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Gauge Information

Gauge Description:

The USGS gauge referred to (at Leonore) is about 8 miles upstream of the put-in. It lists drainage area of 1251 square miles, which is only 2-3% less drainage area than at the put-in (and former gauge site) at Lowell. Thus, (other than for the lead/lag time associated with the intervening distance), the gauge at Leonore should generally be quite accurate for determining levels in the whitewater reach described here.

The suggested minimum (500 cfs) reflects the fact that the river is quite broad, so many areas will become quite a scrape below this level.
The suggested maximum (4,000 cfs) is set only to indicate levels above the 'norm'. Somewhere around this level some features will wash out (including Wildcat, normally the biggest drop on the river!), while others just get AWESOME! Thus, many boaters will thrill to see this river 'go purple'.

Most boaters historically have referred to a gauge painted on the bridge at (above) the put-in. There are approximations of the correlation of the Lowell bridge gauge to the USGS Lenore gauge at http://www.rivers-end.org/vermilion/ and http://www.wpr.pair.com/vermilion/

 

There was a USGS gauge at the Lowell bridge for forty years (1931-1971). While the nature of the overall watershed most certainly has likely changed somewhat in the interim (due to increased urbanization) and climate shifts may have some effect, the following analysis from that data period should still have some relevance.

 

Gauge/flow analysis (based on USGS data, 1931-1971, at Lowell)
Drainage area at gauge 1,278 sq.mi.
Minimum daily mean flow during recording period (occurred 1961.02.01-05; 1963.12.21-24) 5 cfs
90% of time flow exceeds 11 cfs
10% of time flow exceeds 3,050 cfs
Maximum daily mean flow during recording period (occurred 1958.07.15) 25,600 cfs
10/90 ratio ('flashy-ness')
(under 3 is quite steady, over 10 is quite 'flashy')
277
Average annual runnable (>min) days per year
based upon USGS historical data and the listed 'recommended minimum' level,
Note: some of those days may be winter, when ice would preclude safe paddling.
128

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Vermilion Approximation
virtual-96843 500 - 8000 cfs II-III 00h20m ~ 173.151 cfs (too low)
Almost certainly too low for reasonable whitewater.
Virtual gauge (if Leonore not reporting) approximates flow as 2.178*Pontiac based on relative drainage. (Might predict flow 24hrs later?)
RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
0 - 500 cfs extremely Low-somewhat Low II-III Almost certainly too low for reasonable whitewater.
500 -1500 cfs barely runnable-med runnable I-II(III) Reasonable beginner/intermediate flows.
1500 -4000 cfs perfect runnable-high runnable II-III Intermediate/advanced flows.
4000 -8000 cfs a bit pushy runnable-high runnable II-III Big-water fun flows.
8000 -12000 cfs somewhat High-somewhat High II-III+ Big and pushy. Fun for strong, advanced-skill paddlers.
12000 -99999 cfs somewhat High-extremely High III+ HUGE! Big waves. Expertly skilled boaters only!
VERMILION RIVER NEAR LEONORE, IL
usgs-05555300 500 - 8000 cfs II-III 00h18m 58.3 cfs (too low)
Too low for a decent run.
Gauge(1251 sq.mi. drainage) is 6.75 miles upstream. Drainage at put-in is 1278 sq.mi., ~2% more, so listed flow should be quite accurate for this reach.
RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
0 - 500 cfs extremely Low-barely Low II-III Too low for a decent run.
500 -1500 cfs barely runnable-med runnable I-II(III) Reasonable beginner/intermediate level.
1500 -4000 cfs med runnable-a bit pushy runnable II-III Intermediate/advanced level.
4000 -8000 cfs a bit pushy runnable-high runnable II-III Big water fun level.
8000 -12000 cfs somewhat High-somewhat High II-III+ Big, pushy.
12000 -99999 cfs somewhat High-extremely High III+ HUGE! Big waves.

Report - Reports of Vermilion Hwy 178 to Ed Hand Hwy. (7.7 miles) and related gauges

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.

Reports

When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
Vermillion River [IL] 39475.jpeg 1165cfs Nathan Anderson
Vermilion [IL] Throwing ends in Wildcat 1200 cfs Erik Johnson
8y164d18h55m ermillion River from undercut rock to Oglesby take out [IL] Vermilion River Closed by Buzzi/Unicem Cement Plant n/a 0
> 10 years Vermillion River [IL] 39479.jpeg 1165cfs Nathan Anderson
> 10 years Vermilion [IL] Vermilion Put-in 2,500cfs Dave Worth
> 10 years Vermilion [IL] Swimming Wildcat around 5ft craig carlson
> 10 years Vermilion [IL] Surfing Wildcat 4 feet Erik Johnson