Note: There are two other Eau Claire Rivers in Wisconsin, and several others across the U.S. and Canada. Even if your French is a bit rusty, you may have guessed that this place name means, quite simply, “clear water.” This particular Eau Claire River is located right here in northwestern Wisconsin, and flows for a little over 20 miles through Bayfield and Douglas Counties.
The Eau Claire River begins in the Eau Claire chain of lakes and flows generally westward until it meets the Saint Croix at Gordon. The Eau Claire River isn’t large, and for most of its length it’s only navigable by canoe or kayak. The main exception, of course, would be the Eau Claire chain of lakes.
And speaking of navigability… Here’s a remarkable feature of the Eau Claire Lakes chain that I’ve never seen anywhere else: a miniature, fully functioning lock-and-dam. The channel between Middle Eau Claire Lake and Lower Eau Claire Lake has a small dam that’s easily portaged around if you’re traveling in a lightweight canoe or kayak. Or, you can use the hand-operated lock. Just large enough for a small fishing boat, it’s a miniature version of the gigantic locks you might see on the Mississippi River.
At the downstream end of Lower Eau Claire Lake you’ll need to portage around the Mooney Dam, where there’s also a small campround. Below here, the river picks up speed and begins to feel more remote. You’ll descend several small rapids and pass under a number of bridges where town roads cross the river. Some are low; be ready to portage or duck. Although older paddling guidebooks show another dam just above Gordon, it was removed a few years ago.
The Eau Claire River provides some great opportunities for paddling and fishing, and on rare occasions homes and cabins do come on the market that are either on the river or overlooking it. If you’d like to be on the Eau Claire or one of the other rivers in this area, I’d be glad to help find the place that’s right for you.
By the way… I’d also be glad to help you find a lake home or cabin on the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes, which includes Upper, Middle, and Lower Eau Claire Lakes. This chain also includes smaller small lakes like Bony Lake, Birch Lake, Smith Lake, Robinson Lake, and Schunenberg Lake. Depending on water levels and the size of your boat, you may be able to follow navigable channels from these lakes to the rest of the Eau Claire Lakes chain.
Looking for a lake home, cabin, or waterfront real estate on the Eau Claire River? Give me a call at 218-590-6634. Or, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.