From Haymeadow Creek to Prairie Dells Road is an excellent stretch of continuous II-III whitewater. Driving to this river through farmland you would never guess this gem existed. An absolutely beautiful gorge with rock formations. Take Hwy. 17 NE out of Merrill for about 9 miles. Turn on old Hwy. 17 and immediately go left on Prairie Road to the dells section and scout much of the gorge. Due to its extremely narrow nature, this river can almost have a "creeky" feel to it. The first drop is at the site of an old, removed wooden dam and is worth a scout (river left). You will see a distinct horizon line and the river constricts not very far after Haymeadow Creek merges with the Prairie. A sweet hole can develop but watch out for the remnants of logs on either side. This is also a great place to practice ferries since the outflow of water is pretty powerful.
From here on down the next mile can go by pretty quickly. Often it's a scramble to grab eddies and many only hold one or two boats. Surfing and play is prominent all the way down but many are catch on the fly. Be sure to always look downstream and see where your next move will be otherwise the run will be over before you know it.
Due to the lack of good eddies and the continuous nature of the water, plus the cold temperature since this river runs in the spring, a swim would not be fun. Walls are very steep (and eroding!) so getting out can be difficult. However, if you're looking for something different to do while everyone else is running the Wolf and Peshtigo rivers in April and May, this is one to check out.
This is one of those rivers that the higher you run it the less fun it is at lower levels. Always a fun short run!
Note: There is really no likely 'maximum' level for this run. The value is set only to suggest a 'high' water level.
Offseason ('Ice') gauge correlations:
2.11 = 100 cfs
3.00 = 286 cfs
3.50 = 431 cfs
4.00 = 607 cfs
4.50 = 810 cfs ('banksfull' stage)
5.00 =1040 cfs
5.50 =1290 cfs
6.00 =1560 cfs
6.50 =1870 cfs
7.00 = ('flood' stage)
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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