Otter Creek

Otter Creek is a small farm creek west of Madison.  While logjams plague some of its stretches, a few legs are surprisingly nice for paddling.

Trip Reports

Union Valley Road to Plank Road

Date Paddled: October 31st, 2020
Distance: 2.9 miles
Time: Expect 2 hours

This was a combination trip that included parts of Upper Otter Creek and Blackhawk Lake.  Honestly it was a bit disappointing because of shallow water and strong winds.


Hwy Q to Hwy II

Date Paddled: March 7th, 2020
Distance: 2.8 miles
Time: 1 hour 37 minutes

This was another "roll-of-the-dice" prospect that turned out better than expected.  Otter Creek is a somewhat obscure stream that does attract occasional trout fishermen.  As a paddling prospect it was surprisingly nice with clear water, light rapids and scenic bluffs.


Overview Map

Detailed Overview

Nearby Guages



Sep 5th, 2021 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks for the all info! I definitely want to explore some of those sections you just described.
Sep 5th, 2021 - Cameron James Hanson from Otter Creek Wisconsin
So I actually live right next otter creek on Mill Road. I'm in highschool but I love being outdoors and kayaking especially. Me and my friends have kayaked a large portion of Otter Creek and I just got back from doing a new portion (Conway Road to Highway I). I've kayaked all the way from Highway Q down to Highway I now and the whole creek is beautiful. I love the natural spring you talked about, there's a little walking trail further up the hill if you get out and explore. The stretch from II to Spring Valley was gorgeous and I only had to get out 3 times. From Spring Valley to Conway there's two vet bad log jams, and one of them you cannot get out due to the banks being very steep. (The bridge on Conway is an excellent swimming hole, I recommend actually jumping off the bridge into the water). And the stretch from Conway to highway I is beautiful as well, it takes you past some sandy cliffs, fields, and a lot of woods. The first mile is clear of jams but the second mile is log jams after lot jam. Had to get out of my kayak quite a bit but it was a lot of fun none the less. Just look out for spiders!
Aug 9th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Those flags were yours? I thought they looked really cool...especially when flapping in the wind. Kind of reminded me of Tibetan prayer flags.
Aug 9th, 2020 - Commodore Otter Creek Yacht Club from Otter Creek
The nautical flags across the Otter spelled “Wicked Pissah” when looked at from the north. I took them down this summer after a fisherman referred to the flags a “dirty laundry”. They probably shouldn’t be across the creek anyway. The flags may return on occasion to the OCYC.
Aug 8th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Glad you liked it! I thought it was a neat creek myself and hope to explore more of it in the future.
Aug 8th, 2020 - Zach from Black earth creek
Did this stretch of otter at 53 CFS...beautiful paddle, in my top 5. Definitely could have used a few more inches [I walked the stretch by the spring which was nice because I was able to check that out for a bit]. Water was crystal clear. Regardless of the scraping on rocks it was well worth it. I took out on the north? Side of the II bridge which was very easy.
May 25th, 2020 - Lauren from Badfish Creek
Sure thing. Love your website, by the way. Thank you for what you do!
May 25th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
Thanks Lauren for the update.
May 25th, 2020 - Lauren from Badfish Creek
Launched on Q and ran the creek to Spring Valley Road. There was one tree we were barely able to scoot over about a half to a mile down stream after II. A barbed wire fence spans the creek and all the way up the banks on both sides as you approach the first farm after II. We were able to pull the wire apart and float our boats through. One more tree about a mile after this but was an easy portage. I will also mention that there is a very cranky farmer in the area. He accused us of trespassing and scaring his cattle which was not true. He went on to tell us another paddler came through before us that he told off as well. The stretch from II to Spring Valley is a nice addition but beware of silly locals.
Mar 13th, 2020 - Aaron from Dell Creek
If you do Otter Creek, let us know how it turned out.
Mar 12th, 2020 - Rick Hannah from 6 mile creek
I’ve had my eye on Otter creek for years. Always wondered how the stretch from 130 to the Lone Rock landing was but your paddle sounds much better! Gotta check it out ASAP!

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

Be notified when future paddle reviews go live by subscribing!