Difficulty I(II) at this flow (II-IV normally)
Length 0.25 Miles
Gauge BEARTRAP CREEK AT U.S. HIGHWAY 2 NEAR ASHLAND, WI
Flow Range 250 - 1000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 3 weeks ago ~ 30.4 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/02/2019 12:26 am

River Description


This reach is going to be difficult to catch by anyone who does not live in the immediate area (Bayfield/Ashland/Duluth/Superior boaters) because it has such a small watershed (extremely short 'window of opportunity' for adequate flow). Add to that the extremely short length, and the proximity to the known and more popular 'North Shore' (MN) rivers, and you'll quickly see why almost nobody had ever heard of this one. However, anyone who manages to catch it with boatable flow is likely to be pleasantly entertained if not intimidated! Why? If there is anything above bump-and-scrape flow, rather than being separate slides, everything below the bridge will essentially be very nearly one continuous high-speed-whoopie slide, as the river drops about 50-60 feet in about a quarter-mile!

The section is almost entirely smooth bedrock sliding drops, with almost no inherent hazards (other than concerns for hangers, strainers, and snags -- trees still anchored to shores, but extending over and/or into the water). The objective difficulty of any individual drop is likely no more than class II (possibly marginally up to class III). However, with adequate flow, having this much gradient, this many drops, back to back to back . . . the overall 'feel' will be far more class IV-ish. Proper whitewater gear (helmets, elbow pads, maybe gloves to avoid massive knuckle abrasion if you flip or swim), and a solid team of experienced boaters with safety skills may be recommended for any flows above bare-bones bump-and-scrape.

A fine photo-essay is available at:http://www.gowaterfalling.com/waterfalls/siskiwit.shtml

By the way, there is a fair amount of gradient upstream of our listed put-in. However, virtually anywhere upstream of there, you will have major problems with deadfall and snags (with extremely limited opportunity to eddy-out to scout or portage them). Minimize your frustration and hassle by focusing on the shortest section with the biggest gradient, as listed here.

Rapid Descriptions

Beartrap Ck.Gauge

Class - N/A Mile - -23
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

USGS gauge (22.6 Sq.Mi. drainage). While other gauges are slightly closer, this one most closely matches for drainage area, so it is our chosen 'reference gauge'. As always, when using a gauge not actually on the listed stretch of river, it is only an indicator of possible runnable flows.

N.Fish Ck.Gauge

Class - N/A Mile - -21
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Drainage area listed as 65.4 Sq.Mi., but then lists only 38.3 Sq.Mi. 'contributing area'.
This could be a possible alternate reference gauge. However, while it is a little closer to this river, the difference in drainage area makes it likely less viable.

Whittlesey Ck.Gauge

Class - N/A Mile - -19
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Drainage area listed as 37.6 Sq.Mi., but then lists only 7.4 Sq.Mi. 'contributing area'.
This could also be a possible alternate reference gauge, but appears to have gone unfunded. While it is a little closer to this river, the difference in drainage area (exacerbated by the disparity between drainage and 'contributing' drainage) makes it likely less viable.

Historic gauge site

Class - N/A Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

There was a gauge on this river in the past.
Drainage area is listed as 47.4 Sq.Mi.,
but only 21.6 Sq.Mi. 'contributing area'.

First Slide

Class - II Mile - 0.01

The river-right line appears to have the most flow. Locals love to slide down this one in the summer.

Ledge

Class - II Mile - 0.06

A fun 2-3' ledge into a relatively deep pool before you pass under the bridge toward the next slide.

Little-Steps (Second Slide)

Class - II+ Mile - 0.08

Immediately after you pass under the bridge, this stair-step slide is waiting for you. River right-center appears to have the most water.

Third Slide

Class - III Mile - 0.11

This slide is perhaps the most fun.

Undercut

Class - N/A Mile - 0.14

Keep center-to-right (if you can) to avoid being shoved into or under this overhanging/undercut rock.

Big Steps (Fourth Slide)

Class - III+ Mile - 0.2

Perhaps the largest slide on this section. Like the second one (immediately downstream of the bridge), this one has a couple of 'steps' which are likely to be 'jumps' in your boat.

Navigate the small rapids below and take out shortly after on river right to follow the trail back to your car.

Fourth Slide Runout

Class - II+ Mile - 0.24

If you can, try to stay center-to-right on the tail-end of the Fourth Slide, where the flow should be deeper.

You will want to get out pretty immediately and carry back up to the bridge, since downstream you will encounter only deadfalls, snags, maybe a riffle or two, then slackwater down to the next road bridge and the lake.

Comments

Gage Descriptions

*The USGS reference gauge linked to here is for Beartrap Creek (about 23 miles southeast) with drainage listed as 22.6 square miles. USGS also lists a historical gauge/sampling site on the Siskiwit just upstream of our indicated put-in, listing a drainage area of 47.4 square miles, with "Contributing drainage area: 21.6 square miles". This would suggest that flow on the Siskiwit might be expected to be about equal to the flow at the listed reference gauge.

Obviously, correlation of such a 'reference gauge' is not assured. Snowmelt and rainfall patterns are likely to affect these watersheds differently. With such small watersheds, you can expect these rivers to 'flash' up and down rather quickly.

"Minimum Recommended Flow" is set as an 'early warning' and minimal indicator that this may be worth looking at (if you are in the area) if the gauge is on the rise.
"Maximum Recommended Flow" is set as an indicator that this is likely to be running. (That is, when the color-coding is green, it might be boatable if the gauge is on the rise . . . if the color coding is blue/purple, it is much more likely to be boatable whether gauge is on the rise, steady, or possibly even on the decline.)

The only sure way of gauging is via visual inspection at the Siskiwit Falls Road bridge. If the bedrock ledge upstream and general riverbed upstream and down from bridge look floatable, hike downstream (river-right) to scout the drops to ensure the way is clear. Unfortunately, the streambed is wide bedrock and the drops do not 'channel up', so it takes a good amount of water to get any depth here. (Expect to do a lot of grunging down rocks.)

This will be runnable only a couple days in spring, or very briefly when the immediate area gets heavy rain.

Directions Description


The put-in/ take-out is located on Siskiwit Falls Road near Cornucopia. There is a small grass pull off near the bridge. Heading upstream, stay close to the river on river-left. (There is a driveway not far from the river, but you can't see the river from it.) Downstream, a short trail follows the river on river-right from which you can inspect the drops. 'Shuttle' is generally carrying up this path to return to your vehicle.

For that reason, instead of showing the 'shuttle', the directions below are defaulted to show the drive from your home zipcode. Use the text-entry box below to input your home (or other starting) address to get more specific drive time/distance/directions to this reach. (Despite the label of 'zip', you can enter lat/lng, street/city/state or most any meaningful location info.)

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Rob

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Matt Muir

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1206568 06/06/16 Rob change to PnH 0.25 mile
1211665 04/02/19 Rob updated image position
1206576 06/07/16 Rob minor edit
1194696 04/09/09 n/a n/a
1202262 05/28/13 Rob minor edits; add drop descriptions (from Hannah)
1196699 11/23/09 Rob Fix/remove broken links.
1205698 12/22/15 Rob change ref.gauge info
1202631 08/29/13 Rob Add link to GoWaterFalling