Crawfish River

Generally speaking the Crawfish isn’t a great river for paddling.  It’s slow, wide, and has mostly uninteresting banks.  But there are a few legs worth checking out.

Trip Reports

Udey Dam to Danville Dam

Date Paddled: September 14th, 2019
Distance: 9.5 miles
Time: 4 hours 35 minutes

The Crawfish isn't the greatest of paddling rivers, but there is a nice exception located between Columbus and the Danville Dam that is worth checking out.


Aztalan State Park to Riverfront Park in Jefferson

Date Paddled: August 12th, 2023
Distance: 7.4 miles
Time: Expect 3-4 hours

This stretch of the Crawfish was a pleasant surprise with abundant waterfowl and a number of small boulder gardens.  The highlight of the trip is Goat Island which is home to a small herd of goats.


Overview Map

Detailed Overview

Nearby Guages



Oct 31st, 2023 - Aaron from Dell Creek
From -- Five (5) of our six (6) four-legged Friends of Goat Island passed on to the Great Farm in the Sky this month (Oct 2023). • Each contracted caseous lymphadenitis (CL), a chronic bacterial infection that primarily affects sheep and goats. • CL presents itself with abscesses around the neck & abdomen, eventually impeding the animal’s ability to eat, breath and cognitively function. • No known treatment or cure, but a vaccine does exist, though currently in limited supply. As a result, the FOGI Board of Directors is taking the following preventive measures: • Goat Island will be cleaned of debris, refuse & other areas of potential contamination. • All goats on Goat Island will be “FOGI goats” moving forward. • All goats will be taken care of by the same farm/organization during the “offseason”. If other goats are present, FOGI goats will be kept separated/segregated. • All goats will be inoculated for CL (and other concerning illnesses) prior to visiting the Island. Thanks to the actions taken, thus far, Sweetie-Janester has been given a clean bill of health and will be returning to Goat Island next year as an official FOGI…along with three more.
Aug 16th, 2021 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Appreciate the update!
Aug 16th, 2021 - Shep/Mary Crumrine/Bednarik from Menomonee River/Milwaukee River
Crawfish River from Columbus to Dam at Astico Park/Campground. Saturday 8-14-21. Water as at 82 CFS on USGS gage at Beaver Dam River, the closest one to this section of river. Beautiful trip first hour. Second hour thru 2 miles of riffles there was some dragging. Would have been a lot of fun with about t6 more inches of water. Last section wide and calm. Lots of Blue Herons, Kingfishers, Green Herons, and Egrets. Current is minor as gradient is 0.5 fpm, except in riffles. Camping at Astico Co Park is great home base as the River runs around 3 sides of it. Three areas of riverside camping, esp. for smaller tent or pop-up campers.
Dec 1st, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks for the feedback Karen! Here's the video for readers that you referenced:
Nov 30th, 2020 - Karen Wendt from Columbus WI
I love paddling on the Crawfish. There are frequently downed trees in the early section after the Hy 16 bridge. But we usually manage to find a way through. There is a nice hike at the park. I have some videos on YouTube from a hike and from a paddling trip. Not as complete as your photos. If you would like to view them they are at WENDTWORKS Stories ‘N Flight! Karen
Jul 28th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks for the tips. Your advise is I have recently encountered hole #3 and hole #4 in my red boat :(.
Jul 28th, 2020 - Gary Kutzler from Rock River
Suggestion for future hole in kayak. Years back on a trip down the St Croix river we hit a rock with an aluminum canoe, spun sideways and tipped up river, the canoe filled with water and folded in half. after prying it of the rock we got it to shore. My buddy, a big guy, tried stomping it straight. It straightened out but resulted in two tears just below the waterline. We still had two more days to go. We ended up cutting strips from a garbage bag, tucking them through the hole with a pointed knife and pulling them even. Packed in as many as we could, ended up with a ball of plastic on the inside and outside, still had a little seepage but nothing we couldn't mop up. I believe this would work on a poly-ethylene kayak as long as the repair doesn't hit too many rocks.
Jul 13th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Appreciate the tip!
Jul 13th, 2020 - Nina Dorn from DeForest
Yesterday (06/12/2020) my niece and I put in at Rotary Park in Columbus, planning on kayaking down the Crawfish River. We took out at the Udey dam and put back in after the dam, but there's a huge tree down right around the first bend (you cannot see it) and we got caught in the strong current & tree. Made it out ok, but suggest putting in AFTER the tree or staying in Rotary Park.

How did your trip turn out? Questions or comments? Feel free to leave your feedback.

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