Wildlife of the
Flambeau River Area
The Flambeau is in the heart of ruffed grouse country. In fact, Park Falls is known as the “Ruffed Grouse Capital of the World,” an accolade it truly deserves. Locals refer to these hardy woodland birds as “partridges.” The ruffed grouse, which is about the size of a small chicken, is best known for the amazing drumming sound the males make each spring as they search for a mate. If you hear a low rumble from deep in the woods, it’s probably a ruffed grouse looking for love.
Once nearly extinct in the Northwoods, careful habitat protection and dedicated natural resource professionals have allowed the timber wolf to thrive again. The presence of wolf packs in the Flambeau River region is a testament to the pristine nature of the area. Though the chances of coming within sight range of these shy animals are quite slim, you may have the privilege of seeing tracks and other wolf signs while you make your way down the Flambeau River.
The muskellunge, or musky as it is known by most fishermen, is the top of the food chain in the waterways of the Northwoods. Known for its ferocity and enormous size—the world record muskellunge is nearly 70 pounds—it is one of the most prized of all gamefish. The Flambeau River is home to a large native population of this extraordinary fish. If you see a torpedo-like shadow pass beneath your canoe or kayak, it might just be a musky on the prowl.
Open water and abundant habitat make the Flambeau River home to a large population of bald eagles. Many paddlers have had the experience of following an eagle for hours as they paddled down the Flambeau. Bald eagles build enormous and extremely heavy nests, which require large trees—something the Flambeau River area has more of than almost any other part of Wisconsin. Chances are you’ll get to see an eagle or two while you’re paddling the Flambeau.
The Flambeau River region has an abundance of white-tailed deer. The best chance of seeing a deer feeding or drinking at the water’s edge is in the morning or late in the day when deer are most active. Deer are wary and are quite adept at blending in with their surroundings by remaining motionless and concealing themselves behind trees and foliage. It is not uncommon to pass very close to a deer and not catch sight of it until you see its white tail flashing as it flees into the woods. If you paddle quietly and keep your eyes peeled, you’ll have a good chance of seeing these beautiful woodland creatures.