Mecan River – Wisconsin [July 2021]

River Paddled: Mecan River

Trip Date: July 23, 2021

Put In

Eagle Rd Bridge

Side of the road parking, leading down to a put in off some rocks, which I did from the upstream left side of the bridge, with a short drop immediately coming on the downstream side.

Take Out

Hwy 23 Bridge

Side of the road parking with a takeout off the rocks on the upstream left side of the river. The next bridge (C) a few miles down has better access to it.

Paddle Length: 8 miles

Paddle Duration: 2.75 hours

Gradient: ~2 feet per mile. Pretty good current with some riffly sections in there.

Here is information on stream gauge readings around the date of this paddle (Note: there is no gauge on the Mecan.):

Our Experience Paddling This Segment of the Mecan River at These Levels

The water level was good. The sandbars were usually under enough water to not be an issue.

Paddling Experience

The current was better than I expected and the water level was solid. The main issue came in all the downed trees in the second half of this trip. A few had to be hoisted and scooted over with two more needing portage, which was fairly easy by walking around in the sandbars.

Natural Scenery

There were only a few houses just off the river and some other signs for private property, along with three bridges between the put in and takeout. The natural surroundings were a mix of grass banks, brush, trees, and some small sand bars, making for nice views while paddling.

Accessibility

There are several access points between the Germania dam and the confluence with the Fox river. The two I used weren't great, with just side of the road parking and access off the rocks, but manageable still. Other access points, both between and before or after the ones I used, were better suited for use.

Eagle Rd - Hwy 23

Planning: The Mecan River is a small river in central Wisconsin that flows southwest into the Fox River.  Mike Svob has two successive trips of the Mecan totaling about 20 miles in his book Paddling Southern Wisconsin.  I chose to use his second trip of Germania to county C when planning my paddling trip.  I ended up using Eagle road for a put in and took an earlier takeout at highway 23 bridge making for about an eight mile trip.

Paddling: The river had a pretty nice current that took you on a narrow and winding route.  Just downstream of the Eagle road bridge put in was a fun class I drop.  The water level was adequate for this rapid and paddling in general on this trip, while the paddling issues pertained to all the downed trees in the second half of this river trip, upon passing the first county N bridge.  From here to the second county N bridge, came a few tight squeezes or passes through small openings to downed trees and one requiring some extra hoisting and scooting to pass through.  The downed tree issues increased from here, with two more hoist and scoots and two portages (thankfully via shallow sand bars) before coming to the highway 23 bridge, which is where I decided to take an early takeout.

Observations: The river was brown but with pretty good clarity where some vegetation could be spotted underwater.  A mix of trees, grass, brush, and small sand bars made up the immediate surroundings to the river.  Only a few houses occurred and a decent ways off the river, while private property signs were spotted at other times.  Three bridges occurred in the eight miles between my put in and takeout, with the last two being good access options.  While out there, I came across three different kayaking groups, totaling eight other kayakers and managed to spot a bald eagle, blue heron, and a duck, along with a beaver, turtle and several deer.

Reflecting: If you take away the downed trees or just make enough room for paddlers, this would be a river trip I’d recommend to others.  Not that the portages were much of an issue with the sand bars there.  They were more annoying than challenging and just made me wonder if more were to come in the last few miles to my originally intended takeout.  But, everything else was solid, from the current to the surroundings and wildlife encounters.

Here are some pictures from this trip: