Put in on south side of a dike at the end of Wilt Street. Walk past the gates and down the stone road to the river's south channel. (The north channel is all flat water.)
The rapids start 600' downstream of Hwy.3 bridge and continue for 1,500'. Class 1 riffles are followed by a river wide ledge that has a wave to surf. The next ledge is broken with 1.5' to 2' waves.
Scout the next one -- the waves and hole are close together so look at them both. The entrance is a sloping drop of 3' to 4' with some bigger waves and a good eddy on the left. Just below is a river wide hole with good eddies on both sides so you can stop to play. This hole can be a stopper (hard to get out of at some levels), with 500 cfs or a little more being a good play level. At higher levels this hole gets bigger than any on the East Race.
This is followed by a smaller rapid that has a fast chute with a strong eddy line on the right with deep water that is fun to play in. A bit of flat water leads to the take out on river-left at the end of County Road 150 S.
At 2,000 cfs the waves can reach 3 to 4' and the holes get big. Rescue could be difficult and scouting is recommended.
At 2,500 the river starts to go out out of it's banks, with big waves and holes which are stoppers (though they don't seem to keep you). The current is very fast so be careful!
This is a man-made channel which tends to change a bit each year. If the water is high, Rock Creek is a good warm up which uses the same take out.
The following YouTube video shows Markle at 1300 cfs.
A small ledge that has some play spots
This ledge has a smooth surfing wave on river-left
A wave with deeper water and an eddy on river-right
A sloping drop of 4 to 5 feet into some big waves. A good eddy exists at river-left. Scout this from river-left.
A big hole comes quickly after the waves of Big Drop. This can be a stopper at some levels, or a play spot for some at lower levels. (Scout this when you scout Big Drop.)
There is a new gauge!!! posted 5-24-16
We ran this twice now (at 350 cfs and 950cfs). As stated the rapid has changed and we ran it twice recently at two different levels so here is what we found. Big drop & Brian's Hole are really one rapid in my opinion. The rapid is easy to recognize as you can see the river clearly falling away on the horizon as you approach. The combined total drop of the rapid from entrance to final pool is maybe 10-15 feet (two slanting drops of 4' plus some gradient in the entrance and in between the drops). Eddy out on river left to scout. As you approach there are small waves as the gradient increases. We'll call that the "entrance waves". Once through the entrance (if you didn't eddy out), you approach Big Drop, there is a small surfable hole river right at the top about 20-30 feet before the drop which is why we call it the "hero hole". You can play that wave/hole but your roll better be lighting fast if you flip as there "might" be enough time for a roll, and its fast current and shallow. Screwup factor is increased if you play that upper hole and flip. The drop is a slanting drop with a hole at the bottom. At 350 cfs there is a curling tongue on river right that flows towards right of center which was the more hero route. The middle line is pretty straight forward...punch the hole, and left of center is the more conservative route. Catch the eddy on either side (river left is preferred) then run the drop into Brian's Hole.
Brians Hole: Center and right over this drop put you into the meat of the hole. Run center angled to the left and punch / skirt the left side of the hole. Far River left misses the hole at both 350 cfs and 950 cfs. The hole was very retentive at 350cfs, yet very playable at 950cfs. Don't let lower water level fool you on this one, I don't think the classification would change much between 950 and 350. I'll upload a photo.
Although I never ran this before the changes, from what I have head about it, I think with the changes to the rapid, calling it class II is maybe under rated. I would rate it more like a class II+ or III- depending on levels. This definitely has more going on than S-Turn on Big Pine Creek II-III? or Widowmaker II+ on Pipe Creek.
Also we tried parking at the ball field once and hiking up over the levee. Not recommended unless you are park n playing and have to walk back up to your car. Walking down the levee over the big loose rocks was tricky while carrying a boat and it was a longer walk than we thought.
The rapids don't wash out but sometimes the dam down stream can back up and flood them out. (This does not happen too often.) You can check the lake level of J E Roush Lake. If the lake is below 763.6, all the rapids should be showing.
At levels below 1000 most water is in a 25' wide channel on the south side of the river. Above 2000 the river widens to 100' or more. At 2500 the river starts to go out of it's banks and into the trees.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Put in. From I-69 go east on 224, right on 116 to 4-way stop, stay on 116 and take the next right, then left on Wilt and go till it ends. Take out. Go back to the 4-way stop, go left on 3, after you cross the river twice take the first right (County Road 150S), go to the end of this road.
The hole gets huge at 2550 cfs
Big Drop - Josh Struble 9-21-14 at 900cfs
Josh Struble 9-21-14 900 cfs playing in the hole
Wabash Wave 2
Wabash, First ledge
Wabash , Mike
Wabash , Brent
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