Vermilion River-Illinois

Has anyone canoed/kayaked the 7+ miles from Route 178 on the Vermilion recently? I know there were some issues with Wildcat area. Just curious what the route is like now. Thanks for any feedback.

Even before the slide, Wildcat changed
a lot with water level. So, even if someone has gone through, what they can say will be water level specific.

What I saw in the pictures suggested there may be a “main” left sided route and, with enough water, a scratchier option on the right side.

Just wait until the cement plant collapses over the old dam.

Nada aqui
Check the Team Dirt Clod or Chicago Whitewater message boards.

We need to put together an outing up there and see for ourselves.

You got that WW boat ready for a run?

“Other” Vermilion
I’d really like to give this run a try sometime, too.

I would almost certainly portage Wildcat and the Cement Co Dam, and I’d probably swim a few times, but I want to try it. I’d be paddling a Necky Manitou Sport.

I ran at a medium level, and was able
to skirt the right edge of the dam hydraulic with no difficulty whatsoever. But I guess a lot of people who run the Vermillion do not have the boat placement skill and are better off portaging.


– Last Updated: May-24-09 5:15 PM EST –

I have heard that the Dam actually gets nastier as the level goes down there.

I canoe several sections of the Salt and Middle Forks of the Vermilion River down here (Champaign/Vermilion Counties, Wabash System) and it is primarily a slow moving river, with gradients in the 3 to 5 ft per mile range. That creates some faster riffle sections, and under the right conditions, some very mild standing waves and little drops here and there. Pretty tame stuff, but I have no problem controling my kayak or solo canoe in these types of waters. I have been practicing eddy turns and how to ferry and backferry and so forth. (And still sometimes dump when messing with strong eddies in higher water, as YakofSteel can testify to.)

So I don't really know how well I would do on the North Vermilion River, but I am curious enough that I'm sure I'll end up giving it a try. I figure as long as I come prepared to go for a swim or two, I'll be OK. I just want to be sure I don't put anybody else at risk.

Hi all
Gremmie, today Walnut Creek was perfect level, just like when we did it. We paddled up Panther a little but current was strong. Yes, I did get my ww boat. I love it-it really has a lot of character. It needs a little more work fixing the saddle, but a friend is helping me. It is perfect for me, at just the right price. :slight_smile: I have been practicing my strokes on flatwater. Taking it out on the river tomorrow. Time to start learning ww!

I know the water level will change things, I was just curious about the slide related to the portage trail. Didn,t know if it was a complete wipe out or what.

The kids & I went to Starved Rock this weekend & the Vermilion did look very low. 6.5 ft/1200 cfs right now.

We went out on the Mackinaw today & it was very beautiful! We are planning a Mackinaw trip tomorrow afternoon if anyone is interested.

I am up for any & all trips. Let the canoe obsession enter high mode! Highlander we do need to make it down your way. Someone was asking today about the ‘other’ Vermilion. It would be a good trip.

I am rereading Path of the Paddle & enjoying it even more. Paddling is a total addiction. :slight_smile: It is really great to meet others so afflicted!

If anyone was out on the Vermilion this weekend, please let me know.

The dam won’t get nastier if people
have the sense to not try to run straight through the middle. It won’t hurt to stop and scout, and the portage is trivial.

Nothing on the rest of the Vermillion should give you trouble except possibly Wildcat, and if you flip, the swim is very safe.

I did run a short piece of the “Wild & Scenic” Vermillion, and used the strip mine lakes for shuttle.

Interesting… I would have thought
1200 cfs would be enough for a pretty good run. Wish I knew the date when I ran it… I could go back in the USGS data and find the flow.

Yes, I believe it is ok level
It just looked low to me. Or lower than when I usually pass over it.

LittleRed is interested in the Mackinaw
Monday. She posted in the Central IL Memorial weekend thread in Getting Together and Paddling.

Level References
Here are a couple links to websites explaining the levels at the North V, Wildcat section:

Based on shots of the dam, I must have
run at a level between 3 and 4 feet. Being by myself that day, I was not at all tempted to run through the center of the dam backwash, but instead snuck through on river right.

Do you know where the split rock siphon is, they mention in the warning?