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★ ★

Fisher River
★ ★

Fisher River

260th Avenue to Brunet Island State Park: There’s potential enjoyment on the part of the Fisher River that conjoins the Chippewa within the boundary of Brunet Island State Park. If you’re a list-maker of rivers you’ve paddled (I admit…

Little Platte River
★ ★

Little Platte River III

Crosscut Road to Quarry Road: Only if you’re a local with time on your hands, intermediate paddle skills, and are just curious enough about what’s north of Quarry Road should you paddle this section. With two-thirds of the paddle…

★ ★

Kewaunee River

River Road to Kewaunee: An off the beaten path slog over downed trees and waterless riffles, this trip offers very few redeeming qualities. After the dam at the Kewaunee Fisheries Facility, the river is wide, flooded, deep and slow.…

Starkweather Creek
★ ★

Starkweather Creek

Touring Starkweather Creek: If you’re looking for a recreational paddle near Madison, there are better options than Starkweather Creek. But if you consider (or reconsider, I suppose) and categorize Starkweather Creek as an urban transportation route, (which in its…

Fox River Illinois Tributary
★ ★

Fox River II

Waterford to Burlington: A suburban paddle by and by, surrounded by highways, bridges, backyards, big box stores, a golf course, and a couple dams, there’s little charm to this section of the Fox River in southeastern Wisconsin but for…

Pewaukee River
★ ★

Pewaukee River

Koepp Park to Bluemound Road: Here’s an example of a one-star paddle that’s given leniency only because of its potential (you’re about to hear that word a lot in this report), and because it was written up in a guidebook…

Bark River
★ ★

Bark River IV

Highway 164 to Merton: A brief trip made even shorter on account of inauspicious conditions – a river that, this far upstream is more like a brook you’d proverbially jump than a stream you’d paddle, and a streambed that…

Menomonee River
★ ★

Menomonee River II

Pilgrim Road to Frontier Park: A despicable section of an otherwise wonderful river on account of its multiple logjams and difficult portaging. While there are some charms to this trip – clear water, a couple rapids, enclosed tree canopies…

Piscasaw Creek
★ ★

Piscasaw Creek III

Denny Road to Squaw Prairie Road: An almost great trip with pretty scenery, fabulous wildlife, engaging riffles and light rapids, alas, it comes with some serious caveats: it’s usually too shallow to paddle, it’s dangerous and it may be illegal.…

Neenah Creek
★ ★

Neenah Creek I

County Road EE to Oxford: This was a personal curiosity that is more quixotic than practical, this upper stretch of Neenah Creek is uniquely beautiful but way too problematic for paddlers. Rating: ☆ ☆ Trip Report Date: April 19, 2015…

Yahara River
★ ★

Yahara River II

Windsor Road to Yahara Heights County Park: A disappointing section of the Yahara River which is fraught with deadfall and other obstructions. This trip will frustrate all but gluttons for punishment and paddling masochists. Rating: ☆ ☆ Trip Report…

Mukwonago River
★ ★

Mukwonago River

Mukwonago to Big Bend: To be honest, this is a fairly boring trip. It has a pleasant beginning but it gets dull and monotonous soon after… and then all the way to the take-out. Rating: ☆ ☆ Trip Report Date: November…

Crawfish River North Branch
★ ★

Crawfish River: North Branch

Fall River to Columbus-Fall River Road: An exploratory trip full of initial promise with riffles, ledges, sandy-bottomed clear water, outstanding wildlife and little development, but also the most neglected and obstructed stream I have ever been on. Eventually, I…

Rubicon River
★ ★

Rubicon River

Saylesville to Neosho: A potentially fun river with lots of riffles, great wildlife and pretty scenery but way too many obstructions and portages – there’s a reason why you’ve never heard of the Rubicon River or at least paddling…

Grand River
★ ★

Grand River

Manchester to Kingston: Featuring a river as beautiful and becoming as its surrounding countryside that is undeservedly mugged by a mind-boggling amount of obstructions, this trip is utterly rich in potential but obscenely robbed of its reward. Rating: ☆…

