Badfish Creek V

Old Stage Road to Casey Road
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

There's probably not a creek or river that we paddle more often than the beloved Badfish. In part, because it’s so close to Madison and it offers several put-in and take-out options to tailor the length and variety of the trip experience. But mainly because it’s so pretty, reliable and fun. This might be the best paddle in southern Wisconsin.

May 20, 2012

Class Difficulty:

Cooksville: ht/ft: 4.94 | cfs: 117

Recommended Levels:
This is a very recommendable level.

Old Stage Road, Cooksville, Wisconsin
Casey Road

Time: Put in at 11:15p. Out at 2:15p.
Total Time: 3h
Miles Paddled: 6.75

What we liked:
We paddled our favorite little creek to officially kick off the 2012 season. And it was very much like our last paddle due to almost identical flow rates. It's a relatively clean creek (save for an occasional bloated racoon lying in the water) that meanders it's way through canopy and farmland with plenty of islands and tiny sandbars to get out and relax on. It's rocky at times, sandy at others and the swift current makes for a great day-paddle.

On our way we had another encounter with a deer that we startled while coming around a bend. We also saw cranes, some crazy-looking turkey-like thing and also some carp. The carp surprised us since the water was so low and we had never seen carp in these waters before.

The Badfish was plenty busy with lots of friendly canoe and kayakers enjoying the beautiful weather. Amongst the friendly small talk, we were given a botany lesson from a couple guys at the take-out. They pointed out all the invasive wild parsnip and informed us of the unpleasant rash you will get from contact with the leaves (when the sun hits the leaves, they release the toxin. However, the root is the edible part and is perfectly safe). They both seemed to have extensive first-hand knowledge of the "rath of the rash".

What we didn't like:
The wonderful Leedle Mill Road bridge is gone. It's been replaced by a new state-of-the-art (and rather ho-hum in comparison) bridge. At first glance, the construction didn't seem to affect the drop below the bridge but the current isn't quite the same as it once was.

If we did this trip again:
The Badfish is a favorite of ours and a must-do every year, if not a few times. Old Stage road to Casey road is the best paddle on the Badfish. We'll definitely paddle this in higher water whenever possible and Spring to early Summer is always the best time to paddle it before the weeds take over.

Related Information
Badfish Creek Overview: Badfish Creek Paddling Guide
Badfish Creek I: Route 138 to Murwin County Park
Badfish Creek II: Old Stage Road to Highway 59
Badfish Creek III: Old Stage Road to Casey Road
Badfish Creek IV: Old Stone Road to Casey Road
Badfish Creek VI: Old Stage Road to County Road H
Badfish Creek VII: Old Stage Road to County Road H
Badfish Creek VIII: Old Stage Road to Casey Road
Badfish Creek IX: Sunrise Road to Old Stone Road
Badfish Creek X: County Road B to Sunrise Road
Miles Paddled Video: Badfish Creek II: Old Stage Road to Highway 59
Article: Paddling the Badfish Creek
General: American Whitewater
Good People: Friends of Badfish Creek Watershed
Video: Wisconsin Paddles


View Badfish Creek in a larger map

Miles Paddled Video:

Photo Gallery:

A very muddy put-in at Old Stage Road.

New GoPro rig on deck.

The new Leedle Mill Road bridge.

The drop is less exciting after construction.

Skull island.

Watch out for the wild parsnip at the take-out on Casey Road.

What's a maiden voyage without a PBR?

We're split between Thule and Yakima but I loved this decal addition spotted at the take-out.

Comments (2)

I did this route today, was beautiful! However, since the wind storm we had last week there are several more trees down, especially in the wildlife preserve. I will do this again, but would opt for the old stage rd put-in right now to avoid portaging within the first 10 mins at old stone. Thanks for the great review, very helpful!

Thanks for the note! We can believe that the recent storms have definitely affected clear passage in the Preserve. When we paddled that upper section from Old Stone to Old Stage (Badfish IV), we got hung up many times. We always reco the Old Stage to Casey Road section. Climbing or not, It sure was a great day to be out on the water!

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