Information on Illinois River (Hogeye Run)

Illinois River (Hogeye Run)

     Rating: II+
       Location: The put in is located at a bridge over the river just
               behind the "Hogeye Mall", a convienience store near 
               the intersection of Hwy 265 and 
               Hwy 156 (aka Hogeye Rd.). From Fayetteville, 
               take 265 to Hogeye either from the Cato Springs 
               exit or from the Greenland I-540 exit. Hwy 156 can
               be accessed from the West Fork exit as well. The main
               takeout is reached by driving north (toward Fayetteville)
               on Hwy 265 from the Hogeye Mall. The second marked county
               road on the left takes you to an old iron bridge across the
               river (this road is labeled as Orr Rd. on Google
               Maps. The first county road left (labeled Kinzer Rd) 
               will also take you to a slab across the river to cut off 
               a mile of the trip or to serve as a low water put-in, 
               but you miss some great rapids either way.
       Topo Quad(s): West Fork, Strickler
       Gradient: 14 fpm
       Length: 4 mi.
       Season: FLOOD
       Gauge: The run takes a lot of rain to get it going and it drops
               out pretty quickly. It runs when Fall Creek is running, so
               the USGS gauge for Baron Fork at Dutch Mills 
               may be a good predictor if rain is widespread (look for 
               over 3.5 feet and rising). Also check the Illinois R. at Savoy
               gauge. 5 to 6 feet on this gauge and
               rising fast can be a good sign. However there are 25+ miles
               and a ton of watershed between Hogeye and Savoy, so the
               correlation is not really that good.
       Hazards: Trees, strainers, and some barbed wire near the creek.
       Description: When West Fork gets pounded with rain, it's not a bad idea
               to drive the 15 minutes from Fayetteville to Hogeye to
               check out this great little class II+ run. If the creek
               looks like it can be boated without scraping at the put-in
               near Hogeye Mall, it's good to go. But it gets better and
               better with more water! When the gravel bars under the
               iron bridge at the takeout are under and the rapid
               upstream of the bridge looks like two big riverwide ledge
               holes, hang on to your hat! Though the gradient appears
               somewhat anemic, the run tends to pool up and then drop
               over ledges, making for terrific surfing at higher levels.
               At optimal levels, there are six to seven terrific surfing
               spots, though finding good eddies gets more problematic as
               the water rises. When the water's really cooking, it's
               mostly "catch on the fly" time on some honest-to-god BIG
               waves. At the slab bridge (possible takeout) a long ledgy
               section produces some nice spin holes, and another half
               mile downstream, a sloped ledge generates a powerful hole
               for spins and tricks. The rapid just above the iron bridge
               is the biggest drop, and at certain water levels, it's
               holes can be difficult to exit. However, if you swim there
               (and a few have!), just get your boat to the right bank at
               the bridge and crawl up to your vehicle! Beginners should
               watch out for some tricky maneuvering through trees in a
               few places, and, needless to say, it's no place for
               beginners when the water is high.

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