Difficulty II-III
Length 1.1 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Next Release 2019-07-20
Reach Info Last Updated 04/08/2019 1:41 am

River Description


Located about 8 miles northwest of Chippewa Falls, at the junction of County Highway Y and Highway 178, this short reach of river is class II and class III pool-drop rapids, requiring intermediate to advanced skill level.
Releases into the original river channel (otherwise substantially dewatered between the dam and Xcel Energy's Jim Falls Hydro Plant) take place for two full months in spring (from April 1st to May 31st, for Sturgeon spawning) when this reach should run a constant 850 cfs, while summer releases (four times annually in July and August during the six year evaluation period) should be 650 cfs.

A sign-in sheet will be posted at the put-in. Please be sure to sign! Records will determine continuity of use of releases at the 6-year evaluation.

To be added to an email list to be advised of each year's release dates, email your request to robert.w.olson@xcelenergy.com.

Increased flows are provided as a result of hydropower relicensing activities undertaken by Xcel Energy in conjunction with the National Park Service (Rivers & Trails Program), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and local boating groups.

Additional questions may be directed to Angie Tornes at angie_tornes@nps.gov


Some boaters will put in by the dam to have a little 'warm-up' before the main action. However, this upper portion of the reach contains little more than rocks and current, so most paddlers will prefer to put-in at an old bridge midway down the channel where the first real rapids start.

Below the bridge, a mix of rocks and chutes provide a few spots for minor play. There are plenty of 'stealth rocks' (both in the flow and in some eddies) just to keep you on your guard. Reportedly, the summer release flows are somewhat 'thin', so best play may be at the spring levels, when more of these rocks may be more covered.


For additional information, contact Joe Wawrzaszek at Spring Street Sports, Chippewa Falls: 715.723.6616 or by e-mail at sss@charter.net.

Check out the Jim Falls Blogspot for current release schedule, some great photos, and other area info.

A fine 'companion piece' may be the Big Falls of the Eau Claire, which lies just about 15 miles due south of Jim Falls, and about 9 miles due east of Eau Claire, WI.

Rapid Descriptions

Camping

Class - N/A Mile - -0.22
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There is an area for free tent camping, located along Hwy.178 about two blocks north of the dam, right next to the lake. It has room for several small tents, and has one picnic table and a fire ring. There is a separate Men's/Women's rest room 100' away at the public access. (Make sure to bring your own TP, as it is not always provided).

Parking for Upper (Dam) Put-in

Class - N/A Mile - 0

There is parking alongside the dam for those wishing to do the full (most extended) run of this reach, putting in just below the dam.

Those using this parking/access should stop at the sign-in location to show that you're using this resource in order to continue recreational releases for the future.

Put-In Parking - "Old Abe" Wayside

Class - N/A Mile - 0.24
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The usual Put-in parking lot when group shuttling. Follow the trail down to the river.

Glenn Felske provided (2004-11-22):
A better put in spot is 500 feet north on 178 past the old bridge. A historical marker and picnic area provides a parking lot and easy access to the river. The river is very shallow and a short walk up river is required during normal level. This put in allows you to get lined up on the river left chute below the bridge. This is a narrow chute that starts with a left turn into a gradual slope downstream. During normal levels, there are 2 rocks at the end of the chute. A hard right is required, although I have managed to canoe through them.

Those using this parking/access should stop at the sign-in location to show that you're using this resource in order to continue recreational releases for the future.

First rapids

Class - N/A Mile - 0.45
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The first rapids starts here, from river left.

Alternate Put-In #2

Class - N/A Mile - 0.51
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This is the put-in most used for the main action (the 'lower' run) or for park-and-play. From the NW corner of the parking lot where the sign up sheet is kept, look for the trail and carry down to a backwater/eddy to put in. The first 3 rapids are accessible from this point, allowing a park and play. It is easy to carry up "Big Drop" and the 2nd rapids, run the flat water between them, and paddle back to the bridge where you can carry back up to the parking lot.

