opportunities; deer, bear, ruffed grouse, ducks, loons, and wolves.

Map of Willow Flowage Scenic Waters Area (WI)

Latitude, Longitude: 45.914855, -89.899750

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Activities

  • Boating

    Over 6,400 acres of water offer scenic boating opportunities and access to the 117 islands and backwaters of the Flowage. Due to fluctuating water levels, you are advised to use slow speeds and remain in the deeper channels because submerged rocks, sandbars, and snags are numerous. On the east side of the property near the Willow Flowage dam, there are two improved landings with paved parking lots to accommodate trailered vehicles. The other landings, Sportsmans Landing, Talbots Landing, Jerry's Landing, and McCord Landing, are unpaged and found along rustic access roads. Each location can accommodate up to eight vehicles with trailers. The privately-owned Cedar Falls campground landing also has parking for 15 vehicles with trailers but visitors are required to pay a fee for parking and landing boats. Cedar Falls campground also has toilet facilities. The only toilet facilities on the property are at the Dam Boat Landing.

    Canoeing & Kayaking: The Tomahawk River, which runs into the flowage on the north end and out through the south end, provides excellent canoeing and kayaking opportunities along its entire course.

    North of the Willow Flowage, paddlers can put in at Camp Nine Road where this section of river is low-gradient with "easy paddling." The upper portion of the river flows through part of Tomahawk River Pines State Natural Area which provides some fantastic scenery. Use caution at the lower end as there are a series of four foot high falls directly downstream of the bridge that accesses Cedar Falls Campground. All paddlers are advised to portage around the falls.

    Lower Tomahawk River Area- Paddlers have access directly south of the Willow Dam. Although this section of river is also characterized as mostly low-gradient, there are a few sections with potentially dangerous rapids. The first section, named "Half-Breed Rapids," is located approximately two miles downstream from the County Highway Y bridge. Paddlers must use caution in this section of class II rapids-portaging around the rapids is highly recommended.

    A newly constructed, unpaved canoe and kayak access is located off of Swamp Lake Road directly west of the bridge on the north side of the road. A small lot accommodates up to five cars with small boat access to the river via a foot path. Downstream from Swamp Lake Road the river is again mostly gentle and low-gradient. The next section of rapids, named "Prairie Rapids," is located roughly seven miles downstream from Swamp Lake Road. This section includes two separate class II rapids and portaging is highly recommended.

  • Bicycling

    Mountain biking is allowed on all interior roads and trails on the Willow Flowage, including the Nature Trail.

  • Camping

    The Willow offers 33 remote, semi-primitive campsites along shorelines and islands. These sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis with no fee or registration required. Be aware that campsites do occasionally close either temporarily for maintenance or permanently to protect threatened or endangered species.

    Family Campsites- Each of the 29 sites has a fire ring, a picnic table, and a box latrine. No drinking water is provided. These sites are designed for a single camping party with a max of up to six people.

    Group Campsites- Each of five group sites have two fire rings, two picnic tables, and two box latrines. No drinking water is provided. Group campsites may be occupied by up to 15 people.

    There is a 10-day limit on camping at all campsites on the property. In addition, when you set up camp, you must occupy the site the first night and may not leave it unoccupied for more than one night thereafter. You may not leave unattended camping equipment to "save" a site. Camping is allowed in designated campsites only. You may not establish new campsites in other undesignated areas.

  • Fishing

    The flowage provides excellent fishing opportunities with an abundance of panfish. Northern pike and walleye are common, while muskie, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass all are present.

    Two seasonal fish refuges, located at Cedar Falls on the north end and Willow Rapids to the west, protect spawning walleye and musky. Angling is prohibited from mid-April to mid-May in these posted areas. You must have a fishing license to fish in the flowage.

  • Hiking

    An accessible nature trail is located 1/4 mile north of the dam on Willow Dam Road. A paved parking lot provides access to the trail which includes over one mile of crushed-granite surface and another mile of mowed trail out to Indian Shack Point. Interpretive signs and benches are located along the trail. Walk-in access is available to campsites 1 through 4 via the Nature Trail.

  • Hunting

    All lands are open for hunting only during the scheduled seasons and with the appropriate licenses. Ruffed grouse, snowshoe hare, and white- tailed deer are the primary game species. Trappers can find beaver, muskrat, otter, raccoon, fisher, and mink on the property. Please review the most current regulations before you hunt or trap. Also, be advised that firearms must be cased and unloaded while in or within 100 yards of designated campsites.

  • Picnicking

    Visitors have a host of opportunities for picnicking.

  • Water Sports

    Canoeing & Kayaking: The Tomahawk River, which runs into the flowage on the north end and out through the south end, provides excellent canoeing and kayaking opportunities along its entire course.

    North of the Willow Flowage, paddlers can put in at Camp Nine Road where this section of river is low-gradient with "easy paddling." The upper portion of the river flows through part of Tomahawk River Pines State Natural Area which provides some fantastic scenery. Use caution at the lower end as there are a series of four foot high falls directly downstream of the bridge that accesses Cedar Falls Campground. All paddlers are advised to portage around the falls.

    Lower Tomahawk River Area- Paddlers have access directly south of the Willow Dam. Although this section of river is also characterized as mostly low-gradient, there are a few sections with potentially dangerous rapids. The first section, named "Half-Breed Rapids," is located approximately two miles downstream from the County Highway Y bridge. Paddlers must use caution in this section of class II rapids-portaging around the rapids is highly recommended.

    A newly constructed, unpaved canoe and kayak access is located off of Swamp Lake Road directly west of the bridge on the north side of the road. A small lot accommodates up to five cars with small boat access to the river via a foot path. Downstream from Swamp Lake Road the river is again mostly gentle and low-gradient. The next section of rapids, named "Prairie Rapids," is located roughly seven miles downstream from Swamp Lake Road. This section includes two separate class II rapids and portaging is highly recommended.

  • Winter Sports

    Snowmobiles are allowed on WDNR-owned lands on designated trails only. There are approximately twelve miles of snowmobile trails.

    Snowmobiles are allowed on the ice but with caution. Before venturing onto the ice, be sure that conditions are safe and be certain you know where you are going. Some areas are hazardous throughout the winter because of water currents and fluctuating water levels which can create uneven and unsafe conditions.

Seasonality/Weather

Open year-round

Directions

Driving

From Hazelhurst travel south about 3 miles on Hwy. 51, turn west and south about 6.5 miles on Cty. Y, then west about 2 miles on Willow Dam Road.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(715) 356-5211

Links