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Thursday, May 7, 2009

River Rat: Travel Advisor....

Vacations are something river rats like myself excel in...we enjoy our leisure time, as we're sure you do yourselves. But "these tough economic times" quote (or possibly just paraphrase) a respected River Alliance leader...make jetting to Napa for wine and cheese or caravaning to Disneyland with your ratlets a difficult proposition (some might even say an impossibility). So, what's a leisure seeking rat to do? Well...head to their local river, of course. According to this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, that--and camping--is exactly what many of your fellow Wisconsinites are doing.

Given this, I rattled some cages (and burrows) here at River Rat Central and asked our dedicated servants of rivers to pass along their favorite "staycation" info site links for your summer planning. They happily obliged, if only to get my dirty, wet paws off their desktops.

The Wisconsin DNR's Surface Water Viewer, an interactive G.I.S. map, lets you search for and zero in on your favorite navigable waters, while also coming upon some you might not have thought, or known, about. And even if you don't find a new pristine paddling place, it sure is fun to play around with.

After you've purused the bevy of paddle friendly running waters Wisconsin has to offer, surf over to or and find out what your fellow water voyageurs have to say about your select stream. You'll also get an idea of the current conditions and maybe--just maybe--a post-paddle watering hole recommendation. And if there isn't one there, feel free to leave one. With the variety of watering holes available in the land of deer and cheese, sometimes it's good to have a map.

Whitewater adventure more your speed than a leisurely paddle-in-hand toodle? American Whitewater will give you up to the day reports on the status of your favorite rapids, and maybe turn you on to some new ones.

Of course, there are many great options for combining a paddle with an over-night (or week's) camping. The DNR's site will also give you the scoop in state campgrounds, natural areas, and navigable waters. Just don't forget to get your state parks sticker.

Now, just so you don't think I'm all about paddling and not interested in the anglers amongst my readers, there's also a load of good links for you rod and tackle lovers. Fly Fishing WI is a real one stop shop for fly fishing information, detailing stream conditions, fishing regulations, and even fly friendly writers.

Need something to read while you dangle your line in the water? Then check out Improved Trout Waters of Wisconsin. Full of detailed maps, it's a must for you trout anglers out there.

Don't forget to go to DNR's fishing page, where you can get more info on conditions and even buy your license online.

So, there you have should be all set to fill you summer activities. I'm glad I could help. And if you have more suggestions for your fellow River Rats, leave them in the comments section below. I'm a bright rat, but I'm certainly not infallable (close...but not quite).

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