Yahara River VI
Stebbensville Road to County Road H
☆ ☆ ☆
At higher water levels like these, most of what we love about the lower Yahara River, its sandbars and riffles, are nonexistent and the extended section to the confluence of the Rock is much less pleasant.
July 14, 2013
Fulton: ht/ft: 5.61 | cfs: 747
This level is bordering too high. The Yahara loses a lot of its charm in higher water. We recommend between 330-500 cfs on the Fulton gauge.
West Stebbensville Road, Stebbensville, Wisconsin
County Road H (Rock River), Fulton, Wisconsin
Time: Put in at 11:30a. Out at 1:15p.
Total Time: 1h 45m
Miles Paddled: 9
Wildlife: Fish, heron and ducks.
What we liked:
I’ve been meaning to do a properly updated report of this section of the Yahara since the last time we posted about this same route, it was a little misleading. It was more of a booze cruise where we spent a lot of time on the sandbars (and it takes nowhere near the seven hours it took us to paddle that day).
The water was much higher than that first trip (and every trip after it). Gone were all the sandbars and most of the riffles, or what I normally consider the best part of this trip. Nonetheless, it was still a pretty paddle.
The put-in off West Stebbensville Road is a short hike from the shoulder near where the Stebbensville Dam once stood not so long ago.
It was at the put-in where I met a guy with a most unusual kayak, it had a motor on the back. So curiosity got the best of me and I had to inquire about it. It’s made for fishing by a company out in New York, Mokai. I had never seen such a thing. He said it tops out at about 20mph. He caught up with me at one point to show me how it worked before he cruised up the Badfish. That encounter was the most excitement I experienced the whole paddle.
The Yahara was rather ho-hum at these levels and there was very little wildlife. I spotted some fish, a heron perched high in a tree and numerous ducks but not much else. It was just a calm paddle on flat water while the river alternated between 50-feet to 250-feet wide at any given time. The water was its usual pretty green, moving swiftly over a rock and sandy bottom (which is much more apparent at lower levels).
At the six-mile point you encounter Murwin Park on river-left. It’s a nice little park and a popular take-out point for paddlers. Murwin to the Rock River is normally worth paddling because there are still some riffles and sandbars to be played on but when the water is high like this, I’d reco taking out there because it got swampy further downstream. About mile past Murwin, I encountered swampland that bordered on bayou and where I half-expected to hear banjo music.
In fact, at the (muddy) take-out, I came upon four hillbillies (and I’m not trying to be mean, I swear these guys would take that as a compliment) fishing for catfish with stinkbait (dead panfish, bluegill, perch, left overnight to ferment, aka rot, so I’m told).
The take-out opportunites on County H are numerous but at conditions like these, they’re all pretty muddy.
Post-shuttle, I did encounter a lot of canoers and kayakers just putting-in to enjoy this easy paddle on a really nice Sunday afternoon.
What we didn’t like:
I think the aforementioned swamp-like trek towards the confluence of the Rock River is a let down in these conditions. It makes for a muddy take-out and a downer on an otherwise pretty paddle.
If we did this trip again:
The Yahara River is a beauty and a staple of our paddling diet but a shallower Yahara is my preferred Yahara. We’re pretty familiar with this section, having paddled Badfish Creek frequently but now that we have it gauged (something we didn’t record years ago) we know to shoot for it when the water is lower.
At levels like these, I’d paddle the Stebbensville to Murwin section and skip the lower part. If it’s at normal levels, I’d paddle down to County Road H.
Yahara River Overview: Yahara River Paddle Guide
Yahara River I: Stebbensville Road to Murwin County Park
Yahara River II: Stebbensville Road to County Road H
Yahara River III: Stebbensville Road to Murwin County Park
Yahara River IV: Murwin County Park to Janesville
Miles Paddled Video: Yahara River III: Stebbensville Road to Murwin County Park
Good People: Friends of the Yahara River
Guide: Yahara Waterways Trail Guide
Wikipedia: Yahara River
The bike shuttle is an easy ride through Fulton and Farmland with a slight incline here and there. It took a little under a half-hour.
Miles Paddled Video: