Difficulty II-III(IV)
Length 3.3 Miles
Gauge Rat Approximation
Flow Range 100 - 250 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 47 minutes ago ~ 116.313 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 12/28/2019 8:33 pm

River Description

This Peshtigo tributary is very near to the usual put-in for the popular "Roaring Rapids" section, so could make a good 'creeky' companion piece for that run.

The listed put-in, Partridge Lane, has reverted to a private road at the request of local property owners. All property near this point on both sides of the river is privately held so please DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ACCESS THE RIVER HERE WITHOUT ASKING AND OBTAINING PERMISSION! (In my experience, many property owners here and elsewhere are friendly if you humbly respect their property ownership. Introduce yourself, and what you would like to do, and politely ask permission to park and access the river. While Wisconsin affirms your right to be on the water, you have no right to trespass to get to the river! And, technically, without prior permission, you most likely have no right to set foot on privately owned dry land to scout or portage!) As of this time, the closest known public access is seven miles upstream at the Valley Lake Rd bridge. This distance is reportedly a pretty paddle but is quietwater.

There are three sections of gradient featuring continuous whitewater through several definable drops each.

The first area of gradient rates class III at moderate flows (and could push into IV range when cranked). The river drops 51' in 1/3 mile here starting with a fast technical maze through some big boulders, then feeding into a fast flume around an island. At the present there are several trees blocking all or part of the river and a pair of low footbridges at the island so caution is advised. As mentioned in a comment below, "the island is deeded land and there are burial sites on it, so stay off the island to respect those sites. We were told some previous kayakers had heeded natures call at one of the burial sites". (Added editorial comment: Think, people! How would you feel if you saw someone do that on your parent's or grandparent's graves?)

The second area of gradient rates II-II+, and is somewhat reminiscent of the "Dells" rapid on the Upper Pesh (downstream of Michigan Rapids).

The third area of gradient rates class II-III with more technical boating and one ledge of about 3-4' that creates a fairly big hole that will wake you up.

The sections of gradient are separated by moving water with some riffles and a fair-sized beaver dam with a runnable notch. The final mile down to Harper Rd is quietwater (as is the 1.3 miles from there to the Peshtigo, the almost precisely another mile to the mouth of Otter Creek, and the 0.4 mile more down to the Farm Dam rapids. For any paddlers who opt to set shuttle to run the Rat and the Peshtigo together, your total run length will be nearly 11 miles).

Enjoy the following 'tour' of this run: https://youtu.be/gR0yxQqmLco

Rapid Descriptions

First gradient

Class - III Mile - 0.09
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Island: STAY OFF!!!

Class - N/A Mile - 0.174
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Please respect the property owner's rights and wishes. Stay off this island!!! There are grave sites which should not be violated here! Do your absolute best to practice "Leave no trace" ethics. All it takes is one or two 'bad apples' to spoil it for all subsequent paddlers!

Second gradient

Class - II Mile - 0.75
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

It is likely that the start of  this second shot of gradient may be a log jam / beaver dam. This is a long, low-grade boulder-garden rapids.

Boulder garden

Class - N/A Mile - 1.35
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Not an area of significant gradient, but a significant boulder garden (at least at lower flows).

Third gradient

Class - II+ Mile - 1.7

Again, this appears likely to be headed by a logjam/beaverdam. Partway down this stretch is the 'Wake up' ledge. At some flows, this may prove a bit sticky if you do not 'punch' or 'boof' and paddle away from the landing!


default user thumbnail
bryan foster
5 years ago

Ran the Rat when the Peshtigo gauge read 19.8". This was a good level for the run, the fact that the first set is rather continuous with lots of wood does garner the class III rating. We were able to make it under all of the foot bridges at this level and “wake up hole” did not require much effort to punch in a creek boat. We were able to clear most of the wood, however there was a tree growing in the middle of the very first slot. So I think the river is still in the recommended range up to probably 20-21' on the Peshtigo gauge, then the one foot bridge at the island might become a mandatory portage. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If you don't feel comfortable asking at the put-in you can hike in from Harper road on county land, looks like about a mile as the crow flies, a little more if you follow what look like ATV trails from the satellite photos. We did talk to one of the cabin owners who has had bad experiences with kayakers and other trespassers in the past and is a vigilant watchman of the first island. He recounted a group of kayakers leaving behind a broken paddle and other garbage, probably the result of a nasty swim, but none the less irritating to have trash left behind on his property. The owner also indicated that the island is deeded land and there are burial sites on it, so stay off the island to best respect the sites, as some previous kayakers had heeded natures call at one of the burial sites. Please be as courteous as possible for the many cabin owners on this stretch of river. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The beginning gradient portions of this run is great fun. Once you make it through the first few pitches that tend to hold wood, the rest is boat scoutable. Just keep a close eye on the level of the foot bridge on the left side of the island as it required a full duck to get under. The left side of the island carried more water and had better lines at our level. The “wake up hole” drop is a succession of 2 drops one a a couple feet with a nice flat surf wave and the second a steep drop in to “wake up hole” separated by about 10ft. We had several beaver dams/wood pile ups that required bouncy runs or portages. I would imagine there would be quite the ice dam build up here as well making this run unlikely shortly after ice out. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We opted for paddling right into the Pesh and running the roaring rapids section. It is all flatwater from Harper Rd to the start of Roaring Rapids.

Gage Descriptions

Tell us about this gauge by leaving a comment.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports






Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1214081 12/28/19 Rob updated description
1204514 04/13/15 Rob Add feature photos
1211653 04/02/19 Rob updated image position
1196691 11/22/09 Rob Fix/remove broken links.
1193599 10/15/02 n/a n/a