Information on Fishers Ford (Illinois R.)


Fishers Ford (Illinois R.)

	Rating: I
	TDCR: 1111
	Location: The playspot is on the Illinois R. south of Siloam Springs. 
		Follow Hwy 16 West toward Siloam and turn on Hwy 244 West a short
		time after you pass Lake Wedington.  Follow 244 for a couple of 
		miles or so and take Cincinati Cr. Rd., a gravel road, to the north.
		You can look for the old, white "Nicodemus Church" sign that is 
		mostly hidden by bushes at this turnoff.  The Hwy 244 bridge 
		over Cincinati Cr., a medium sized creekbed with a gravel bottom,
		is just past the turn you need to make, so if you cross it, you've
		gone a bit too far.  If you reach Hwy 59, you've gone a little over
		a mile too far.  Follow the gravel road north about a mile, and
		you'll come to an intersection.  Go straight on what is now
		Fishers Ford Rd.  The road makes a few bends, but just keep
		following it north toward the river.  When you come to the
		old metal bridge, park on the river left, upstream of the bridge
		and be sure to pull off the road.  Don't block the little road
		leading down to the river by the bridge, since local fishermen
		use it to lauch johnboats.  Unload and walk down to the river
		and put in and paddle down about 100 yards to the ledge.  When
		you're finished playing, either paddle or walk back up the
		streambed to get back to the bridge.  Please respect landowners'
		rights around this spot, and DON'T TRESPASS on the river banks
		at the ledge, which are clearly posted.  Ask permission
		from the landowner in advance if you want to walk through
		the field to reach the playspot.  It's a long URL, and it
		may change, but you can follow this link to get a
		MapBlast map of the area.  Zoom out on it to see how to come in
		from Fayetteville or other towns.
	Topo Quad(s): N/A
	Gradient: N/A (just one rapid)
	Length: N/A (100 yards to the rapid)
	Season: ALL
	Gauge: The USGS gauge on the Illinois R. at Siloam Springs should
		be higher than 3.0 feet - but it always is.  If the gauge is
		over 5.0 feet, the river is flooding and the water quality
		is about as bad as you can imagine.  Due to heavy agricultural
		runoff, it's best to wait a couple of days after heavy rains 
		before venturing out into the Illinois R.
	Hazards:  None.  A big pool will catch wayward boaters at all but
		the highest levels.
	Description: This is the only summertime play spot for Northwest
		Arkansas.  If you don't go expecting a big rapid, you won't
		be disappointed.  But it is the only game in town in the dry
		summer months, and the water is never to low to have some fun
		and get a workout.  It's actually a great spot for beginners
		to hone their skills and practice rolls, ferries, catching
		eddies, surfing, etc.  It's about the least threatening
		rapid in the state.  The wave/hole varies with natural water
		flow.  At lower levels, a small wave and some decent squirt
		lines are the attractions.  With more water, a small hole forms
		that can be side surfed.  With even more water a larger 
		wave/hole appears and the well defined eddy lines vanish.
		At the highest water levels, there is still a wave, but
		the rapid is an e-coli mixing vat, due to a large amount
		of agricultural waste runoff following heavy rains.  Be sure
		to carry or paddle back up the streambed to the bridge
		when you're finished playing.  The local landowners like
		their privacy, and have posted the fields around the river.
		Some will give you permission to cross the fields if you
		ask in advance, but if you don't have permission, they're
		probably not going to be happy when they catch you.  Please
		help promote good relationships with local landowners by
		not blocking roads or paths with your vehicle and by
		not trespassing on streamside property.

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