What the heck’s a “flowage,” and why is it called that??

Minong Flowage

All over northern Wisconsin, the term flowage has worked its way into dozens of lake names. Here in northwestern Wisconsin, we have the Minong Flowage, Gordon Flowage, Chippewa Flowage, and Tigercat Flowage—and that’s just for starters. And despite the number of flowages in northern Wisconsin, people who live on any one of them can often be heard calling their home lake simply “The Flowage.”

So what exactly is a flowage, and how did they come to be called that?

A flowage is simply a lake that’s formed upstream of a dam; it’s a regionalism that’s rarely heard outside of Wisconsin. In other parts of the country, especially in the South and the West, a flowage might be called a reservoir. A flowage, like a reservoir, can be any shape and size. Some, like the Minong Flowage and Gordon Flowage, were formed when dams flooded large, sprawling areas. Others, like the Colton Flowage in Washburn County, are smaller and have a simpler shoreline that resulted from the flooding of a long, narrow valley.

Nor is the term’s use universal; even around here, plenty of lakes upstream of dams are simply called “lakes.” Examples include Trego Lake, Hayward Lake, Nelson Lake, Moose Lake, and Lake Namekagon. And then there’s the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes that includes Lower Eau Claire Lake, Middle Eau Claire Lake, and Upper Eau Claire Lake. Each lies above a small dam. Although smaller lakes might have been there from the beginning, it’s the dams that give these lakes their present size and shape.

But why “flowage,” especially when it describes the one part of a river that’s no longer flowing? Webster’s defines flowage as a) an overflowing onto adjacent land, b) a body of water formed by overflowing or damming, c) floodwater especially of a stream. That first definition is key; it’s related to a whole body of real estate law surrounding the concept of “flowage easements,” which grant someone the right to flood land.

Flowage easements are most often granted to the state and federal government, but in the past they were often granted to utilities that built dams for generating electricity. Here in northern Wisconsin, flowage easements were also granted to logging companies so they could build dams for regulating water flow during the spring logging drives. They built dams, the water upstream of the dams rose, and then the water flowed onto the adjacent land. And that’s how we got the term “flowage.”

To learn more about any of the lakes and flowages mentioned in this post, go to the menu above and click on NW WI Lakes & Rivers. And for all your northwest Wisconsin real estate needs, whether you’re buying or selling, call Jean Hedren at (218) 590-6634. www.JeanHedren.com

Gordon Dam
Gordon Dam

Minong Flowage Log Home Sold by Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin

This 4 bedroom log home beauty rests on a quiet point with 400′ of sandy lake frontage on the Minong Flowage. Quality built log home with all the charm, coziness, and character you would expect. 16667 S Erlanson Rd, Wascott, WI. $410,000. Closed 9/7/18.

Represented the sellers. Our services included professional real estate and drone photography by Al Cambronne.

Thinking of selling? Call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin, 218-590-6634. www.JeanHedren.com 

SOLD Wascott WI lake property with enormous pole building, more

This versatile lake property includes an 80 x 40 pole building and an attached, fully insulated 30 x 30 cabin that could also make a great office space.  The four-season cabin has in-floor heating and a wood stove, and a smaller guest cabin has a wood stove of its own.


This 5.5-acre waterfront property is nicely landscaped with fun areas for outdoor entertaining, and near the existing structure there’s plenty of room to build your dream home and then use the current cabin(s) for guests.  Or, use the main cabin as a roomy office adjacent to your home business.  The cavernous pole building has room for RVs, boats, storage, and an amazing workshop.
This is your chance to own 400’ of frontage in a quiet, secluded bay on the narrows between Cranberry Lake and the Minong Flowage.  Boat to either lake for 1700+ acres of fishing & boating fun.  Want more water?  A small creek also runs through this property, attracting abundant wildlife to your 5.5 acres of privacy, woods, and trails.  The property borders paper company and county land.
Please enjoy the videos.  The first showcases this unique property, including the boating channel between Cranberry Lake and the Minong Flowage, and the second features scenes from the Minong Flowage.  To learn more about this unique property, or to arrange a showing, give me a call at 218-590-6634.  Or, you can reach me at jeanhedren@edinarealty.com.

Featured Minong Wisconsin lakes videos

Take a little break and enjoy these videos of Minong Wisconsin area lakes. Minong Flowage, Cranberry Lake, Kimball Lakes, Gilmore Lake.

To learn more about the cabins, lake homes, and lakeshore real estate for sale on these lakes or anywhere in NW Wisconsin, give me a call at 218-590-6634. Or, you can reach me at jeanhedren@edinarealty.com.

Scenes from Totogatic Park on the Minong Flowage, Minong, WI

Here are a few scenes from the Totogatic County Park on the Minong Flowage. It’s northwest of Minong, Wisconsin, nestled in the southwest corner of the 1,564-acre Minong Flowage. The Flowage has a meandering, 24.8 mile shoreline, with plenty of bays and inlets for visitors to explore. (And that’s not even counting 172-acre Cranberry Lake, which boaters can reach by a connecting channel.)

The park features a campground, playgrounds, fishing piers, and a boat landing with plenty of parking. (There are also three or four other boat landings on the Minong Flowage.) Pretty much every campsite is a good one; no matter which one you choose, you’ll never be far from the water. Some campsites, however, offer truly spectacular views of the Minong Flowage.

Please enjoy your visit. And if you decide to stay here in northwest Wisconsin a little longer, I’d be glad to help you find the lake home or cabin of your dreams.
www.JeanHedren.com

Some photos of the July 2016 NW Wisconsin flood

The new Minong Flowage dam is working hard.

0715 mf dam 1 0715 mf dam 2 0715 mf dam 3

Narrows Trail at Gilmore Lake.

0715 Narrows Trail Bridge

Looking downstream on the Totogatic River.

0715 totagatic looking downstream

St Croix River at West Mail Rd.

0715 West Mail Road

Upper St Croix Lake.

0716 boaters beware 0716 submerged dock

Sold by Jean Hedren, Edina Realty. Minong Flowage beautiful chalet, N14220 Island View Rd, Minong, WI

Just sold this beautiful Minong Flowage chalet, N14220 Island View Rd, Minong, WI

This 3 bedroom beauty had an accepted offer within 5 days of listing on the MLS. A well-maintained, year round Minong Flowage home designed for maximum lake viewing on an acre wooded lot.

Sold by Jean Hedren, Edina Realty, Minong, WI. Find homes and cabins for sale in the Minong, WI lakes and recreation area.