Wisconsin rivers from the road and sometimes kayak

Fox River (Wisconsin)

The Fox River totally in Wisconsin, about 182 miles long, flows from south to north. It is probably better known than the Fox River that flows north to south from southeastern Wisconsin into Illinois. Geographers divide the former Fox River into two separate sections, the Upper Fox and the Lower Fox. It flows through a chain of towns and cities that are often referred to as the Fox Cities, all of which are located in what is known as the Fox River Valley. The Upper Fox flows from central Wisconsin northward to Lake Winnebago while the Lower Fox flows northward out of Lake Winnebago through the city of Green Bay and into the Green Bay.




This is a Google Earth view of the town of Montello, the county seat of Marquette County. Montello hosts the confluence of the Montello River, dammed in town to produce Lake Montello, and the Fox River dammed in town to produce Buffalo Lake. The Montello flows into the Fox River.

The town suffered a flood in June 2008, a flood suffered by many along the Fox River. As a result, the Montello Dam was reconstructed. I have not been able to pin down when it was reconstructed, but my guess is sometime between 2013-2015. Unfortunately, this Google Earth Map is old, taken after the flood but during reconstruction.


This can get confusing, because of nomenclature used. Compass North is to the top of the photo. Montello Lake is to the north and out of the photo. The Montello Lake is produce by the Montello River dam which is at the southern end of the lake, but to the north of this photo and out of the photo. However, after the Montello Dam, the Montello River flows southeastwardly for a short distance and meets the Fox River, the junction shown inside the yellow box.

Buffalo Lake is also out of the photo but to the west. As far as I can tell, the Fox River lock is very old and not in use. I confess I thought it was the dam. Not so. What is called the Montello Dam will not look much like a dam to most of us. It was a spillway for the Fox River flowing out of Buffalo Lake. A new dam and fish passage system has been inserted into the old spillway, creating When this Google Earth image was taken, that dam was under construction.

Let me show you a couple photos I took, having no idea at the time, as usual, what I was seeing.


This is a photo of Buffalo Lake, the Fox River, just prior to her meeting the Montello Dam


This is the Montello Dam. I'll show one more photo.


If you are architecturally inclined, the people building this dam used a "vibrating beam slurry wall" for the first time. Slurry is a special kind of cement. A Vibrated Beam Slurry Wall is a technique that vibrates a beam into the ground. A self-hardening slurry is injected to serve as a lubricant, the beam is extracted, and creates a 4-6 inch panel filled with the slurry as the beam is extracted. Doing this over and over forms a continuous cutoff wall below the surface that we do not see. That is the dam, and in this case water is flowing over the dam. Furthermore, you can see the steps to the right which, along with the dam, creates an environment for fish to pass on without great disturbance.


This shows the lock with a walkway over the span of the Fox River flowing through it. I believe the gates are locked on place. The blue you see through the spaces at the top of the lock gates is the sky's reflection on the water on the other side. In 1930 the US Army Chief of Engineers said this lock as an old crib lock, "unsafe and unserviceable."


And there goes the Fox River on the other side of all this, on her merry way to the Green Bay.


On one of the days I passed through Princeton in Green Lake County, and northwest of the Green Lake, the Fox River had been flooding. It was July 7, 2008. Most of the flooding events in the Midwest occurred in June 2008. On June 7 alone there were at least six confirmed tornadoes in multiple counties of Wisconsin. Green Lake County was hit hard with 4-8 inches in a few days. I have a few photos to show what it was like in and around Princeton.


This is an area behind Water Street in downtown.


This zooms in on the former photo so you can see the river behind the flood area.



This looks downriver from W. Main St. (Hwys 23 and 73) on Princeton's west side.

I paid another visit in March 2015 and took a few shots just a bit south of W. Main St., from South Farmer St.