Plover River – Wisconsin [July 2020]

River Paddled: Plover River

Trip Date: July 25, 2020

Put In

Bentley Road

Side of the road parking just off the bridge. A narrow landing is located just upriver of the bridge and makes for an easy put in.

Take Out

Jordan Park

A landing is located on river right of the park as the water slows and widens into a Jordan Pond. An easy takeout leads to a grassy area and the park's parking lot.

Paddle Length: 7.6 miles

Paddle Duration: 2.5 hours

Gradient: ~2 feet per mile. Some current to it, with occasional riffles.

Here is information on stream gauge readings around the date of this paddle (Note: Hwy 66 gauge, located at the end of Jordan Pond and just after the takeout to this section.):

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

Paddling at this water level was alright. It's just unknown what the actual water level was as the CFS and gauge height data isn't available. The River had a decent current to it with a few riffles and a class I rapid at this level. There were also lots of downed trees to avoid that would be an issue at other levels as well.

Paddling Experience

This wasn't much of a paddling experience aside from the one rapid around the middle of this section of the Plover. It had some winding to it and a lot of downed trees to avoid. And there was somewhat of a current until the final stretch where the River turned into Jordan pond.

Natural Scenery

It was a mix of wooded and grassy banks and not many houses or bridges. But the natural scenery or surrounding didn't have a feel of anything special.

Solitude

There wasn't much for solitude to this paddling trip. Part of that is unavoidable with it being near to a college town and a viable easy float. I ended up passing three big kayaking float groups and plenty more once it widened out to Jordan pond at the end.

Bentley Rd - Jordan Park

I chose to paddle on the Plover River for its close proximity to the Little Wolf River, wanting to knock two out while in the area instead of just one. So, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot going into this river trip, especially coming off paddling on the Little Wolf with its mix of calm water and rapids on an intimate river surrounded by trees offering just about all a paddler could desire. That being said, I chose to paddle about a 7.5 mile section of the Plover from Bentley road to Jordan Park near Stevens Point. And just getting off the Little Wolf River, I decided to paddle first, parking my car at the put in. Bentley road bridge has side of the road parking, but a cleared area forming a small landing for easy access to the water.
After reinflating my packraft and strapping my backpack down to it, I put in and was now on the Plover River. The river had a light brown color to it with low clarity, likely due to its mud bottom, though I did see some rocks towards the end of this section. This section had a good amount of winding and somewhat of a current, while downed trees were an all too common sight and nuisance to maneuver around. The width stayed pretty consistent until the last couple miles where it really widened out thanks first to remnants of an old dam and then a current dam just beyond my takeout. On the plus side, the old dam provided a fun class I rapid of a run over some big smooth rocks, which you could also portage. The banks of the Plover were a mix of trees and open grassy areas. Houses were uncommon and only one accessible bridge occurred between my put in and takeout, with two other smaller, possibly private bridges in there as well. With the limited access and few houses, you’d think this would generate few other paddlers. But that was definitely not the case, as there were three different big groups of people that I passed in this short stretch of river. I realize now all the ways that this was just inevitable, in that it was a Saturday afternoon, in the middle of Summer, just outside a college town, and an easy float of a river occurring in a stretch between two dams. Somewhere in there I also spotted a blue heron and bald eagle to balance things out slightly more.
The last part of this river trip felt as long as the rest of it though. This was the Jordan Pond part that greatly widens out and slows to a standstill because of the dam just beyond Jordan Park. So many people were out there too, while I stuck to the west side of the pond eyeing up where the landing will be on the right for Jordan Park. Eventually I spotted a dock of a landing, with it being a pond now and took out there after 2.5 hours of paddling. After I deflated everything and packed it in my backpack, I started my hike back to my car at the put in. This was a pretty quick one in, getting there in under two hours and ending my Plover River trip experience. It definitely doesn’t live up to others I’ve done but I’m glad to have now at least checked it off the list.

Here are some pictures from this trip: