Fox River- in/out at O bridge

Weekday afternoon paddle on a humid mid-70’s mostly cloudy day with minimal wind. On the way, we checked out Neenah Creek and evaluated several landings.

Flow at Fox River Berlin gauge: 1130 cfs (median ~700 cfs)

Put in/take out: County Rd O bridge, which has an off-road parking area for several cars and a concrete ramp. No bathrooms.

The river is considered boring by some, but we find it quiet and mostly scenic, with great reflections that day.  Nothing wrong with peace and quiet. We went upstream past some cabins and deteriorating docks on the right, then a few houses before the surroundings become isolated as the river bends away from County Rd F. Houses and cabins appear further upstream along Fox River Rd.

The trip: in at 5:00, out at 7:15. There are often fishermen here, but we had the landing to ourselves when we put in. We turned around at 6:15 at the point where Fox River Rd comes within a hundred feet or so of the river. There is a quirky quonset-hut-like building here and some other interesting structures which seem more or less permanent and we assume are used for weekend visits.  There were no other boats on the river until the takeout, where we encountered a couple of friendly fishermen loading their boat.

Wildlife: hawk, herons, swallows, muskrat, red-winged blackbirds, fish jumping. Heard cranes nearby.  Saw some interesting blue berries in clusters which we have yet to identify and bamboo-like grasses on the banks (probably invasive).

Fox River at Endeavor

Put in/take out: Endeavor, public landing off Island Dr.

Flow at Princeton gage: 1080 cfs (median 534)

The paddle:

We put in at 3:00 and headed upstream, which is south on this north-flowing river, on a mostly sunny afternoon in the mid 70’s with a light wind.  The water was high but because of the marshy floodplain the current is always slow and easy to paddle upstream. The water was very clear, with underwater vegetation visible several feet below the surface. As usual, we had the river mostly to ourselves. We did encounter a fishing boat, a family in 4 kayaks, and a pontoon boat. We had a little difficulty finding the main channel just after launch. We headed to the left and in short order realized we needed to cross over to the right to get back to the main channel. We turned around at the campground just past the intersection of County Rd T and Glen Rd. at 4:15 and arrived back at the put-in at 5:00. It was a lovely, leisurely late afternoon paddle mostly through a national wildlife refuge.

Wildlife:

several great blue herons, ducks, a pair of cranes in flight, swallows, ducks, and a couple of seagulls.

Fox River at Lock Rd

Thursday afternoon paddle D&M 82 degrees
This trip is a section of Fox River 2 in Paddling Southern Wisconsin
Flow at Berlin gauge 04073500: 758 cfs (median for this day 700 cfs)
Lv Madison 3:30 PM, put in 4:55, take out 7:15, ar Madison 9:15.

Put in/take out at end of Lock Road, off Huckleberry Rd. Excellent landing with concrete ramp and dock and plenty of parking but no bathrooms.

The trip: downstream for one hour, approx 2 mi. Upstream 1 hour 20 minutes. At least part of this section goes through White River Marsh State Wildlife Area. According to the map, we passed the entry of White River, but we did not identify it. The scenery was pleasant but not as pretty as the Princeton to Lock Rd section. Water level was fine, with no grounding, no blockages, no riffles/rapids. The current is slow so paddling upstream is easy.

Wildlife: many heron, kingfishers, turtles, swallows, ?fly catcher, jumping fish, hawk, plover, one squirrel.
Didn’t identify and treat of white river. Pleasant scenery but not as pretty as Princeton to lock Road section.

Looking for the dam Fox River, White River Park

Fox River: figuring out the mystery of the White River Lock and Dam

We left from the east side of Madison and took US 151 to WI 73.  For the return route, we decided to go WI 23 through Montello, which is about the same time and distance but a slightly prettier drive in my opinion. Also, More Healthy Foods is in Montello.  You should stop there to eat if they are open when you pass through.  Watch out for deer in Marquette and Columbia County in the evening. We always see them along the side of the road.

The Paddling Southern Wisconsin book, which we use extensively as a reference, describes a dam just downstream from the put-in, requiring a portage. On other trips when we took out at the White River Lock landing, we didn’t see any signs warning of a dam.  We returned on a warm July day to solve the mystery of the dam.  As it turns out, there is no dam.  Checking online after the paddle, we found that it was removed in 2004.

The current is slow, the water murky but fairly clean with relatively little duckweed or other other invasives clogging the river. There are no riffles or rapids, and it was relatively easy for two lol’s to paddle upstream, eliminating the need for a shuttle. The river flows through a state wildlife area and feels quite isolated. There are sandy banks where one could take out and have a picnic, but those places are usually too buggy for us.  The banks are mostly tree lined, which does provide some shade.

