Paddle around Astico Park – first time

Inspired by posts in the Facebook group Paddle Wisconsin, we decided to try parts of the Crawfish River we hadn’t realized were canoeable. So, after researching various options on, we set out for Astico Park near Columbus for a no-shuttle paddle and a bit of recon on a warm sunny late June afternoon. An added bonus – we can get there in about 40 minutes from Madison, as opposed to the minimum 1-hour drive required to get to most places we paddle.

After a 40 minute drive via US 151, we arrived at Astico County Park entrance off County TT. We drove through the park before launching and noted that it was quiet and not crowded. This was a Wednesday, and we wondered if the situation would be quite different on a weekend with more people and more beer. We made note of some scenic picnic sites for future reference – perhaps a mid-week picnic dinner and short paddle in the early fall.

Continue reading Paddle around Astico Park – first time

Aztalan was not the plan

Instead of working on our weekend “to do” list, we decided to find a river. It was late in the day so headed for one of the closest favorite spots, the Bark River at Burnt Village in Fort Atkinson. To our dismay, it was totally green with algae and was no place for any kind of enjoyment. We headed for the Crawfish.

Something new since our last visit long ago Continue reading Aztalan was not the plan

Crawfish River from Aztalan after Bark River Abort

After finding the Bark River covered with duckweed, we decided we would try putting in on the Rock River in Jefferson and paddle the short distance upstream into the Crawfish River. However, there was a sign at the old landing on the Rock River in Jefferson that read “For Emergency Personnel Only.” Apparently the public now has to use a different landing 1/2 mile further downstream where big boats more likely to be present, and also we felt it would be too far to paddle upstream to get to the Crawfish. Therefore, we got back in the car and proceeded to Aztalan State Park. Temperature 80° light wind.

Flow Crawfish River at Milford gauge 05426000: 189 cfs. (median ~110 cfs) We later found we had made notes in the margin of Paddling Southern Wisconsin that we “should not do the Crawfish if the flow at Milford is <310 cfs," notes we had made after an Aztalan to Jefferson paddle several years ago. However, we didn't have the book with us, or we might have just called it a day. The trip: In at 4:45 PM, upstream one hour to I 94, out 6:30 PM. Shallow, near-grounding once, glanced off rocks near landing. Wildlife: kingfishers, herons, turtles, plover, swallows, cranes in flight, jumping fish.

Crawfish River North of I 94.

Flow at Milford gauge 05426000: 650 cfs (median 270 cfs)

Put in/take out: Olson Road 1 mile down stream from Highway 19 bridge. Room to park on the shoulder of a short lane. Easy in/out temperature in the 70s

The trip: In at 4:30 PM downstream for 3.5 miles. Turned around 5:50 PM. Out at 7 PM. Minimal current. Headwind made it hard to paddle downstream at times. Tailwind going upstream helped. River very wide and open. No shade. Big RV park at start. More remote after RV park,and the surroundings look prettier where we turned around.

Wildlife: heron, swallows. On the drive to Watertown to check out a possible put-in (no good prospects), we saw cranes, deer and turkeys in a field.

Crawfish – in/out Aztalan State Park

Flow at gauge on Crawfish River at Milford 05426000: 400 cfs (median ~400 cfs) We made a note in the margin of Paddling Southern Wisconsin not to do this river when flow is <310 cfs.

Put-in/take-out: Plenty of parking and bathrooms at the park. Park sticker or daily fee required. You have to carry your boat down a long sloping grassy field to the shoreline put in.  We paddled upstream with a stiff tailwind for approx 1.5 hrs (~1.3 miles) to the I 94 bridge. Then downstream against a headwind back to the put in, which took approx one-half hour.

Wildlife: Deb saw a fox near the takeout!

Note: on 5/26/2007, we did the Aztalan to Jefferson paddle with G&S.