Category Archives: Yorkville Whitewater Course

What? What’d I do Wrong?

A few times a week I take a walk. I live a little over a half mile from the Yorkville dam and it’s a nice hike there and back. Actually have a decent steep hill to walk up and down to test and stretch my joints and muscles.

Whenever there are fishermen hanging out fishing around the dam, you can bet at some point one of them will be fishing in the, well, that’s the problem.

Is it a bypass channel?

Maybe a kayak chute?

Or is it the Marge Cline Whitewater Course?

The average fisherman is a pretty simple human being and when it comes to fishing, you can’t tell them where they can or cannot fish. Especially if you’re not making it painfully clear to them.

Once you start having a conversation with them, trying to explain to them that they can’t fish in a certain area, the conversation gets turned around. It gets twisted in a way so that the fisherman at least thinks he’s winning the argument. He’s going to fish there. He’s going say whatever he has to say to make that happen.

By the time you are done, you’ll be doubting your sanity and wondering if there isn’t a camera crew from TruTV hiding off behind a bush somewhere filming the whole thing.

There are signs on either end of the kayak chute saying No Fishing in the Bypass Channel. I knew when I saw the sign that it was a waste of time. The type is too small.

Look at the bottom of the photo. There’s a guy standing behind the sign fishing. When I told him he couldn’t fish there, I got “I didn’t see anything on any sign.” When he didn’t argue with me and packed up and left, I knew he was lying.

That’s what fishermen do.

Take a look at the last line of small black type. No Fishing in the Bypass Channel. In order to be an effective no fishing sign you have to have one this big with nothing else on it but the no fishing warning. The no fishing warning has to fill the whole sign and, even then, you’ll find fishermen standing right next to it fishing and when you say something you’ll get the exact same response I did.

Part of the problem is, what the hell is a bypass channel? You can bet that’s running around the in the fisherman’s head.

I wandered all over the park. I know this is called the Marge Cline Whitewater Course, but I couldn’t find a sign anywhere stating that. The name should be on the sign to make it clearer to the fishermen. They have no clue what a bypass channel is, but they do understand putting titles on important things.

Not that they care.

To simplify it even more, since there are usually kayaks playing around in the whitewater course, even fishermen know what a kayak is.

Call it a kayak chute, put that on the signs and be done with it.

No Fishing in the Kayak Chute.

In the long run it still won’t matter. It didn’t matter the other day when I was wandering around along the kayak chute. There were two people fishing the fast water of the chute. While a guy in a kayak was telling one they couldn’t fish there, I thought I would take pictures of the other.

He saw the other fisherman getting shagged off, so he hurried things up a bit and fired off a few casts all the way across the chute.

As the guy in the kayak floated toward him, the fisherman turned his back on him, walked further up the shore and started fishing up there.

I already know if you were to confront this guy he would first deny seeing the sign, which would be a lie. Then he’d say he didn’t know, which would be another lie. Then he’d say he wasn’t fishing around the kayaks, which is irrelevant.

You can see how this would continue. He’d always have something to say in his defense, even if his defense is pointless.

That’s what the average fisherman does.

The guy in the kayak saw me taking pictures and wandered over to where I was standing. We talked awhile about the ignorance of fishermen. The other thing that came up was the hazards of hooks getting lost in the chute. Inside those little kayaks, all they have on their feet are neoprene socks, no shoes or boots. The other day while wandering around the kayak chute, I found these lying around.

These hooks are relatively small, but to a kayaker that flips over and has to put his feet down, getting one of these in your foot is going to suck. Even worse, I found one of these on the bottom of the river the other day.

That can cause some pretty major problems.

The kayaker and I talked about signage, it’s size, what it should say and where it should be put. That night, I put a comment on the City of Yorkville Facebook Page saying that they need to do something about this. They need to put up more and bigger signs.

Today when I wandered down to the river, someone had put up a new sign.

That’s not going to work. The type is even smaller than what is on the big yellow sign that the fishermen say they never saw.

Plus they call it a Whitewater Park. Now you’ve got the fishermen even more confused. Still another term. I already know a fisherman is going to tell you he wasn’t fishing in the park.

So, here are my suggestions. Call it a kayak chute. Simple and to the point. No Fishing in the Kayak Chute. Six words I know is a lot, but I can’t figure out which one to get rid of to make it even shorter for the fishermen to understand.

Make the signs big, huge, bright yellow with gigantic black type that fills the sign from top-to-bottom and side-to-side.

One has to go on the south side of the river near the footbridge. If necessary, get two of them, that way they can be seen from a variety of directions.

Another one needs to go on the bridge. As you walk to the end of the bridge, the whole field of view should be filled with the sign. This photo will give you an idea of what I’m talking about. As you walk, all you should see at the end is nothing but sign.

The other option is to have a bunch of 3 foot by 4 foot signs made up, again, filled with No Fishing in the Kayak Chute. All along the kayak chute, on both sides, one of these signs should be placed every 50 feet. From the beginning to the end of the kayak chute.

I have a feeling that won’t be all that visually appealing.

Even then I already know that idea is doomed to fail.

One day you’ll go down to the kayak chute and there will be a fisherman.

He’ll be standing smack dab in the middle between a couple of the signs, fishing the kayak chute.

He’ll be so centered between those signs that if you got out a tape measure and measured, you’d find that he missed dead center by less than an inch.

If you go up to him and tell him he can’t fish in the kayak chute, his eyebrows would go up, his eyes would widen, his head would slowly turn both up and down stream.

Then he’d look you dead in eyes and without batting an eye he’d say…

“I didn’t see no signs.”

