Difficulty II+ at this flow (I-II normally)
Length 0 Miles
Flow Range 700 - 10000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 13 hours ago 3100 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/02/2019 12:58 am

River Description

Start your trip at Isle la Cache. A museum there (open 10am-4pm Tu-Sa, 12-4 Su) offers information about the history of the area, and has a (no fee) canoe launch. Each year (usually about the second weekend of June) they have an "Island Rendezvous" in which re-enactors from all over the Midwest come and demonstrate what life was like for Native Americans and French fur traders in the 17th and 18th centuries. Come enjoy the "feasting, playing, and dancing". (See their calendar for other events.)

On the river, the steeper gradient (such as it is) lies in the half-mile downstream of the Hwy.7 bridge, so many boaters will just use that location for 'park-and-play' access.

For additional description, see Chicago Area Paddling and Fishing Guide.

Puting on at Isle a la Cache, you have multiple routes through braided channels. River right is the most common, and there are eddylines by the bridge abutment that are ideal for beginner practice. There is generally good current for the entire reach even at lower flows, but below 1000 cfs, expect to scrape in the wider areas. It's not hard to find riffles and eddys that are ideal for training purposes, but this is certainly not an action packed run.

After passing under the very large Route 7 bridge, follow the second channel from the left bank to get the most whitewater, which is a short set of waves and riffles that could swamp a canoe or rec kayak, but are pretty simple for decked boats. I'll call it class 2, but just barely. If you want to avoid the waves, use a channel further to the right.

After the rapids, an abandoned bridge marks the takeout. The best spot is on the upstream river right side. Avoid the temptation to ride the final riffles downstream of the bridge unless you want to travel several more miles to a boat launch at Briggs Street in Joliet, which is the next access.

Wildlife is very abundant through this stretch, and as of April of 2015, there was a large eagles nest on one of the islands a ways downstream of the put in. The take out is along a nature preserve where wetland birds flourish. It's amazing to see how much heavy industry and nature are intertwined along the river.

Rapid Descriptions

Drainage: 699 sq.mi.

Class - N/A Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Drainage area at our listed put-in is approximately 699 sq.mi. (as calculated via USGS StreamStats Beta software).

Access for park-and-play

Class - N/A Mile - 3.52
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

We are uncertain at this time of the best location for parking and river access, but we understand that boaters use this area to 'park-and-play' the best of the gradient of this reach.


Gage Descriptions

The cited gauge is well upstream. While there is a gauge not far downstream in Joliet, it includes the flow of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal which is adjacent to, separate from, and comes in downstream of Fishnet Rapids.

By some reports, Fishnet is runnable over a very large range of flows, though certainly the degree of play will vary with flow.

Gauge/flow analysis (based on gauge data 1943-10-01 to 2008-09-30 )
Drainage area at gauge: 630 sq.mi.
Minimum mean daily flow during gauge period: 0.5 cfs ( 1953.10.21)
90% of time flow exceeds: 42 cfs
10% of time flow exceeds: 1,420 cfs
Maximum mean daily flow during gauge period: 9,180 cfs ( 1987.08.15)
10/90 ratio ('flashy-ness'): 33.8 (under 3 is fairly steady, over 10 is quite 'flashy')

Directions Description

Boaters wishing to focus on the best gradient may just do the final mile (more-or-less), so may not use the full shuttle route given below.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2000-04-23 n/a Fatality Solo Paddling Read More






David McGovern


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1197797 06/10/10 Rob Add info re: Isle a la Cache (put-in)
1195346 06/06/09 Rob
1195441 06/11/09 Rob
1195647 07/15/09 Rob Add gauge analysis
1199089 12/31/10 Rob minor formatting edit
1203132 03/06/14 Rob Select featured photo.
1208799 01/27/18 Rob minor edit (gauge info)
1204707 06/10/15 David McGovern
1211699 04/02/19 Rob updated image position
1192897 04/01/06 David McGovern n/a