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We showed up at Morgan's canoe livery a bit before 3:00 pm and that place was very crowded on this amazing 75 degree sunny Saturday. To do the 6 mile run you must show up before 3:00. Morgan's runs a big operation and lots of people are renting boats on a nice Saturday there, but it was Memorial day weekend so maybe not the best time to gauge "normal". Luckily, there is a lot of parking at Morgan's.
The put in is a gradual gravely light muddy incline and is easy if not perfect. It goes out into a light current with a minor rapid just downstream. No rapids on this river stand out in my head and all are class 1 or less at this level and there are several of them during the 6 mile run from Ft. Ancient to Morrow that we paddled.
None of the rapids will likely throw you unless you are very inexperienced and it will provide little challenge to anyone who has paddled often. It might be a good water reading experience for new paddlers. I wish the water level had been a bit higher, but I didn't get hung up anywhere and it was totally runnable at this level if you stay in the channel.
There were plenty of good spots to stop and, after the crowded put in, the river didn't feel very cramped all day despite lots of paddlers. We fished a little bit, but didn't catch anything. I am sure there are good fish to be had if you are interested in patiently waiting for them to get hungry.
Having read the other post from June 2, 2012 from the same weekend and hearing how bad the trip was for those folks, I am a bit shocked. We had a wonderful trip and, in fact, we were extremely pleased with the cleanliness of the river, the water clarity, and the level of trash was minimal at worst. I don't know if it is just the two different sections of water getting different levels of cleanup, but my analysis of this river couldn't be more different from a cleanliness standpoint. Perhaps Morgan's Canoe Livery just keeps this section cleaner.
I can imagine that upstream, the water level two days later would've been extremely bony since it was probably at the lowest level I would want to run it for us.
We took out at around 6:30 so it was about a 3 hour paddle with 2 fishing stops and snack breaks. The shuttle from the takeout was about 15 minutes, but we had to wait for the other final group and ride with some unpleasantly drunk and obnoxious people back to the put in parking, which wasn't a great end. I would shuttle myself if we did it again.
Other than a couple of minor things, we had a wonderful trip and I would recommend this to anyone, all ages. Be sure to check the water level though because anything below 550 cfs would be a scrapy trip in many areas and I'm guessing this river can be swift at very high levels after lots of rain.
Remember to leave it cleaner than you found it; take at least 2 more pieces of trash out with your own. Good luck and happy paddling. Feel free to contact me with questions
There are lots of other put ins and take outs and many maps are available. If you need a detailed map you can contact the cincypaddlers group on yahoo groups and look in the files section. They have great maps.
YakCatcher Rod Holder
1 Canoe/Kayak Trailer
Full Size Sail Rig