Chicago Whitewater Association is a 501(c) non-profit organization. Chicago, Illinois
I'm new to the area and based out of central Illinois. I'm happy to drive as needed to find whitewater (class III-IV; play boating preferred), but I'm not comfortable heading out to new, unfamiliar rivers without a buddy or two.
I'm especially interested in the Vermilion (wildcat) and Dead Carp Drop -- if anyone is planning to paddle either of these (or is willing to make the trip to help orient the new kid), please contact me. Seems like these are my most local options.
That said, I'm up for the drive and would be stoked to paddle something in Wisconsin if there's more interest.
Welcome, the vermillion is too low at the moment but there are groups that go to South Bend, IN. There are a couple play parks in Iowa and of course Wausau, WI. There will be a group of us at Yorkville on Saturday setting up for the Illinois Whitewater Fest which will be on the 14th.
Re the Vermilion, american whitewater shows it as low-boatable at ~640cfs. What cfs do you guys consider to be "in"? (Obviously no one wants to drive several hours to be disappointed, and surf features are tremendously level-dependent). Relatedly, are there any rules of thumb for predicting level changes on the vermilion (e.g., rain in x area tends to have y effect)?
Re Dead Carp Drop, do you know anyone who paddles this? AW photos make it look like fun pnp.
The vermillion gets good around 1000cfs, under that most the features aren't in. Wildcat gets trickier at lower volume. If it rains south of the straved rock area the vermillion will go up since the river flows from south to north. It rises and lowers quickly. I haven't heard of dead carp drop since it's a couple hours south.
It's been a long time, but I ran the Verm at about 300 cfs once. It was doable, but it was not at all a whitewater trip. This was long before the landslide at Wildcat, so that would be entirely different now. I also used to hit Dead Carp Drop in my playboating days. It it a fun park and play spot. If I recall, we accessed it from a Pizza Hut parking lot. It is a dam that has broken down over the years, I'd be interested in seeing if it is still good or if floods have washed parts out.
I live pretty close to the Vermillion and get down it quite a bit when it’s running. I’ll go down at 800-900 sometimes since I’m close but prefer it over 1000. Look for rain in the Streator/Dwight area to bring it up. Feel free to contact me sometime when it’s running, I’ll be happy to show it to you.