Puchyan River
★ ★

Puchyan River

County Road J to Huckleberry Road: A monotonous trip through a marshy wetlands that empties into the Fox River between Princeton and Berlin. There are far too many obstructions and really not much “there there” to recommend doing this.…

Maunesha River
★ ★

Maunesha River IV

County Road TT to Canal Road: A sluggish trip upstream and down to the interior of the Deansville Marsh and subsequent mile of the Maunesha River before the lake impoundment caused by the dam in Marshall. This trip is…

Crawfish River
★ ★

Crawfish River II

Olson Road to Aztalan State Park: With not much to look at and slow current, this is a totally fine but mostly unremarkable trip on the Crawfish River, which is usually the case on this river. Rating: ☆ ☆…

Beaver Dam River
★ ★

Beaver Dam River I

Mud Lake Road to County Road G: A quick trip, rich in potential but poor in payoff, this is the last handful of miles of the Beaver Dam River before its confluence with the Crawfish in a sucker-punched part…

Mormon Creek
★ ★

Mormon Creek

Mormon Coulee Park to Goose Island County Park: A quintessential Driftless stream in the heart of the unglaciated hills near the Mississippi River, this creek is strong in potential but weak in payoff. That said, it does have one…

Honey Creek
★ ★

Honey Creek (Sauk County)

County Road O to Ferry Bluff Landing: Honey Creek is a pleasant enough stream that meanders around the Baraboo Range, but unfortunately there are way too many portages to make this a recommendable paddle. Rating: ☆ ☆ Trip Report Date: July…

Black Earth Creek
★ ★

Black Earth Creek II

Blynn Road to Arena: This final few hundred yards of Black Earth Creek, before it meets Blue Mounds Creek and its eventual confluence with the Wisconsin River is a trip unto it’s own, sharing no characteristics with the upstream…

Sugar River
★ ★

Sugar River VI

Albany to Brodhead: Knowing full well that this stretch of the Sugar River is most popular with the tubing contingent, we caught it before tubing season officially began, so as to avoid the crazies. It’s wide and quite unspectacular…

Fox River
★ ★

Fox River I

Swan Lake to Portage Canal: A trip that, in theory, would be pleasant and interesting but in reality, is a dud due to private property and shallow, impenetrable (sometimes disgusting) water. Rating: ☆ ☆ Trip Report Date: May 14, 2014…

Lemonweir River
★ ★

Lemonweir River

Lemonweir to Cliff House Road: More a maze than amazing, this winding, kinky river nonetheless offers a beautiful sandy bottom and clear water, lots of sandbars, some good wildlife, a few impressive rock formations and a genuine hardwood river…

Root River
★ ★

Root River

5 Mile Road to Horlick Dam: This popular section of the Root River flows through Racine (the French word for root) on its way to Lake Michigan. It’s two-halves are distinctly different. The first half is pretty, curvy and…

Maunesha River
★ ★

Maunesha River II

Elder Lane to Twin Lake Road: A repeat trip of this tiny stretch done after heavy rainfall and though the water was up, the deadfall was down, making for an unpleasant return. Rating: ☆ ☆ Trip Report Date: June 13,…

Maunesha River
★ ★

Maunesha River III

Waterloo to Portland: The final leg of the underscored but surprisingly impressive Maunesha River, this trip is unfortunately too deterred by logjams and deadfall to recommend to the weekend paddler. Rating: ☆ ☆ Trip Report Date: May 18, 2013 Skill…

Kishwaukee River
★ ★

Kishwaukee River

Cherry Valley to New Milford: A pleasant paddle in Northern Illinois with publicly protected land just about the whole way, including a gorge towards the end. This trip can be shortened using alternate take-outs. Rating: ☆ ☆ Trip Report…

Bark River
★ ★

Bark River I

Burnt Village Park to Downtown Fort Atkinson: In flood conditions, the Bark is a lackluster endeavor – as a slow river gets even slower and swampier – on its journey to the Rock River and eventually into downtown Fort…