The Beef Slough
Logging was a major industry in Wisconsin in the 1800's, and the Chippewa River was a major resource for transferring those logs to the sawmills. One major area for transport was the Beef Slough. Here hundreds of logs passed through the quiet meanderings on their way to the Mississippi. What ever happened to this backwater of the Chippewa?
The Beef Slough today is no where near the the size it was back then. The major cause of this is dams upstream. There are no longer any logs or any water craft passing through it, with the exception of an occasional canoe. The only wildlife that is recognizable is the occasional deer or ever present turkey. It seems in a sense that the backwater has been forgotten a long time ago.
About a year ago a friend gave me a map of the Chippewa River bottoms. It showed the slough from what it looked like about 25 years ago. Not only is the original entrance near Horse Island filled in, but it is entirely blocked off by sand and rock from many, many spring floods. The majority of the intake comes from the entrance of the Little Beef Slough near Ella, and from small creeks that enter it in the bottoms. During summer the Ella entrance is almost blocked off, too, mainly because the river gets so low.
Most of the slough is quite shallow, being no more than a few feet deep. There are, though, some spots in the lower end that exceed that amount. For the most part it is very shallow with slow moving water. The bottom of it consists of mostly sand and silt washed in by small streams.
It's easy to see that this once very important waterway has been long forgotten. With low water almost year round it is rarely visited. Occasionally though a wayward angler stumbles upon it and remembers the once mighty Beef Slough.
This page was created by Matt Larson 3-17-99
This page was edited by Jake Haskins in March of 2004