Did you know that there are 84,000 miles of rivers in Wisconsin?! We have rivers of all sizes up here – rivers that run only through our state, and rivers that cross many states. We admire them, fish in them, and canoe them. Here are ten of the top rivers in Wisconsin.
1. Mukwonago River
As you can see from the picture, the Mukwonago River is incredibly clean an clear. It is one of the most biologically diverse streams in Wisconsin. Fun fact: the bottom of the river contains many large glacial boulders. There are many species of fish, including two you don't see all that often: sunfish and starhead topminnow.
2. Fox River
The Fox River starts near Pardeeville, and its mouth is in Green Bay. The river is understood by geologists to be in two parts: the Upper Fox and Lower Fox. In total, the river spans 182 miles. This river has been very important to Native American culture and settlement of Wisconsin. But people were in this river LONG before that. Archaeologists have determined that people were living in the Fox River area as early as 7000 BC.
3. Chippewa River
The Chippewa River flows for about 180 miles, and it goes through west-central and northwestern Wisconsin. The Chippewa river was huge for the logging industry back in the day. Now, it is a wonderful river for kayakers and canoers. And people love to fish for musky, walleye and northern pike.
4. St. Croix River
St. Croix River is about 170 miles long, and it goes through both Wisconsin and Minnesota. It is gorgeous, and it is a National Scenic Riverway, protected by the National Park Service. A lot of people come out here just to enjoy the river, so you can find a lot of nice bed & breakfasts and antique shops along the river. If you're a fan of bridges, there are a lot crossing this river that are must-sees.
5. Mississippi River
Everyone knows about the mighty Mississippi. The Mississippi is so long that it is understood to be in three parts: upper, middle and lower. The upper part is in Wisconsin. As far as vantage points, maybe the best is Wyalusing State Park. This is where you can see the Mississippi's confluence with the Wisconsin River.
6. Milwaukee River
The Milwaukee River is about 100 miles long. It begins in Fond du Lac County and ends in downtown Milwaukee, emptying into Lake Michigan. While you can definitely see the river in an urban setting, there are plenty of opportunities to see it in a more relaxed setting, like at one of the many parks on its banks.
7. Rock River
The Rock River is actually a tributary of the Mississippi River, and it goes from Illinois into Wisconsin. Actually, the river begins in Brandon (Fond du Lac County). There are many places to see this river, but it is really nice to observe it in the Horicon Area (Horicon Marsh, east of Waupun).
8. Wolf River
The Wolf River is 225 miles long, and it is one of the 2 National Scenic Rivers in Wisconsin. All of it is gorgeous, but the designated "scenic" part is 24 miles long. It rises in the Northwoods and empties into Lake Butte des Morts on the Fox River. This river is known for its sturgeon, walleye, and white bass.
9. Menominee River
This river spans 116 miles, and it forms in Iron Mountain, Michigan. Its mouth is Green Bay. Along the course, the river has been converted into a series of large reservoirs. These are considered some of the deepest and cleanest lakes. Where did it get its name? It actually derives from a Ojibwe Algonquian term that means "wild rice."
10. Flambeau River
The Flambeau River is a tributary of the Chippewa River. The Flambeau drains an area of about 1,860 square miles. This river is loved by people who love to get outdoors, including canoeists and anglers. It is incredibly scenic. The name of the river is French, and it means "torch." It may have gotten this name because early explorers saw Chippewa Indians fishing at night by torchlight.
Have you taken an awesome photo of a river? Be sure to share with us on the Only in Wisconsin Facebook page.