Canoeing in Shallow Water

no comparison
a short pole will let you back up, go sideways etc., all those little things that help finding a route thru the rock gardens.

Are we talking about rivers or flat water paddling? And would a pole be that useful in flat water? Joe

llamo river

– Last Updated: Apr-11-08 9:04 AM EST –

shallow and rocky. First of may. At least that's WHAT MJAMJA SAYS ABOVE ;-).
Poles can be useful in flatwater, as long as the bottom is rocky. Special adapters (mudfoot) available for muddy bottoms, but my opinion is if the bottoms mud the paddles not getting beat up, and mud poling can get messy, especially if swapping ends while poling. "look dad, it's raining leaves" if you get my drift :-)

Llano R
Hey mjamja, Which stretch of the river do yall plan to paddle? The stretch from Junction to Yates Crossing should be A-OK at the current level. Avoid the stretch from Yates to Whites Crossing at less than 200cfs. Whites to Martins Crossing should be ok after the first 1/8th mile or so. Martins to Hwy 87 should be ok except for the last 3/4 mile. Hwy 87 to Castell should be ok. Wouldn’t recommend paddling from Castell to Llano or Llano to Kingsland at this level

Not sure of section
We are camping at Llano River SP. Trip is organized by others and I am kind of last minute addition since I just got the canoe. I think last year they just paddled the section from the park to Junction on the South Fork of Llano.

I am pretty sure that it was the section from Junction to the highway 385 that my friend paddled a couple of weeks ago at about 150 cfs. I could not find Yates, White’s or Martin’s crossing in my Texas Rivers and Stream Llano info. Could you give me highway or road numbers or approximate river miles from Junction for those crossings so I get a better idea of where you are talking about?


difference between Llano and South Llano
There’s the Llano River and the South Llano River. The State Park is located on the South Llano. If you couldn’t find info you were looking for in the Rivers and Rapids book…look under South Llano instead of Llano.

I paddled from the 2nd crossing to the state park several years ago. If you put in at the 2nd crossing on Hwy 377, it is 11.2 miles to the park. If you put in at the 1st crossing, it is a little less than 10 miles to the state park. It is a lovely stream. It was summertime and there were some low spots, but I don’t think you’ll have any problems. The South Llano is spring fed and I’ve heard that there is usually plenty of water unless it’s been an extremely prolonged dry spell.

Here’s a link for maps and info:

Here ya go
The South Llano State Park is a great one. Lots of deer and turkey. Lots of people too on weekends. The South Llano River is a real nice float.

Last September I paddled the entire length of the Llano River. Here are the road crossings and mileage for the main Llano: Junction to Fm 385(Yates Crossing) 19 miles. You can take out at Kimble County Rd. 314 (Grobe Crossing) at 14 miles if you prefer.

FM 385 to FM 1871 (Whites Crossing) 20 miles- The last 14 miles of this stretch are very shallow and rocky. Do not attempt at under 200cfs

FM1871 to Fm 2389 (James River Crossing) is 4 miles. First 1/8th miles shallow, after that ok.

FM2389 to Martins Crossing (FM or County Road 1723) 7 miles Awesome bluffs on this stretch.

Martins Crossing to Hwy 87 4 miles- last 3/4 mile is one huge boulder garden. Shallow and Rocky

Hwy 87 to Castell- 12 miles Last quarter mile shallow boulder garden

Castell to Llano- 18 miles low water crossings at mile 5 and 10. big dams at mile 16 and 18 Lots of shallow boulder gardens.

Llano to Kingsland Slab 16 miles - very shallow and Rocky. Two low water crossings miles 6 and 7. Big arse rapid at mile 15.

Hope that helps. I love that river.

Yall may be running the South Llano. That is a great float too. Have fun.

Then get a bigger boat…
or paddle another waterway.

Poles for Flatwater
Poles do work quite well in flatwater, deepwaters as well. Quite often on a river that is suddenly deep then shallow can be frustrating. With a pole you can go up river/downriver but those deep water spots can be a bear. So here’s what you do. From whatever position, kneeling/standing/sitting, you use the pole like a double blade. If your pole is around an inch in diameter and is sticking out further than a double blade than you are getting almost as much purchase per sweep as using a blade with shorter reach. Does this make sense! And because you are using a much more narrow tool that reaches out further you can correct your path easier sweeping the pole back and forth or using the current and the pole to direct you towards the next plant of the pole. So use the pole like a kayak paddle and you will be amazed and surprised at how much power you can get out of one stroke per side. It’s one of those “try it to believe it” kind of things.

I agree whole heartedly with daggermatt, you can also use it for lateral movement as well with ease and practice.

For these New England rivers I run I have my 12’ pole and then a 10’ pole for the more narrow rivers that are often overgrown with trees.


Thanks for the info NM

and if you make the

– Last Updated: Apr-13-08 5:35 PM EST –

"depot special" out of closet rod, you'll find that the rod is 1.5" dia.. With this diameter( my aluminum poles are also oversize at 1.5", standard is 1.125"), I have found that I can tow water skiers with my canoe in deep water using Dougs kayaking technique above, as long as they're under 160 pounds and not slaloming, although once I'm up to speed they can drop that second ski. Towing 'em thru the rock gardens gets to be an issue though; for them, not for me. ;-)