Ledge #1 + Ledge #2

Class - N/A Mile - 0.52
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Almost back-to-back ledges occur on river-right, just upstream of the bridge.

Sign in sheet location

Class - N/A Mile - 0.54
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The negotiated releases will be periodically reviewed.

Make sure to sign in to show that you're using this wonderful resource in order to continue these releases in the future.

2nd Rapids

Class - N/A Mile - 0.64


 

Big Drop (3rd Rapids)

Class - N/A Mile - 0.72

Two big holes and an offset ledge.

You have some options on how to run this:

Run down the middle and punch the big hole at the bottom.

Run the ledge to river-right of the hole.

Run down the middle, and shoot the gap between the upper hole on river left, and the center hole at the bottom.

Final Drop

Class - N/A Mile - 0.87
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It is recommended to run through the center of the hole or to river-left of it, due to shallow rebar on the right side under the bridge.

USGS sampling site

Class - N/A Mile - 1
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USGS lists a sampling site below the powerplant with drainage area of 4,870 square miles.

Take-out Parking

Class - N/A Mile - 1.1
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Drive down a short hill and park on the grass near the river. Watch out for a rock at the bottom that has ruined more than one oil pan. Avoid it!
If it is wet and slippery, you may want to park along the top edge of the road.

Comments

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bryan foster
|
8 years ago

Is there a rough way to gauge the level based on the capacity of Jim Falls and the flow at Chippewa falls? With the rain this summer I have been wondering if Jim falls is running after some of the small stuff has settled out.

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glenn felske
|
14 years ago

a better put in spot is another 500 feet north on 178 past the old bridge.A historical marker and picnic area provides a parking lot and easy access to the river.The river is very shallow and a short walk up river is required during normal level.This put in allows you to get lined up on the river left chute below the bridge.this is a narrow chute that starts with a left turn into a gradual slope down streem.During normal levels, there are 2 rocks at the end of the chute.A hard right is required although I have managed to canoe threw them.

No Gage

Release Schedule

More Information
Date Start Time End Time Flow
07/20/2019 10:00:00 15:00:00 650-650
07/21/2019 10:00:00 15:00:00 650-650
08/17/2019 10:00:00 15:00:00 650-650
08/18/2019 10:00:00 15:00:00 650-650

Gage Descriptions

Flows of 850 cfs will be released continuously between April 1 - May 31st each year for fish spawning. Additional whitewater flow releases of 650 cfs will occur four times annually in July and August during the six year evaluation period. Additionally, it may run at times of high flow (significant rain events).

Directions Description


Shuttle will generally be by foot, carrying back up to your car.

 

Use the options below to get directions to this reach from your starting location.

No Accident Reports

Alerts

News

article main photo

Whitewater flow releases on the Chippewa (WI) 2007

6/25/2007
Thomas O'Keefe

Whitewater flows are scheduled for July 14, 28 and August 11, 19 on the Chippewa River at the Jim Falls Hydroelectric Project.
article main photo

WW Releases begin on Chippewa River, WI

7/8/2004
John Gangemi

Xcel Energy starts releases on the Chippewa River in Wisconsin this weekend.  Four releases are scheduled for this summer.  Enjoy this whitewater opportunity.  Boat safely and be sure to sign-in.
article main photo

Midwest Hydro Successes

6/26/2004
Thomas O'Keefe & Angie Tornes

Working in close partnership with AW since the first flow study on the Pine River in 1991, the Rivers and Trails Program has assisted us in obtaining significant benefits for whitewater recreation through the FERC licensing process. Several projects in the midwest have benefitted from this productive partnership.
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Rob

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Matt Muir

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1197754 05/30/10 Rob Minor reformat main page; Add features/rapids descriptions (from MnktoDave)
1193887 06/20/07 n/a n/a
1199192 02/05/11 Rob Embed YouTube video.
1211588 04/01/19 Rob updated image position
1211866 04/08/19 Rob updated description