Chippewa - D) Downtown EauClaire (PnP)


Chippewa, Wisconsin, US

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D) Downtown EauClaire (PnP)

Usual Difficulty II (varies with level)
Length 0.4 Miles

Side Suring Galore....


Side Suring Galore....
Photo of TC by BB taken 05/02/09

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
CHIPPEWA RIVER BELOW DELLS DAM AT EAU CLAIRE, WI
usgs-05365550 2500 - 18000 cfs II+(III) 02h25m 6240 cfs (running)
Intermediated/advanced play boaters (features on river left get sticky, permanent side surf, need to know how to play out of it). USGS gauge (5710 sq.mi.drainage) is at this site.


River Description

In-town park-and-play spot.

There are a couple possible playspots, depending upon flows (See Flow Info).


For what it's worth, assuming the date on the 'feature photo' is correct, the flow would have been in the neighborhood of 6,000 cfs.
(The mean daily flow reported for 2009-05-01 was 7120 cfs, for 2009-05-02 was 6070, and for 2009-05-03 was 5370 cfs).

The following YouTube video (from 'VesperSparrow ') shows one playable part of this very wide ledge:


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-04-04 15:59:31

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Parking: Put-in/Fishing AccessN/APutin
0.1Outflow Wave(s)III+Playspot Photo
0.2Random ledge/wavesN/APlayspot Photo
0.2Stairs (Fishing Access)N/AAccess
0.3Main LedgeN/APlayspot Photo
0.4Stairs (Fishing Access)N/ATakeout
0.4USGS sampling siteN/A
0.5Parking: Gravel LotN/ATakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Parking: Put-in/Fishing Access (Class N/A)

Access to this site is available by passing BETWEEN the two red public works buildings (past the gas pumps, etc), then taking the driveway nearest the river, heading alongside the back of factory buildings to a lot up by the powerplant and dam.



Outflow Wave(s) (Class III+, Mile 0.1)

Dam Outflow

Dam Outflow
Photo by Rob Smage taken 05/31/16 @ 12700 cfs

Depending on which gate(s) are open (and how much), there may be some gnarly waves in the outflow of the dam. The (relative) calm of the pool should allow you to get right alongside the wave(s) for your first ride (or attempt), though you may not be able to break out of flow and return for a second attempt other than by getting ashore and carrying up.



Random ledge/waves (Class N/A, Mile 0.2)

View of Dam to Bridge

View of Dam to Bridge
Photo by Rob Smage taken 05/30/16 @ 12700 cfs

Numerous random scattered ledge/waves populate the right-side of the river, though they are very likely to be 'catch-on-the-fly', one-and-done. At high flows, these can be awesome.



Stairs (Fishing Access) (Class N/A, Mile 0.2)

A set of stairs provides access to the river at this location. This makes a convenient put-in for low-to-moderate flows, when only the lower 'main ledge' is playable.



Main Ledge (Class N/A, Mile 0.3)

View Downstream of Bridge

View Downstream of Bridge
Photo by Rob Smage taken 05/30/16 @ 12700 cfs

At low-to-moderate flows, this is the main playable ledge. At high flows, there is little or no sign of anything here.



Stairs (Fishing Access) (Class N/A, Mile 0.4)

There is a set of stairs which provide great access at the take-out.



USGS sampling site (Class N/A, Mile 0.4)

USGS gauge site: drainage area 5,710 square miles.



Parking: Gravel Lot (Class N/A, Mile 0.5)

Just south of the public works buildings there is a large gravel lot, very convenient to the take-out area.




User Comments

Users can submit comments.
August 11 2011 (2147 days ago)
Nick PritchardDetails
Paddled this for the first time yesterday at 8880cfs and the river left hole was definitely very
sticky. The boil line was way downstream at this level and it was a frowner making it difficult to
get out of. Looks like a lot of fun at a lower level.
July 20 2010 (2534 days ago)
Oggie_MN (151832)
Paddled stretch from Dam to Ledge PnP w/ 3 other boaters on July 17, 2010. River level was 25,000
cfs! Some amazing waves for surfing on river right that took a fair amount of ferrying from river
left put in to get to through large swells and waves. More like ocean waves. Potential hazards of
bridge pillars, not sure of underwater risks but river was super high. Waves intimidating but gave
awesome surf. Difficult to scout due to them being on far side of river. Waves seemed
semi-retentive (spins/back surfing) but able to wash off top easily enough to exit. Recommend doing
float down first to scout before committing. Can do shuttle by foot but it'd be a hike with a boat.
These were catch on the fly features. Eddy access may exist from river right but we weren't able to
locate/utilize any.
May 14 2010 (2602 days ago)
Oggie_MN (151832)
Paddled this on 5-12-10 at 3650cfs. Fun level. Spent 4+hours. Best play on river left right at put
in - small wave for surfing and hole that you could do CC spins in. Upstream side very shallow.
Tried exploring river right but hole/pour over looked a little too munchy and weren't able to get
on wave that was further right.
August 11 2009 (2878 days ago)
x (1)
Main Features........ Ledge Drop; primarily to 2 holes on river left of the river wide ledge (can
explore the rest, but be cautious per se, I have not explored to much other than these 2 holes)
Below 2500 cfs - Low, scrapy, not worth it unless you really want to get on the water. 2500 to 3000
cfs - beginner / intermediate boater level (spins both directions) 3000 to 4000 cfs - intermediate
/ advanced boater level (spins / sider surfing, begins to start hoppping in between these ranges,
excellent fun with the skills) 4000 to 8000 cfs - intermediated advanced play boaters (both
features on river left begin to get sticky, permanent side surf, need to know how to play out of
it) 8000 cfs or above - begins to wash Note; this pre-liminary data, last year we it out here a few
times, this year as well. Secondary features for advance boaters & high levels........2 features up
river from ledge drop & up river from the old railroad bridge. 8000 cfs to maybe 18000 cfs -
further exploration required, only really did this twice this year, but the 2 features have
potential for advanced boaters. Down side no real eddy access & I suspect at really high levels not
worth it. Park 'n' Play - From downtown Eau Claire, take North Farwell St. to East Madison Street,
turn left & follow to Forest Street just before bridge & turn right. Follow Forest Street up river
to the City of Eau Claire Public Works / Utility (red concrete building on left hand side, if you
go up a hill you have gone too far). 2 options for parking, either park in large dirt parking lot
right before shop & walk along river up to the Ledge Drop - or - turn left into 2nd driveway for
City Shop (do not take first driveway, one lane & for Community buses) go past gas pumps & turn
right, either park right next to the Ledge drop which you can't miss, but park going on the road
going to the left that goes up to the dam. One could also drive the left road all the way up to the
dam, Xcel built a fisherman access stair case down to the river & put in their & paddle down to
ledge, play, get out & walk back up road). Note; more exploration is needed, but for now this is
fairly accurate. So, for excellent play boating fun. Just spins & side surfing though, great to
teach beginner play boaters, but no flips for this would be recommended......but, then again, who
knows, I can't flip yet.......Cheers!


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