Smaller sandbars for a few days
Saturday afternoon update: Storms held off today, that was nice! Water levels up north have peaked and should start receding down here on Monday evening into Tuesday. If the current forecast holds, we should have plenty of sandbars for this coming weekend.
Thursday’s rainfall was substantial and statewide. Water levels have come up quite a bit over the past 24 hours and will level off near the upper end of our overnight trip limit for sandbar availability. All overnight trips ending by Sunday shouldn’t have much trouble though sandbars will be quite a bit smaller than usual and the larger ones should expect to have multiple groups camped on them (but still better than camping in a state park campground).
Beyond Sunday into the first few days of the week, it’s likely we’ll rise above our normal limit for overnight trips. That said, while there will be substantially fewer campable sandbars, there are even fewer paddlers. For reference, we’ve got 7 total canoes going out overnight between Sunday and Thursday compared to 116 canoes between Friday and Sunday. All of this is to say that while water will be cresting ~6″ above our limits, there will be places to camp during the week. We should be back below those limits by Thursday.
If you’re a larger group going out this weekend, the following satellite images were taken at similar water levels earlier this season. Good, campable sandbars have been highlighted. Any of these should hold 10-20 people *based on current river forecasts*. Mazomanie to Arena | Arena to Spring Green
Saturday afternoon will be worth watching for weather. Looks like a line of storms could rise north out of Illinois for a few hours in the afternoon. If that happens, be prepared for wind – if you’ve got a cheaper tent with fiberglass poles and no guylines, keep your tent down until the initial gusts of wind pass through (you should be able to get the tent back up before it starts to rain). Use paddles as deadman tent anchors buried in the sand. Tie your tent to a canoe or at least keep an eye on your canoes in case one tries to launch itself into the river. Wind is the biggest cause of problems on the water but it’s easy to mitigate if you’re ready for it. Even just parking your boat under a tarp along a tree lined piece of sand will let you ride out just about anything.
This is why people come here. The sandbars are big, the river is wide, and you’re free to set up camp anywhere that looks good. The river has been protected from development so long that it looks much the same now as it did a hundred years ago. This is legit backcountry camping – no site numbers, no permits, no picnic tables, no nothing. Whether you’re planning the first trip or the fiftieth, our canoe camping page has all of the information you’ll need.
First time coming out? Or maybe just a little fuzzy on the details? Our frequently asked questions page has just about everything people have asked us about at least twice. Odds are, your answer is in there. That said, the number of questions has gotten a little unruly so if you’re not able to easily find what you’re looking for, just ask us!
Just want to come out and paddle a canoe or kayak for the day? We can do that. Bring your friends or family out for a leisurely day of sandbar hopping while maintaining the option to sleep in a real bed afterwards. Arena to Spring Green is our regular day trip section and for good reason – it has the highest concentration of sandbars on the river. Even on the busiest weekends, there is plenty of distance between you and anyone else on the water.
All of us at Wisconsin Canoe have dumped our collective river knowledge onto the pages of our trip planning section. If you have a question about what to do in a storm, the best way to set up the kitchen, how to find the ideal sandbar, or any of a million other things, the answer can be found here. Probably. You’ll be able to get hourly river condition updates, forecasts, packing lists, food lists, tips, tricks, and everything else you might want to know.
The graphs on this page are the result of data collected in real time by the US Geological Survey. We’ve provided the gauge height (river depth), flow rates (current), water temperature, and expected changes in water levels over the next few days or so. This should give you a better idea of what kind of river conditions to expect on your trip and provide a point of reference for anyone concerned with river conditions.
The river trail maps on this page were created and provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. They are the most up to date and detailed maps publicly available. For those of you renting through us, you will be provided with a waterproof topographic map covering your route and containing more specific information regarding your trip (rules, emergency contact info, the nearest bathroom, etc.)
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Why We’re The Best Canoe Company Ever
The Best Equipment
Our entire fleet of 150 Discovery canoes, Manitou kayaks, and Riviera kayaks are less than 4 years old. These boats are made of a heavy duty polyethylene composite that is very quiet, doesn’t heat up in the sun like the standard aluminum boats, and are essentially indestructible. We also provide everyone with comfortable, ski-style life jackets and outfitter grade paddles.
The Best Shuttle System
We transport you upriver at the beginning of your trip where you then paddle back to your car. This way, there’s no need to fast paddle back to a shuttle only to be packed into a bus full of sweaty, sandy people for a long ride back to your car. Instead, when you go with us, you’re free to canoe the river at your own pace, and because your car is already at the end when you finish, there’s no need to wait around. You just pack up and go.
The Best Communication
Your entire reservation can be completed online, we’ll send you reminder emails, give you waterproof maps to take on the river, and if something goes wrong, we have staff on the emergency line 24 hours a day. In the meantime, we are always available via phone, email, text message, and facebook – even twitter if that’s your thing (but really, please don’t use twitter). You can also check our current (literally up to the second) availability when planning your trip and get a guarantee that we’ll have every single one of your boats ready and waiting for you on the shuttle you’ve chosen for the days you’ve reserved.
The Best Atmosphere
Wisconsin Canoe is a bunch of kids living the dream and avoiding the real world. We’re out on the water having fun, same as our customers, which means we tend to be very laid back and approachable. If you have a question or you’re unsure of something, we’ll help and probably won’t even judge you.
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Behind the Scenes
Given his degree in Economics from UW-Madison, it was inevitable that Ryan would be put to use on the business side of the canoe operation. Doing fancy things with spreadsheets is a secret passion for someone that is more often found miles from civilization.
Baking extraordinaire, cancer survivor, and the nicest person you will ever meet. In between collecting life jackets and greeting customers, Amy finished her degree in Rehabilitation Psychology at UW-Madison. More importantly, she has the uncanny ability to put up with Ryan for years on end.
Norah is our first solution to the annual staffing shortage. She is uniquely talented at issuing commands in a way only toddlers can manage.
Finn is the continuation of our long term staffing strategy. While he’s got a steep learning curve ahead of him, he’s already shown progress grabbing canoe paddles and assisting Amy with check-in at the landing.
Inga is the final member of our long term staffing plan. For the moment, she’s on customer service duty as about all she can do is smile and few people can resist the charms of a smiling baby.