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Difficulty II-III
Length 0.4 Miles
Gauge CHIPPEWA RIVER BELOW DELLS DAM AT EAU CLAIRE, WI
Flow Range 2500 - 8000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago ~ 4770 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 05/29/2020 5:04 pm

River Description


At times of increased/excessive flows in the river, it is likely there will be water flowing into a spillway from the dam which forms Lake Wissota. Just under a half-mile of gradient here appears to have potential interest for whitewater boating. (Aerial views show enough detail to suggest some significant features likely to form at good flows!)

We have no specific information about feasibility of access (or any interference therewith). It appears there could be good access from 74th Avenue (parking at the dam, likely for fishermen) which could be used. One would most likely have to carry in, and carry back up and out (I.E., this is a 'park-and-play' section).

I have had one scouting report (as of Memorial Day Weekend, 2020: thanks, Niko!) saying access from 74th Avenue is blocked by a fence and gate. If that gate is always closed/locked, it may mean access would only be via carry-up (0.5-0.75 miles) from "Area 178" parking for off-road mountain biking trails. (parking LAT/LNG: 44.9449, -91.3541) A fine map of this area (and the trails) is available at: https://corbatrails.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Area178NativePlain20171029.pdf

For those of you who use Facebook, as I write this, there is a fine video shot by a biker from the adjacent biking trails: https://www.facebook.com/CORBAArea178/

To reiterate, this will ONLY have water when inflow exceeds capacity/needs of the hydroplant. At all other times, expect this to be nothing but rocks and (likely) random pools of water! (Perhaps a good time to walk across to check out the middle channel and 'connecting' channel!)

Rapid Descriptions

"FOC" (First Overflow Channel)

Class - N/A Mile - 0.15
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Depending upon which gates on the dam are open/releasing, there may be different options available for whitewater play. A decent-sized island splits the overflow ('non-power-generating') channel, and another larger island divides this area from the outflow of the Xcel Energy Hydro plant. It may be possible to explore some combination of channels.

The "First (rightmost) Overflow Channel" will be the easiest to explore, since you will be parking and accessing the river from that side.

Exploring any other channels will require being able to land and carry up on any of these islands.

"SOC" (Second Overflow Channel)

Class - N/A Mile - 0.4
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Accessing this channel will depend upon whether you can land on the island and walk up to the upstream end of the island, and then whether it is possible to safely launch into the flows up there!

Additional bedrock ledges (likely similar to those in the first channel) populate the channel to the left of the 'decent-sized island'.

"NOCC" (Narrow Overflow Connecting Channel)

Class - N/A Mile - 0.53
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It appears (dependent on flows, of course) that there may be a narrow channel which splits off to the left from the left channel (about midway down the island) and connects across to the outflow channel from the hydro plant.

Being able to make it to this channel will be highly dependent upon flows, and will likely require ferrying across strong currents ... or ... you may have to carry up the larger island (or you may opt to paddle a up the outflow channel from the hydro plant, to beyond where this small channel connects, and then carry across the island there).

"ROC" (Rejoined Overflow Channel)

Class - N/A Mile - 0.65
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At the end of the island, as the first and second channels rejoin, you will find additional ledges.

Main Channel

Class - N/A Mile - 0.75
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Once all channels have rejoined, the rocky intrusions largely end.

You can either carry back up to the dam and your vehicle(s) (if/when parking and access are available off 74th Avenue at the dam),  or ...

It may be necessary to access from "Area 178" (a park with off-road biking trails, and access for the "Old Abe Trail"). This will allow you to just head downstream in the full flow of the river, come ashore at Hwy.178 (Seymore Cray Sr. Blvd), and carry back to your vehicle.

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Rob

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1207418 04/04/17 Rob initial add.
1215078 05/29/20 Rob updated description
1215077 05/29/20 Rob updated description
1215079 05/29/20 Rob updated description
1215080 05/29/20 Rob updated description
1215081 05/29/20 Rob updated description
1215083 05/29/20 Rob updated description
1215082 05/29/20 Rob updated description
1207417 04/04/17 Rob n/a