As on previous paddles on the Fox downstream from Princeton, motorboats were not an issue for us. We did encounter one rude jet ski which did not slow down at all when passing us.  He misunderstood our (ahem) raised hand and responded with a wave.

Overall, this was a lovely trip but not quite as pretty as the section from Princeton to the White River Lock landing.

Put-in, Take-out and Parking

The put-in/take-out at the White River Lock landing is excellent, with a pier and a concrete ramp. The parking lot is large. There are no bathroom facilities.

Details

Getting there: Car distance from Madison to put-in at White River Lock and Dam landing: 69 mi, 1.5 hr.

Paddling Time & Distance: 2 mi downstream, 2 mi upstream. 2hrs 20min (Put in 4:55 pm. Take out 7:15)

Flow at Berlin station: 728 cf/s (mean flow for this day-700)

Temp 82, sunny

Wildlife:

We saw a number of Great Blue Herons and Kingfishers, one of whom seemed quite upset that we were on his river. We also saw turtles, jumping fish, swallows, a hawk, plover and a small crested bird which may have been an Acadian Flycatcher.
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Fox River, Princeton to Lock Rd

Setting: Sunny weekday afternoon temp in the 70’s. We had never paddled the whole section, and we wanted to get out there before the expected motorboat madness of July 4 weekend.

Water level at Berlin: 1180 cfs. Median for July 2 is ~850. There is also a gage at Princeton, which does seem to pretty much follow the Berlin gage. Paddling Southern Wisconsin books suggests the Berlin gage.

Put in: 3:45 pm at the excellent concrete boat ramp in Princeton at the park at the end of Jefferson St. There is adequate parking and a porta-potty.

Shuttle: 5 mi, 15 min. East on Jefferson St, south(right) on Mechanic St, east(left) on Main St/Hwy 23/73, north (left) at the Piggly Wiggly onto Hwy 3, which is or becomes County Rd J.  Continue straight north on Huckleberry Rd at the somewhat scary intersection where J turns east. After about 2.5 mi on Huckleberry Rd, Lock Rd is a left turn at the brown DNR sign for the White River/Fox River Fishery Area.  The large parking lot is at the end of Lock Rd.

The Paddle:  Gentle current and mostly isolated wooded surroundings. We passed the St Marie Rd put-in/take-out on the left which we had used for a no-shuttle paddle last year. We paddled a short distance into a creek (Black Creek?) which entered from the left about 3 mi from the put in . Some day, with water levels no lower, it might be fun to see how far we could paddle upstream into the creek.

Take out: 5:50 pm at the excellent concrete ramp at the old White River lock and dam site.

Wildlife: heron, swallows, many kingfishers and flycatchers.

Length: 6 miles

Fox River – Princeton to Lock Rd

This trip is a segment of Fox River 2 in Paddling Southern Wisconsin
D,M & P with shuttle.
Flow at Berlin gauge 04073500: 1180 cfs (median for this day 850 cfs)

Put in Princeton city park at 3:45. Concrete ramp, plenty of parking, porta-john.
Take out Lock Road at White River Lock and Dam site. There is no dam to portage here-Paddling Southern Wisconsin is apparently wrong about this. The take out has a concrete ramp and a dock. Plenty of parking, no bathrooms.

The trip: 6-miles, about 2 hours, easy paddle, mostly wild quiet surroundings, no grounding or blockages or riffles/rapids.

Wildlife: kingfishers, flycatchers, swallows, heron.

Fox River in/out County Highway O Bridge

Flow at Berlin gauge 04073500: 1610 cfs (median approx 960 cfs)

Put in/take out: County Highway O bridge. OK landing. Room to park several cars. No bathrooms.

The trip: We stopped at a nearby nursery on the way and put in at approx 5 pm. Paddled downstream for approximately 3.5 miles. Turned around at house on downstream left bank. Took out approximately 8 PM. Pleasant day, not too warm or windy. Water level OK.

Wildlife: a few cranes.

Fox River – Princeton

This was our first of many visits to the Fox River north of Princeton

Flow at gauge 04073500 Fox River at Berlin: 1450 cfs (median for this date 780 cfs)

Put in/take out at end of St. Marie Road (no concrete ramp but easy put in and room to park a few cars – no facilities) Went right, upstream (which is south because the Fox flows north) to Highway 23 bridge in Princeton by city park and ice cream shop, then back downstream. Beautiful quiet 1.5-hour paddle, through mostly wooded wild surroundings, under an interesting old railroad bridge that used to swivel. Water fairly high.

Wildlife: lots of kingfishers, one eagle, cranes

Afterward drove to Montello to have dinner and hear Joy play at More Healthy Food.