White River – Neshkoro
There is a public park by the Neshkoro Dam which makes for an easy put-in. Here there are class 1 rapids and crystal clear water with a wonderful red hue. If you put in close to the dam, you can run the rapids.
I made the mistake last year of using the 22nd Ave bridge for a put-in. That’s doable but not ideal. There is a proper landing just around the bend with superior parking and a launching ramp.
Bike shuttle is 3.8 miles with some annoying hills. But manageable. I saw a lot of stacked canoes at the dam and wonder if somebody is starting a livery? If you know anything about this, leave a comment below and I’ll update the review.
Hazards and Log Jams:
None. Bumped into tubers last year who told me they cleared this section out with a Sawzall which is very much appreciated.
River Depth, Navigability and Current:
There aren’t any local gauges and I don’t trust the nearby ones. This is in part due to the two upstream dams and the watershed’s narrow profile (which means it drains faster than fat watersheds). The White was deeper than last year when I paddled it, yet was still probably at an average level. I doubt this river ever gets too small to run, but probably shoots up quickly after a heavy rain due to its small size. This is kind of a one-trick pony river in that you do it for the really cool clear water…so I suggest paddling it on the low side if possible.
It is rumored the Neshkoro dam operator does weekend releases to help out tubers (questionably legal, a possible cause of erosion and not needed IMO).
Current is slow but steady.
Substrate and Water Quality:
Fantastic rocky substrate to start the trip, but this quickly gives way to a mostly sandy bottom with some clay and silt. At times the sand/silt/clay stratify creating cool lines in the river. Water clarity was fantastic and the highlight of the trip. My video illustrates this better than the photos.
Crayfish, clams, dragonflies, ducks, gar, a big fish I didn’t recognize, a couple of snapping turtles, many painted turtles, a muskrat (or beaver), mud daubers and surprisingly just a few geese (snapping turtles do eat goslings, so perhaps geese don’t like to nest here). The mud dauber nests were cool (as always). These parasitic wasps build their mud “organ-pipe” nests with mud and then stuff them with not-always dead spiders to feed baby wasplings. What was unique about these was the color variations…some wasps used more clay than others which created a cool color contrast (see picture below).
This wasn’t in the plans. I had a trip lined up in Southern Wisconsin, but cancelled because of forecasted rain. Instead I was going to do a trip up north (kayaking trick…if there is rain in the forecast find another spot in the state that doesn’t have rain). After 90 minutes driving up north, my car started misbehaving so decided to abort and return home. While driving back (at 30 mph), I saw Neshkoro directly on my route and decided why not, as it was a short trip and if my car was going to die, 6 or so extra miles wasn’t going to make a difference. I’m glad I did as it was a nice trip and my car did ultimately survive back to my place.
Last year I had done a stretch of the White River from 22nd Ave to Hwy D (just downstream from this segment). A mostly pleasant river with terrific water quality and abundant wetgrass. It was a frustrating experience though because a storm was rolling in (kind of like this trip) and I wanted to be off the water as fast as possible. This (and a tough pair of muddy log jams) probably jaded my view of what was otherwise a very nice river. This reviewed section is just 4 miles upstream of that section and is generally superior and more enjoyable.
There isn’t too much to say about this stretch other than it was very peaceful and the water was so clear. Some houses, but this is mostly a wilderness paddle. The banks are much steeper here than downstream and there are some cool red clay banks along the river. Nothing super exotic, but all in all a nice pleasant river and trip.
- Swamp Road to Wautoma Library: (1.94 miles) An interesting prospect with a few log jams. Unfortunately this is scheduled to be turned into a flowage in spring of 2017.
- Wautoma Wetlands Park to the Fire Department: (1.19 miles) A super scenic section but too clogged with jams. Reviewed here.
- Fire Department to Chicago Road: (0.8 miles) A good section with two down trees to circumnavigate. Reviewed here.
- Chicago Road to Cottonville Lane: (2.47 miles) A very nice section. Reviewed here.
- Cottonville Lane to Pine View Road Landing: (2.1 miles) Mostly open flowage paddling, which I assume is uninteresting.
- Pine View Landing to Czech Lane: (4.7 miles) A nice prospect on my to-do list, but will have some down trees and a dam to portage.
- Czech Lane to Neshokoro Dam: (2.64 miles) Probably uninteresting as this is mostly flowage paddling.
- Neshkoro Dam to 22nd Ave Canoe Launch: (3.43 miles) A very good prospect I review here.
- 22nd Ave Canoe Launch to Hwy D: (8.3 miles) A good section that I reviewed here. Liked the stretch, but found the log jams frustrating. Have been told that the main obstructions have been recently cleared out though.
- Hwy D to White River Road: (4.2 miles) A good prospect I had written off due to fear of log jams, but per Tim is mostly clear now.
- White River Road to Mouth on Fox River: (2.1 miles) Am unsure of this stretch and if log jams are an issue?
- Fox River Options After White River Mouth
- You can paddle 1.25 miles upstream to the White River Locks which is a great take-out option
- You can paddle 0.7 miles downstream to Huckleberry Lane where there is a small area for taking out (am not sure this is public or private though)
- Upstream of Hwy T: This leg may have too many logjams. A bigger concern is that the upstream bridge (13th Ave) has a very steep embankment so there really isn’t a good put-in option.
- Hwy T to Hwy 21: 2.2 miles. Very scenic leg with perfect clarity and a number of pine trees. On the downside it is a bit small and obstructed at times. Figure 7-8 logjams total, but it might be worth it.
- Hwy 21 to Cottonville Ave: 2.9 miles. Maybe 6 logjams, but a super scenic stretch with many pine trees. On my todo list.
- Cottonville Ave to Cottonville Lane: 5.0 miles.
- Cottonville Ave to Hwy 22: 2.2 miles. Great stretch with clear sandy water and nice pine trees. Two logjams and one log bridge, but manageable portages.
- Hwy 22 to Mouth on White River: 0.4 miles. Great stretch with more crystal clear water.
- Mouth to S. White River Rd: 1.4 miles. Very nice section with clear water. It’s much wider, deeper and more open that upstream legs. No logjams.
- Cottonville Lane to Pine View Rd: 2.1 miles. Mostly open flowage paddling, which I assume is uninteresting.