The Channel Between Middle Eau Claire Lake and Lower Eau Claire Lake, Barnes, WI
This is the second in an occasional series of blog posts answering an important question: “Sure, the map shows a connection between those lakes. And the fishing guidebook says there’s a ‘navigable channel.’ But can I really get there from here?”
If you’re interested in getting around on the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes, be sure to also check out my previous post, The Secret Passageway from Bony Lake to Middle Eau Claire Lake. And if you’re looking for a lake home or cabin in the area, please check out my current listings on Bony Lake and on Lower, Middle, and Upper Eau Claire Lakes.
As always... Keep your speed down, and proceed with caution. The first part of this channel is navigable by canoe, kayak, small to medium boat, and even most pontoons. But just upstream of Lower Eau Claire Lake, you’ll come to a miniature lock-and-dam that’s only large enough for canoes, kayaks, and small fishing boats. (If you’re in a canoe or kayak, it’s also an easy portage.)
The channel leading from Middle Eau Claire Lake to the lock-and-dam, however, is long enough so it’s worth exploring in larger boats. A fortunate few are able to live along this quiet backwater, where they can still enjoy easy access to 804-acre Middle Eau Claire Lake and 776-acre Lower Eau Claire Lake. (At the moment, I have a great building site available along this stretch of the river. While you’re planning your dream lake home, you can spend your summer weekends in this unique treehouse.)
So here it is... The no-longer-secret passageway from Middle Eau Claire Lake to Lower Eau Claire Lake, complete with photos. Some stretches are shallow, so proceed with caution.
Starting from the west side of Middle Eau Claire Lake, head into the outlet shown at the beginning of this post. Continue downstream, but keep your speed down. Watch for the River Road bridge. It’s high enough for most boats to pass under with no problem—just make sure you’ve lowered your pontoon awning. Next the river widens out again before narrowing once more just above the hand-operated lock-and-dam located at South Shore Road.
The lock itself is about six feet wide and thirty feet long. If your boat won’t fit, and if it’s too heavy to portage up and over South Shore Road, then it’s time turn around. Otherwise, from here it’s just a short distance downstream to Lower Eau Claire Lake.
Coming soon: a closer look at the Eau Claire Lakes lock and dam.