Canoed the Kishwaukee on Oct. 16th – 17th...

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Canoed the Kishwaukee on Oct. 16th – 17th...

Postby jerrymeadlucero on Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:34 pm

Canoed the Kishwaukee on Oct. 16th – 17th 2010. The Kishwaukee is a very pleasant river to canoe. High quality water and plenty of wildlife. There are terrific launch sites. The one at Seth Atwood Park is particularly pleasant. We had planned to put in at Belvidere Municipal Park but since the water levels there were reading only 1.5 feet, decided against it. Water levels at Perryville Rd. were reading 5.6 feet, so we started at Baumann Park instead. Even than we ran into numerous shallow sections where we had to walk the canoe through. Overall, it is important to check the water levels. If the water gauge at Perryville Rd. shows water below five feet, I think you will find yourself walking your canoe through very many sections. Though not much discussed, the south channel of the Kishwaukee at were the Kishwaukee splits, shortly after Atwood Park, about 4 miles before the Kish meets the Rock River, is a particularly nice stretch. There are a few strainers in this section that one must be very careful to avoid. And at one point, halfway through this stretch is a line of rocks creating a small rapid that would be better portaged a low water levels. We nearly got caught on the rocks in this rapid and had some difficulty freeing ourselves. Scored up my Old Town Guide 147 in the process. Also, near the Rock River, there are apparently some gun ranges. We heard lots of shooting and weren’t sure where it was coming from. We were a little worried it was hunters. But the number of shots in rapid succession in a confined area led us to conclude it was a range (we assume a safe distance from the river).

The Rock River is plenty deep to paddle without any fear of scraping the bottom. It is still shallow enough however between Rockford and Byron to keep motorboat traffic low, though it does pick up the closer you get to Byron. It is a pleasant river but wide and without the intimate charm and beauty of the Kishwaukee. This section between the Kishwaukee and Byron is not considered one of the more interesting stretches of the Rock and much of the trip you are paddling near Highway 2. Ironically we saw more wildlife on the Rock than we did on the Kishwaukee. The highlight of the trip wildlife viewing wise was the multiple bald eagles we saw near the intersection of the Kish and the Rock. The municipal boat launch in downtown Byron is an excellent place to launch or take out your canoe. It is a quarter mile up river from Sunshine Park near the city’s water treatment plant, just before the railroad bridge, right off Highway 2 or Blackhawk Dr. as it is called in town.

For Kishwaukee River water levels check the following links… ... 0065,00060 ... 0065,00060

Paddling Illinois-Revised (Fourth Edition) by Mike Svob is an excellent guide to all of Illinois rivers and provides excellent maps of the Kishwaukee. However, the maps stop at Seth Atwood park and do not include the section between Atwood and the Rock River I found particularly interesting. It also seems omit an excellent launch or take out site located in Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve on the north side of the River. He does not include maps or any descriptions of the section of the Rock between the Kishwaukee and Byron. The folks at Larsen’s Landing are especially helpful if your looking for info on the Kish…

Other helpful links… ... param=east ... 9017989752 ... Trail.html ... t_list.php
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