So what does our "Water Level Interpreter" mean for your experience? We get this question quite often, so we wanted to give you an idea of what each level means if you're not familiar with our creek!
What goes into the creation of these different zones? Well, not only does the water level come into play, but also the cubic-feet-per second (CFS), or the flow, comes into play to determine these zones!
ORANGE - 2.0ft to 2.5ft
LOW! When the water is low you can expect to have to get out and help your boat over the shallow spots. How many times you have to get out depends on how well you read the water, but on average, you will get stuck 8 to 10 times. There are many deep pools to keep the paddling fun, but low water can make for a longer day on the water with more work involved. You must plan on getting in the water many times, so wear proper footwear.
This level is our most family/beginner friendly level that the creek has to offer. At these conditions, the water level is high enough that you don't have to worry about doing a lot of walking, but is low enough that the experience needed to navigate is minimal! At this level, the CFS is also on the lower side, which means each trip will move a bit slower than at higher water level conditions. This water level is also a favorite among anglers and fishermen! The lower the water, the less area the fish have to disperse, so it does a good job of concentrating the different species of bass into smaller areas.
BLUE - 3.75ft to 4.5ft
This level is another popular level, as it offers a different experience on the creek compared to the GREEN level! It's still a beginner and family-friendly level, just at a bit higher level, and a faster flow! At this level, we usually do not recommend bringing out children under the age of 6 yrs old, as the faster flow of the water requires a bit stronger swimming abilities than children younger than 6 year olds usually possess! The trip will go by quicker, as the flow at this level is faster-moving. Fishing is also usually still great at this level, especially in the spring and fall.
YELLOW - 4.5ft to 5ft
This level is where more intermediate/advanced experience is needed, if you're looking to rent or take out a canoe or kayak! We still offer raft rentals at this level, which allows families, and those with less experience to still get out and enjoy the creek! At this level for canoes and kayaks, boat control is much more important as the speed of the flow is much quicker than our normal spring/summer conditions, and "strainers" (trees and branches that can catch onto boats and people) are much more likely to come into play. Rafts just bounce off these obstacles, so we still welcome you out at this level!
RED - 5ft AND ABOVE
At this level, we suspend all rentals to customers for their safety! When the Elkhorn Creek gets above 5ft in height on the gauge, the CFS is extremely fast, requires an advanced level of boat control, and usually has many other obstacles, such as the strainers mentioned before. We only provide shuttling for those who own their own boats at this level. Fishing is not recommended at this level!