Crawfish River - Wisconsin

Date: May 31, 2020; Length: 11 miles; Duration: 3 hours 45 min

Put In: County I Bridge

Side of the road parking. Not a designated access spot at the bridge, but clear enough to put in.

Takeout: Main St Landing (Hubbleton)

Narrow landing on river right with side of the road parking possible.

Paddling Experience = 2/5

A flat, wide, mud banked river doesn't usually make for much of a paddling experience. There wasn't much of a current to top it off, so paddling was more workout than experience.

Natural Scenery = 3/5

Surroundings varied between deciduous trees and more open areas. The river was wide so its surroundings didn't give as intimate of a feeling. At the same time, there wasn't much development around it.

Wildlife = 3/5

Between access points, I passed three country road bridges and only a handful of hunting blinds (not houses). But also surprisingly ran into a handful of kayakers, a couple fishing boats, and groups fishing from grassy banks.

Gradient & Water Level

Gradient: ~1 foot per mile. Not much of a current.
Experience Paddling at this Water Level: Paddling at this water level went alright. There weren't any concerns of hazards to avoid. If anything the water level could have been lower as the river was consistently wide and lacking a current.

Gauge Information

Here is information on stream gauge readings around the date of this paddle (Note: Milford gauge, located 8-9 miles downriver of the takeout of this section):

  • USGS Number = 05426000
  • Discharge Rate = 1470 CFS
  • Gauge Height = 4.77 ft

Overall Experience

This section of the Crawfish River was chosen for what it offered in river length and distance needed to travel off the river. It was about 11 miles of somewhat winding river that helped shorten the distance I needed to hike first off from takeout to put in. I parked in the town of Hubbleton, where there was a narrow landing just off Hwy 19. From here I walked about seven miles west and north along some highway and county roads until I got to my desired put in off the county road I bridge. There was just shoulder of the road parking here and a mostly clear path down to the river.
After inflating my packraft and strapping my backpack down, I was on the river. From the start, the Crawfish was wide and a muddy light brown color and stayed that way. There wasn’t much of a current to, just less than a lake. But it was a popular choice for other people today, as I came across a couple paddlers, fishing boats, and a handful of people fishing from some of the grassy banks. These people on the water likely came from one of the three main bridges that are spaced out between the put in and takeout of this section. And they were likely just visiting because there wasn’t much sign of human development on the river, aside from a handful of hunting blinds, not to mention the “public hunting grounds” signs. As for wildlife, it was pretty scarce aside from some ducks and a small group of pelicans.
Finishing up this section, I was sure not to miss my takeout, as there was both a highway and railroad bridge immediately before it. Taking out on river right at that small landing made for an easy last transition. I ended up around a 3 MPH paddling pace with pretty constant paddling so a workout of almost four hours at that and probably the main takeaway from this river trip.  Still, I’m glad to say I have now paddled on the Crawfish River now, if anything to check it off the list.