Spring has been slow in coming this year and the Wolf River is still flowing with a lot of water. Water that flows over it’s banks and creates new places to explore when flood season is here. We have finally had a series of really nice weather days for paddling and the river was calling.
New London fishing area – heading toward flooded waters
reflections in the marsh
paddling toward a wood duck house in the flooded marsh
leaves are popping on the river
The Wolf River typically floods in the spring around the New London fishing area. This is a nice spot to explore if you want to float beyond the banks of the normal river channel. The New London fishing area is not a regular boat landing spot. Launching from the shore line can be muddy and rocky.
A nice warm April day was a great reason to get the new BIG canoe on the water with friends and family to explore the flooded Wolf River. We started in Shiocton at Hwy 54, paddled up to where the Shioc River enters the Wolf and then were able to go another mile on the Shioc because the water was so high.
We did have to turn Water Lily, our big voyageur canoe around at the old bridge over the Shioc River because the clearance was too low. We took the big canoe through some of the flooded areas and explored in the trees. A red tailed hawk visited us along our journey.
Check out Nature Current BIG canoe journey’s at our new website.
The Lower Wolf River is a great and under utilized destination for paddlers. This section between Hwy S near Stephensville and Hwy M near Hortonville is about 5 miles making it one of the shorter sections between landings.
This section of the Wolf is tree lined and a number of fishing shacks line the river where there are access roads. This time lapse video shows the river at a late summer medium to lower water level.
I like to make this paddle a round trip starting at the landing on hwy M, paddle to the bridge and landing at hwy S and back. If you do this round trip I recommend doing the upstream section first.
Enjoy the video.
Want to see more videos and trip guides for the Lower Wolf River? Visit our Lower Wolf page.
The New London Fishing area is a decent launch and landing spot for paddlers seeking a fun adventure on the Wolf River.
New London Fishing Area
The New London Fishing Area is located about 1/4 mile North of the intersection of Hwy 15 and 45 on the South side of the New London bypass. See the Wolf River paddling map. The bypass runs close to the river and this area was turned into a public fishing area with a dock and plenty of parking. If you want to avoid the big powerboat landing in New London this is a good spot to start or end a paddle. It is unimproved and there is no fee to launch here.
This video is the last few moments of a recent Fox Valley Yakker paddle from Hortonville at Cty M to the New London Fishing Area.
This video was shot when the water is fairly low. The launch area can be muddy and rocky so take care with your footing and your boat.
From the New London Fishing Area Cty M is about 10 miles upstream and the landing at Riverside Park in New London is about 3 miles downstream.
The New London area downstream is generally busier with powerboat traffic. The further you go upstream on the Wolf it is generally less busy with few fast, large boats. The entire river is great to paddle if you don’t mind a few large powerboats between New London and Lake Poygan.
Fox Valley Yakkers meetup paddle from CCC to 156 on the Wolf River on a beautiful Saturday in September.
The Wolf River between the bridge at CCC and the bridge at 156 is definitely one of the prettiest parts of the lower Wolf River. The Navarino Nature Area run borders the river in part of this section. The entire area is left in it’s natural state. There are very few signs of civilization when you are on the river.
CCC to 156 is about 12 miles.
This video time lapse includes a few miles in the middle of the trip. The entire trip was 12 miles downstream on the Wolf.
Check out Fox Valley Yakkers for future meetups.
Newton Blackmour State Trail bridge - just North of Barker Park
The Shiocton area of the Wolf River is nice for kayaking and canoeing. Barker Park south of Shiocton is a great access point to the river. Just a few hundred yards north of the Barker Park landing is an old railroad bridge that is now used by bicyclists, walkers and runners on the Newton Blackmour State Trail. The bridge is interesting and it is also a place with a lot of swirling currents. Pay extra attention when paddling around bridge currents.
The Wolf River around Barker Park is mostly wild and heavily treed along it’s banks with a few homes and fishing shacks. Boat traffic is light in the summer. Most boaters slow down for paddlers on the Wolf River.
The landing at Hwy S is about 6 miles downstream and the landing in Shiocton at the Hwy 54 bridge is only about a mile upstream.
To see more information about the Wolf River visit the Wolf River overview page.
These photos are from August 2011 with the river being a normal summertime low. The look of the river can change dramatically when the water is high. It’s a good idea to check the river flow gauge before you go paddling, especially if it’s been raining in the area you will be paddling.
Paddlers in Northeast Wisconsin have some of the best quiet water paddling around in the Tri-Rivers area. The Wolf River is slow and winds through heavily wooded terrain. There are numerous parks and boat landings throughout the route from Shawano to New London. The Embarrass River is also very scenic and largely undeveloped. While it is not as wide as the Wolf, its current is slower. However, access to the Embarrass is from bridge crossings only.
This map of the Tri-Rivers Nature Area shows access points for paddlers in red.
