Old Stone Road to Casey Road:
The Badfish is a treasure to have near Madison. Higher water levels added to the excitement this time around but would certainly test beginners and therefore, not recommended.
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Trip Report Date: May 30, 2011
Skill Level: Intermediate
Class Difficulty: Riffles (Class I)
Gauge Recorded on this Trip:
Cooksville: ht/ft: 4.97 | cfs: 129
Cooksville: ht/ft: 5.09 | cfs: 85.3
This is a very recommendable level.
Time: Put in at 11:00a. Out at 2:45p.
Total Time: 3h 45m
Miles Paddled: 9.25
What we liked:
We paddled our favorite part of the Badfish yesterday including an extra 2.5 miles upriver of our regular put-in. It was a nice little section that flows through Badfish Creek Wildlife Area but after 4 portages (tree-climbing style) it confirmed that the best section on the Badfish is Old Stage road to North Casey road.
The creek was lower than the last time we paddled but it was still moving swift with plenty of riffles and fun little sections. The major portage from last year has been cleared, so it’s free flowing from Old Stage to Casey.
The same can’t be said for the Old Stone to Old Stage section. The put-in on Old Stone road was nice with ample parking and easy access to the water. Much of the 2.5 miles is straight-forward paddling with few of the twists & turns, little islands and riffles that the Badfish is known for (it is quite pretty though). Not soon after getting into the water you’ll encounter your first of four portages. All have to conquered by climbing over tree limbs since the banks are not easily accessible.
Once you hit the Old Stage bridge, it’s easy paddling. The run below the old iron bridge on Leedle Mill Road is still exhilarating and the highlight of this paddle. We met some nice people who heard that the bridge will be removed this year. We don’t know the reason (it could just be the slow decay of the bridge) but we’ll miss it because it’s such a cool landmark that adds to the beauty of the Badfish.
With highs in the low 90s getting out any water would have been a treat but to be on the Badfish made it a much more excellent Memorial Day.
What we didn’t like:
A water snake seems to have taken residence at the take-out on North Casey road. We spotted him at the take-out while we were dropping off vehicles. We believe this is the same one that we came across last year except he’s put on a few pounds (We also spotted him while we were actually taking out. He politely moved across the creek to give us some room).
Also, the 2.5 miles section through the Badfish Creek Wildlife Area is nice but it isn’t a must-paddle section. And if you don’t like climbing fallen trees (or just simply can’t) you should avoid that section.
If we did this trip again:
We can now say that Old Stage Road to Casey Road is the recommended paddle on the Badfish. It’s best to do it in spring when the water is a little higher and the weeds are still down. We’re truly lucky to have this gem of a creek in our backyard.
Badfish Creek Overview: Badfish Creek Paddle Guide
Badfish Creek I: Old Stage Road to Casey Road
Badfish Creek III: Sunrise Road to Old Stone Road
Badfish Creek IV: County Road B to Sunrise Road
Article: Paddling the Badfish Creek
Good People: Friends of Badfish Creek Watershed