Winnebago - East Park (Mason City) to Wren Ave. (10 miles)


Winnebago, Iowa, US

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East Park (Mason City) to Wren Ave. (10 miles)

Usual Difficulty I-II (varies with level)
Length 10 Miles
Avg. Gradient 5 fpm
Max Gradient 5 fpm

40793.jpeg


40793.jpeg
Photo of Ryan Donahoe by Matthew Staker taken 04/13/08 @ 1150 CFS

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Winnebago River at Mason City, IA
usgs-05459500 400 - 1500 cfs I-II 00h42m 1470 cfs (running)
A bit high, but still boatable. Gauge (526 sq.mi. drainage) is ~1 mile upstream of put-in. Immediately after the put-in a significant trib adds to the flow, as do numerous smaller others.


River Description

The put-in is in East Park in Mason City. There is plenty of parking available.

You don't have to paddle to far before you head south around a bend and the water starts to pick up speed. As the river turns back eastward, the first rapids appear. Surf and Turf are the first two rapids and provide clean surfing at lower levels with easy eddy service. At higher flows they form into very nice wave trains with big foam and deep troughs for a quick bouncy ride.

You'll have a bit of flat water to contend with before you reach the next feature. You will pass by the water treatment plant on the south side of the river and then you are getting close. Warm-up wave forms up nicely here, but there isn't much in the way of eddy service. At higher flows, you'll have a hard time staying here. Float on down around the corner though and you'll find a much better setup.

Split River has two very surfable waves at nearly all levels, though I am guessing that the small island goes underwater at about 1250 CFS which may kill the perfect eddy that is there nearly all the time. River left is a nice foam wave with an easy slide in and out while River right usually forms into a big glassy wave that is friendly to short and long boats alike. The eddy is a bit harder to get back into from the river right wave, but it can be done.

There is another small wave that forms below this area, but I need to take better notes next time I run the river so that I can map it out correctly. As I recall, it is good for beginners to surf and is easy to slide in with a nice small wave train behind and an easy eddy along river left.

After that, you have some more flat water (but not too much) before you round the bend and come to the Averydale Access. Two different waves form up here with some space in between that makes for easy play in groups. Also, there is a nice parking area right next to the river here for folks who want to park & play or use it as a take out for a shorter run than the full one listed.

If you continue from here, there is only one additional solid wave ahead called Big Gully Rapid, which is a bit of a misnomer as it is pretty much just a river wide solid wave. The float is worth doing, if you have never done it, as you pass along some beautiful low bluffs with quick water. There is usually a small waterfall pouring in on river left at one point, and if you are paying attention, at flows about 1200 CFS you might be able to sneak through a breach in the cliff wall carved out by the river (short boats only I am betting).

After Big Gully Rapid, the river slows down and you have a pretty calm float to the Wren Avenue take-out. The scenery is still nice as you pass by Claybanks State Park on the south bank and there is plenty of wildlife to be seen.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2009-06-01 14:42:56

Editors


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.8'Surf' and 'Turf'N/APlayspot
2.5Warm-up WaveN/APlayspot
2.8Split River WavesN/APlayspot
3.1Averydale Access WavesN/AAccess Playspot
3.2Averydale AccessN/AAccess
7.3Big Gully RapidN/APlayspot

Rapid Descriptions

'Surf' and 'Turf' (Class N/A, Mile 0.8)

Two waves, 'Surf' and 'Turf'. Clean surfing at lower levels with easy eddy service. At higher flows they form into very nice wave trains with big foam and deep troughs for a quick bouncy ride.



Warm-up Wave (Class N/A, Mile 2.5)

There isn't much in the way of eddy service. At higher flows, you'll have a hard time staying here. Float on down around the corner though and you'll find a much better setup.



Split River Waves (Class N/A, Mile 2.8)

Two very surfable waves at nearly all levels, though I am guessing that the small island goes underwater at about 1250 CFS which may kill the perfect eddy that is there nearly all the time. River-left is a nice foam wave with an easy slide in and out while river-right usually forms into a big glassy wave that is friendly to short and long boats alike. The eddy is a bit harder to get back into from the river right wave, but it can be done.



Averydale Access Waves (Class N/A, Mile 3.1)

These are the final play on the short reach (there is one additional wave downstream on the long reach) or, these waves can be done as a park-and-play.



Averydale Access (Class N/A, Mile 3.2)

There is a nice parking area right next to the river here for folks who want to park & play or use it as a take out for a shorter run than the full one listed.



Big Gully Rapid (Class N/A, Mile 7.3)

As Big Gully (a creek) enters from river-right, you encounter a fine little wave. (The name is a bit of a misnomer; this is not really a 'rapids', but a river wide solid wave.)

After Big Gully Rapid, the river slows down and you have a pretty calm float to the Wren Avenue take-out. The scenery is still nice as you pass by Claybanks State Park on the south bank and there is plenty of wildlife to be seen.




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