Paddling the Flooded Wolf River near New London

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.

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.


Paddling and Camping – Big Eau Pleine Flowage

Big Eau Pleine Reservoir is a 6300 reservoir in north central Wisconsin with lots of paddling opportunities along its wooded shores.  There are 11 boat landings on the reservoir where you can get on and explore this stretched out reservoir.

Big Eau Pleine County Park is a 1400 acre park with trails, camping and a couple of boat landings.  The park is on a peninsula in the north central side of the reservoir making this location a good base location for your paddle explorations.  There are a number of campsites that are close to the water and would make great bases for a multi day paddle exploration of this large reservoir.

Enjoy these photos of paddling and camping around Big Eau Pleine County Park.

Wisconsin’s Public Islands

Did you know there are over 500 public islands in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin, with its 84,000 miles of rivers and 15,000 lakes, is full of places to paddle, float, fish, or just watch and listen.

Screen Shot 2013-05-03 at 10.39.56 AM

The BLM has a share in all this beauty, since we manage about 500 islands in Wisconsin’s rivers and lakes. These are the islands that were omitted from the original land survey back in the 1830s and 1840s. We don’t manage all the islands. Many of our islands are close to other state-owned islands or private islands, and it is critical that you determine whether an island is public land before you use it.

Have you visited any of our BLM public islands?

For more information and detailed locations with maps of these island visit the Public Lands of Wisconsin website.


Kayaking Port Washington Wisconsin

By Ken Braband

Here is some information about kayaking Port Washington on Lake Michigan.


Port Washington

South Beach Kayak Surfing Video

The area where the video was shot is a public kayak/canoe launch called South Beach. It’s also becoming increasingly popular for sunbathers and swimmers.

Parking can sometimes be crowded on summer weekend afternoons. A port-a-potty is available during summer months and a public restroom is available a short distance away along the Interurban Trail. Parking can sometimes be crowded on summer weekend afternoons. The beach is immediately south of the power plant on Port Washington’s lakeshore.  Longitude: -87.86968 Latitude: 43.38299

Peter O'Malley riding the waves at Port Washington.

Peter O’Malley riding the waves at Port Washington.

There are about 20 free parking spots in the paved lot. It’s a short carry from the parking to the water, and the shallow sandy beach is good for launching. When winds are from the east, you get a nice area to play in the surf. Surfing waves are usually best in the spring and fall. Be aware that kayaking Lake Michigan requires proper clothing — often a wet suit or dry suit — and proper equipment: a sea worthy kayak with bulkheads and a spray skirt (or float bags and spray skirt if you have a whitewater boat). Recreational boats may be used provided the water is flat and warm and you don’t venture far from shore.


Ken Braband is a freelance writer. His website is . Ken has been kayaking for about eight years. He canoed for about 25 years prior to that. Ken is an ACA-certified coastal kayaking instructor.  He teaches private lessons as well as classes, including at the Door County Sea Kayak Symposium.

Black Otter Lake Kayaking Reflections

Reflections on Black Otter Lakeweedy channel Northeast side of lake

Black Otter Lake is a small weedy lake located in Hortonville, WI. The lake is 70+ acres and has an small island and an upstream shallow area beyond the railroad bridge that can be paddled before it gets too weedy in the summer or after the weeds die back in the fall.

Weed overgrowth is a challenge on the lake during the warm summer months. It’s a fun little lake to paddle if you don’t mind lots of weeds or go early in the spring or late in the fall. The people that live around and manage Black Otter Lake have been trying to do a number of things to control weeds in the lake. This summer they are planning to draw down the water level by 2 1/2 feet in an attempt to get the weeds to die off in the shallows.

Here’s what the lake looks like in April with the normal water level.

weedy channel Northeast side of lake

nearing the railroad bridge - southeast end of lake

shallows west of the railroad bridge

west of the railroad bridge shallow area