Wisconsin Canoe and Kayak paddle from Mauston to Lake Decorah | Lemonweir River Series Part 2
Find a favorite Wisconsin Canoe and Kayak paddle in our Lemonweir River Series on Canoeing and Kayaking!
Lake Decorah, a favorite Wisconsin canoe and kayak trip, and which is actually a flowage of the Lemonweir River, is shallow (maximum depth of 15 feet) and weedy, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t good canoeing or kayaking to be had if you know the route to follow. The trip outlined here is relatively short, as little as an hour depending on wind and route, so it’s ideal for those who have limited time. It also is easily accessible, a scenic paddle in the fall and a great way to arrive at Riverside Park in downtown Mauston to attend Pumpkin Bash, which is on Oct. 14, 2017. Or visit the downtown area of Mauston anytime and take in a cup of coffee at Beyond The Daily Grind, have a beer at one of the local downtown pubs or a soft-served ice cream cones at Gas N Go Mini Mart.
WHAT YOU WILL SEE: In late summer and early fall you likely will see ducks that leave the northland early in the season such as Blue Wing Teal and Green Wing Teal, plus Herring Gulls, Red Winged Blackbirds, and local ducks and geese that are congregating on Lake Decorah for the bountiful wild rice in certain areas. With luck, you might see an eagle catching fish. At the take-out boat landing in Mauston at the Riverside Park there is a covered picnic shelter close to the boat launch and also a toilet facility with indoor flush toilets at the east end (downtown side) of the park toward City Hall.
PARKING AND LAUCH: Put in at Highway 12/16 on the west end of town near North Road at the developed boat ramp. There is a $2.00 user fee for this facility since it has been partially funded by a grant through the Wisconsin Stewardship Program. Parking take-out is at Mauston’s Riverside Park located behind the library on State Street. Please observe the signs for traffic patterns and parking of your vehicle especially if you have a trailer behind your vehicle.
ROUTE: Paddle time is just a little over an hour from the Hwy 12/16 lot to downtown Riverside Park if you paddle right along, but build in some extra time if you can for bird watching, picture taking or fishing. Lake Decorah has bass, northern pike and pan fish.
Most people paddle their canoe/kayak in the cleared lane from the put-in place out to the open channel with weed beds on both sides and then turn right or easterly (look for the Catholic Church steeple). Then follow the open water to channels that meander through the center part of Lake Decorah.
However, if it is windy, it is safe and easier to paddle alongside Highway 12/16 to the high bank area by the mobile home park. Then paddle downstream, staying close to the western shore all the way to Riverside Park. This alternate route is fairly weedy, so it might take a little longer to make the trip.
Near the end, almost in sight of Riverside Park, paddlers also could go along the north shore (river left) and into the canal to go around the island and under the Monroe St. Bridge. Continue around the island and back onto the river across from Saint Patrick’s Schoolyard. From there, paddle westerly or upstream to take out at the boat launch at Riverside Park.
Contributed by Ray Feldman.
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