Difficulty I-II at this flow (III normally)
Length 0 Miles
Gauge ROCK RIVER AT NEWVILLE, WI
Flow Range 2400 - 5600 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago ~ 3700 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/02/2019 12:21 am

River Description


At Indianford, in general you don't want to mess with the main width of the dam. Across that whole width, there is large rock rubble (in the landing zone and outflow) which is used to reduce/eliminate hydraulic scouring of the riverbed. However, the left-most part of the dam has releasable gates. Depending upon flow, and which gates on the dam are open, there can be a sweet wave where the outflow from those gates hits the pool below.

Gauging can be a bit funky, since the nature of this wave will depend upon how many (and possibly which specific) gates are open, and also upon the downstream river level. Which is to say, a certain reported flow (or flow range) one time may be producing a wonderful fast playable wave, and at some other time the same reported flows may not produce anything remotely worthwhile!



If you are 'skunked' here, you may wish to check out the area downstream of the lower dam in Janesville, which (reportedly) can offer some tame whitewater/swiftwater practice and play (see 'Rapids' tab and additional photos on Photo tab). Also, when at Indianford, you are not far from the Yahara River and the Badfish River, either of which can offer a nice float trip with some (admittedly generally quite minor) play possibilities.



If neither of those work out for you, you may wish to check out the dam described in the listing at Rockton, IL.

Rapid Descriptions

Indianford dam

Class - III Mile - 0

In general, you don't want to mess with the main width of the dam. Across that whole width, there is large rock rubble (in the landing zone and outflow) which is used to reduce/eliminate hydraulic scouring of the riverbed. However, the left-most part of the dam has releasable gates. Depending upon flow, and which gates on the dam are open, there can be a sweet wave where the outflow from those gates hits the pool below.

Gauging can be a bit funky, since the nature of this wave will depend upon how many (and possibly which specific) gates are open, and also upon the downstream river level.
  (Reported flow was 3440 cfs when photo was taken, and it did not look at all friendly or surfable.)

Janesville, upper dam

Class - N/A Mile - 10

The first dam in Janesville has a hydro plant on river-right (to the left of the photo). The main dam slopes off steep and slams hard into a line of rocks at the base (to disperse the force of the water and reduce hydraulic scouring of the river bed). Between the main dam and the walls of the power-plant, there are releasable gates which allow 'excess' water to pour through. This tongue of water creates a huge surging hole in the river/pool bleow. At the flow in the photo (3440 cfs on gauge), play would be impossible. It is conceivable that there could be some flow at which a potentially playable wave could occur. There is a portage path for canoes to get around the dam and back into the river downstream, so there is convenient access. So . . . has anyone ever looked at this, or put-in and found it playable?

(Listed distance is road miles from Indianford, not river miles.)

Janesville, lower dam

Class - N/A Mile - 11

The second ('lower') dam in Janesville lies immediately under Hwy.51/Center Avenue. This is in a city park, just downstream of a huge rock outcropping with a historical plaque, marking it as the site of the spot where settlers crossed the river, and where the first settler's cabin was built. This rock (significant to the Native American Tribes and settlers alike) apparently is what the county is named after.

The dam is a split-wing affair, the river-left half (to the right in the photo frame) lies perpendicular to the flow (parallel to and under the highway bridge), white the river-right half (to the left in the photo frame) takes a steep angle diagonally downstream. Flow over both 'wings' angles off then plunges into the river below, forming (at almost all flows) a nasty hydraulic. The best advice would be to stay well clear of this area! Do not attempt a run of this dam!

(Listed distance is road miles from Indianford, not river miles.)

Janesville, lower dam bypass

Class - N/A Mile - 11.1

The lower dam in Janesville diverts a certain amount of the flow into a fairly large pond on river right. A couple of releasable gates allow that water to spill back into the main river channel, where it splashes across large rock (to reduce scouring of the riverbed). I have heard second-hand reports of some boaters (at some flows) finding minor entertainment in this area, mostly (I believe) just ferrying in the currents, and perhaps finding some spots deep enough and with current differential to allow stalls and squirts. Due to all the rock rubble in the immediate outflow, I do not believe any playable wave generally forms, or that play in any wave which may appear at some flows would be advised, due to all the submerged rock. We would love to get more information on this locaiton (from anyone who has found worthwhile whitewater boating here).

(Listed distance is road miles from Indianford, not river miles.)

Rockton Dam

Class - N/A Mile - 27.5

A WIDE dam in Rockton dam diverts most of the flow into a canal (to river left). It would take significant (higher than normal late-spring/summer flow) to have enough water passing over the dam to make it anything other than a scrape down the sloping face. It would take a significant amount of scouting, at a wide variety of flows, to find meaningful play here. At the right flows, it is entirely likely there may be a few spots which could offer some play, but there will also be numerous spots which would be just plain nasty (keepy). We would urge great caution for anyone opting to play at this dam on the Rock River at Rockton.

(Listed distance is road miles from Indianford, not river miles.)

 

See separate listing for this location.

Comments

Gage Descriptions

Gauging at this site is a bit complex, dependent upon not only the river flow, but upon how many gates (and which gates) are open on the dam. Which is to say, a certain reported flow (or flow range) one time may be producing a wonderful fast playable wave, and at some other time the same reported flows may not produce anything remotely worthwhile! This is likely to make driving any distance to get to this spot unlikely, knowing there's a good chance of 'getting skunked' even when the gauge (and color-coding here) show the river is at a (theoretically) good flow.

Directions Description


Each location is a 'park-and-play', so you'll carry down to the river, and carry back to your car. The directions below will show how to get between these two dam sites.

 

You can use the text-entry box below to get drive time, distance, and directions to the Indianford dam.

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Rob

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1195676 07/24/09 Rob n/a
1195677 07/24/09 Rob
1195884 08/27/09 Rob Add to description.
1195681 07/26/09 Rob Continued tweaking of new listing.
1195678 07/26/09 Rob
1196390 10/30/09 Rob
1196360 10/26/09 Rob
1195679 07/26/09 Rob
1195680 07/26/09 Rob
1197748 05/28/10 Rob Add comment about Janesville Dam.
1197784 06/08/10 Rob Add Rockton dam
1197783 06/08/10 Rob Add photos and 'rapids' descriptions.
1197809 07/31/10 Rob move info from comments to main body.
1198078 08/16/10 Rob Remove (most of) Rockton data from this listing (separate listing created).
1211658 04/02/19 Rob updated image position
1198080 08/16/10 Rob Cleanup photos; add feature photo.