The Lower Tamarack River arises in shrub swamps in northeastern Pine County, flowing 41 miles to its confluence with the St. Croix River. Above County Road 30 near Duxbury, navigation is difficult due to numerous beaver dams, but the river is navigable by canoe below this point during periods of high water. The best stretch for canoeing and fishing is from the access at Pine County 25 to the mouth at the St. Croix. Northern pike, smallmouth bass and walleye are present in this river reach, and although uncommon, channel catfish have been sampled. Northern pike and smallmouth bass can also be found as far upstream as County Road 32.
Historically, lake sturgeon from the St. Croix River ran up the Lower Tamarack to spawn in spring. In the early twentieth century an Indian camp was located at the first rapids upstream from the mouth, and sturgeon were trapped between rock dams and harvested. Anglers in recent years have reported catching sturgeon in the spring in the Lower Tamarack, but exact spawning locations have not been documented. There is no open season for lake sturgeon in this part of the St. Croix or its tributaries including the Lower Tamarack.
The Lower Tamarack is listed under the National Rivers Inventory, a project of the National Park Service, Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, as having outstanding scenic value. More information about this program and criteria can be found at the NRI website: National Rivers Inventory
A brief description of the Lower Tamarack canoe route is given on the website of American Whitewater, a national rivers conservation organization. American Whitewater