Here’s is a link to a much larger map ( 5000 x 7000 pixels )
Slideshow of the Wolf River – Hwy F to Hwy 156
More information about the Tri-Rivers area
We recently enjoyed a double kayak downstream journey on the Wolf River with our friends Cheryl and Hoss. Two doubles and 2 couples enjoying a fabulous day paddling down the Wolf River. Our paddle started at Barker Park South of Shiocton after we left a vehicle at the landing on Hwy M.
Barker Landing to Hwy M is about 10 miles one way. With the water still being high from our Spring rains we decided to take a short side trip and went about a mile upstream on Bear Creek before a too small to paddle under bridge blocked our way to Stephensville.
The Lower Wolf River is one of the nicest places to go paddling near the Fox Cities. The Wolf can get busy with fishermen early in th Spring. In the Summer boat traffic North of New London is usually minimal. If you can paddle these sections of the Wolf on a weekday you may be the only boat on the river during the Summer. There are many potential takeout spots and if you don’t mind a little paddling upstream against the current and then returning to your launch spot you don’t even need to shuttle your vehicle.
Double Kayaking Downstream Photos
Map of the Lower Wolf between Shiocton and New London.
April has been a wet month in Northeastern Wisconsin. The records snowstorm in Mid April and the continuing rains are keeping water levels high on the Wolf and Bear Creek, a tributary that runs through Stephensville, WI. The high water gave us more places to explore with the kayaks.
At the landing on Hwy M, North of Hortonville. The concrete part of the launch is just sticking out the water. This is the highest water level that I’ve ever paddled the river. We took a shortcut across a flooded section just upstream and cut about a 1/4 off our our journey this day.
Sitting in my kayak in a flooded corn field looking at the village of Stephensville in the flooded waters of Bear Creek. Bear Creak flows into the Wolf River about 4 miles upstream from Hwy M. It’s easy to miss and would be challenging to paddle if the water is low. During high water like this day it feels like you’re paddling in a forest in many sections of the creek. We went all the way up to the village today, about a mile off the Wolf River.
Paddling through the trees on Bear Creek, West of Stephensville.
The eddies were much larger with the high water in the Wolf. The river is different every time out. It makes for fun paddling and keeps things fresh on the Wolf River.
After a slow start to Spring paddling season the ice finally went out last week on the Wolf River in Outagamie County. The section of the Wolf River between Hwy M in Hortonville and Hwy S. was the first section I decided to paddle in 2011 because it’s closest to home. The river was the highest that I’ve ever paddled it. It makes the current slightly faster and the eddies swirl a bit more but it still only moderate current. A strong paddler will be able to paddle the river upstream which is what I like to do when I’m by myself. I don’t have to shuttle if I paddle upstream as far as I want and return to my put in. On the Lower Wolf this is very doable.
The Wolf between Hwy M and S is about 5 miles by river one way. This is one of the shorter sections between landing spots in this region of the Wolf River. This makes for a good place for a shorter paddle. I decided to avoid shuttling and paddled upstream from hwy M to S. It takes about twice as long to paddle upstream as it does going downstream with the current. It’s fun going both ways.
This is the landing area at Hwy M. It’s on the Southwest corner of the bridge at M. Dam Yankees is right across the river. The river is a few feet higher than it usually is in the Summer. With the kayak I put in at my own spot riverside next to the picnic table because the concrete landing (to the left) was completely underwater anyway and this was closer to my parking spot. Normally the Hwy M landing has plenty of parking but when I returned the parking area was full. Lots of fishermen trying their luck for the Spring walleye run. I saw plenty of fishermen but no fish being caught.
Even with the fishermen and boats on the river the river didn’t feel too busy. I had a couple of boats leave wakes for me to paddle through which is easy paddling for the 17 ft. Storm kayak that I paddle. There are lots of fishing shacks along the Wolf River near the roadways. This picture shows a couple of homes just West of the Hwy M bridge.
Paddling the inside curve on a left hand bend in the river. With the water being so high it’s fun to paddle the edges of the trees that are land areas when the water is normally lower. I glided under many trees and dodged lots of branches mostly on the way upstream, staying out of the stronger current.
Headed upstream on the very high Wolf River. Upstream paddling is not difficult but you can’t make as much progress going against the current. I like to paddle upstream first. That way if I get tired I have easier paddling on the way back. I also like the option of not having to shuttle the car and boat. I get more time on the water and more exercise. The river does not look the same going and coming either. It’s a different experience both ways.
More of the flooded river banks on the Wolf River between M and S.
This is the bridge over Hwy S. Hwy S was my turn around point today. This bridge is approximately 5 miles upstream from Hwy S. There is a landing just upstream of the Hwy S bridge on the Northeast corner. I like to use the road bridges as guides to how far I’ve paddled on the Wolf. This day I completed a 10 mile trip.
Another nice trip is starting at Hwy S. The next landing is at Barker County Park 5.7 miles upstream on the West side of the river or go another mile or so upstream to Shiocton and the Hwy 54 bridge which also has a landing on the Southwest corner of the bridge.