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The Turtle River flows through Rice Lake from the east to west. It flows north about one-quarter mile from Echo Lake before opening up into Rice Lake at the southeastern part of the lake. About one-half mile due west of the entry point, the river exits Rice Lake and flows about two miles before entering Pike Lake. The Turtle River is navigable upstream and downstream of Rice Lake. According to “Surface Water Resources of Iron County,” the Turtle River is a medium-hard water stream having slightly alkaline, light brown water. It is a tributary to Lake of the Falls and the Flambeau Flowage. It is a warm-water stream with a gradient of about three feet per mile.

Rice lake and the Turtle River are both located within the Turtle River/Flambeau Flowage Watershed of the Upper Chippewa Basin. The Upper Chippewa Basin encompasses parts of the counties of Ashland, Bayfield, Chippewa, Iron, Oneida, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Vilas, and Washburn in northern Wisconsin. The basin has a total surface area of 4,680 square miles and encompasses 23 watersheds (DNR, 2002). The Turtle River/Flambeau Flowage Watershed is mostly in Iron County, but small portions of the watershed like in Vilas County to the east, and Price County to the south.

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