Crawfish River - Wisconsin

Date: August 27, 2021; Length: 7 miles; Duration: 3 hours 30 min

Put In: Aztalan Park

Parking area with a path leading down to the left side of the water's edge where you're left with a fairly steep put in off the grass bank at this level.

Takeout: Riverfront Park (Jefferson)

Parking area with a landing makes for an easy takeout on the right side of water as the Crawfish enters the Rock River.

Paddling Experience = 3/5

The water was a little shallow at times but not an issue the majority of the time paddling. Obstacles weren't an issue either. The main struggle came in the lack of current (the lower than ideal water level probably didn't help here) and windy conditions that day.

Natural Scenery = 4/5

There wasn't much for development aside from a few bridges towards the takeout. The surroundings were a mixture of trees and open grass marsh making up for the murky light brown water.

Solitude = 4/5

The put in and takeout were quiet, as was time on the water. No other people were on the water or off of it in sight. Access itself was limited until the last couple miles making for more solitude while out there.

Gradient & Water Level

Gradient: ~1 foot per mile. There wasn't much of a current the whole way on this section.
Experience Paddling at this Water Level: The water level could have been higher. It wasn't too much of an issue but there were some shallow portions to try and navigate around.

Gauge Information

Here is information on stream gauge readings around the date of this paddle (Note: located in Milford, WI, about two miles upstream of this trip's put in.):

  • USGS Number = 05426000
  • Discharge Rate = 105 CFS
  • Gauge Height = 1.95 ft

Overall Experience

Planning: The Crawfish River is a small and fairly flat river in southeastern Wisconsin that flows southeast into the Rock River.  Mike Svob has one trip of the Crawfish in his book Paddling Southern Wisconsin, which I used to plan for my trip.  I chose for a put in a couple miles downstream of the one he had, with my seven mile section starting at Aztalan state park and ending at the county W bridge takeout.

Paddling: The river was pretty much flat and thankfully the strong wind wasn’t blowing directly into our paddling direction.  Paddling was a slow process nonetheless, while some areas got noticeably shallow at times but not enough that we ever scraped or got stuck or had to portage.  The river was fairly wide though too and didn’t have much for issues with downed trees or blockages of that nature.

Observations: The river had a light brown color and not much clarity to it.  The banks were typically lined with tall grass and trees and remained undeveloped much of the way.  One bridge occurred in the last couple miles as we were nearing the takeout right before the confluence with the Rock river.  No other paddlers were out there at the time, but some wildlife were spotted, with ducks, geese, hawks, bald eagles, a blue heron, and a few turtles.

Reflecting: This wasn’t a thrilling paddling trip and the lower than ideal water level and subsequent lack of current didn’t help much there.  But the scenery was nice and natural, providing some solitude while out there, so if you’re more about that type of paddling experience, then have at this trip on the Crawfish river.