Footbridge Over Marge Cline Whitewater Course in Yorkville Finally Installed

Back in December 2011, the footbridge that was slated to go over the Marge Cline Whitewater Course at the Bicentennial Riverfront Park in Yorkville, was finally put in place. The first week of January, during one of my many strolls along the Fox River, I noticed that someone had left the gate open for the bridge. I took the open invite to go do some exploring.

I recall reading somewhere that the bridge should make a good vantage point to watch the kayakers play in the course. That it will do.

Someone with a better camera than I have should be able to get some decent photos of them.

I imagine the Geneva Kayak Center, which is located at the head of the whitewater course, will be taking advantage of this.

There’s a foot path that runs the length of the island so you get some pretty nice views of the whole whitewater course. You will have to watch you’re step though, the geese seem to have taken a liking to this little island.

Since anglers are not allowed to fish anywhere near the course, without the bridge in place to get to the man made island that separates the course from the dam, for the last two years there really has been no place for anglers to go. This used to be a pretty popular spot and in years past on one day I recall seeing up to 30 anglers fishing the river between the dam and the Route 47 bridge.

For all of 2011, I don’t think I saw a half dozen anglers in the whole area.

Now that they can get to the island, I don’t think fishing there is going to be all that easy. Before the building of the course and the rebuilding of the dam, the south shoreline was relatively level and rock free. Not any more.

A little further down there’s a very short stretch that I’m sure the anglers will be clearing of all the small rocks so they can plop down their lawn chairs.

The south shoreline of this little island is not going to fit that many anglers though, no matter how many of those little rocks they throw back into the river. Fishing in the whitewater course itself will still be off limits.

I spoke to someone that lives overlooking the dam. Apparently, a few feet out into the river from the south shore of the island, is a channel that was created. He thinks its a good five or six feet deep. I know I won’t be going in there to find out. That pretty much guarantees that few will be trying to walk across the river from the island.

It would be a shame if the anglers didn’t return, a few new businesses have opened up on the edge of Bicentennial Riverfront Park (River City Roasters, Creative Kernels and White Water Ice Cream) and it would be nice to see them prosper. Maybe the loss of anglers will be offset by a gain in kayakers.

Back in August of 2011 I wrote about how the north shore of the river here is accessible to anglers. Apparently nobody is passing on that information to the anglers. I think I’ve written about it four times now and this will be the last time. They don’t show up, it will be their loss.

I’ll keep spreading the word to the kayakers to come visit instead.

Wild Asparagus, a Bridge, Beer and Leaf Burning

Who are you? Carnac? What does any of that have to do with fishing.

Everything is related somehow. Sometimes you just have to wait awhile till they all catch up with each other.

Saturday was a work day. There were things that needed to get done around the yard and it was going to be a gloriously beautiful day. Mid 60s, mild winds and plenty of sunshine.

The house I rent sits on a 100 X 150 foot lot. I guess that’s big. It’s bigger than anywhere else I’ve lived. By neighborhood standards though, it’s one of the smaller lots. On the lot and immediately bordering it to within a few feet are a dozen trees. A couple of big maples that refuse to change colors or drop any leaves. A couple of big old oaks that aren’t having that problem. A couple of big black walnut trees and a few that defy identification, mainly because I’m too lazy to look it up.

Except for the two maples, most of the other trees are almost done shedding their leaves. Most of the leaves wound up on my roof, in the gutters and covering just about every square inch of the yard. Starting on the leaf removal process had to wait though. We had a heavy frost over night and everything was covered with a thin layer of ice, including the roof. My wife may like to refer to me as the idiot, but even I’m not dumb enough to go climbing up on an ice covered roof.

I knew it would take till at least noon to dry everything out, there’s no point in trying to rake and blow around soaking wet leaves. This left me with a bit of spare time to kill.

On the side roads I take to get to the main road to work, I’ve found a stretch where wild asparagus seems to be growing quite well in that strip of land between the road and the corn fields. I decided to go do a little more exploring.

It’s much better than I thought. For over a mile, both sides of the road have one wild asparagus plant after another. This time of year they’re pretty easy to spot as they go to seed. Considering the amount of traffic this little two lane road sees, I’m surprised it hasn’t been picked clean. But then, I guess those living in the subdivisions not that far away would probably prefer getting their asparagus from a grocery store.

Over the summer I found a massive bunch of wild asparagus on an island in the middle of the Fox River. If nothing else, I know nobody will get to that bunch. It’s a shame I now have to wait till spring.

On the way home I stopped at the Marge Cline Whitewater Course. There sitting on shore was the new bridge that is to span the whitewater course so people can walk out to the small island between the dam and the course.

I was hoping this was forgotten about and the bridge was never going to be put up. I had sung the praises in a previous post of the benefits of having fewer anglers in this stretch. I’m afraid putting in the bridge will bring them all back along with all their garbage. I was just starting to get used to seeing this stretch of the river nice and clean.

Back at home everything was dry and I spent the next 4 hours blowing leaves out of gutters and then moving endless piles of leaves out to the curb in any way that worked. Blowing worked up to a point, the point where the leaf pile was 3 feet high and still had to be moved another 20 feet to the edge of the street. At that point it was quicker and easier to move it all with a rake. Low tech is some times better.

Of course one big pile was collected around the fire pit. It was time. A good beer was brought out and all it took was one small flame on one leaf to begin the next hour of burning.

And burn I did. To build it up even more, I went through the hoard of mother-in-law junk that’s stacked in the garage. Anything that was busted and broken and made of wood got tossed onto the pyre.

Too soon I was out of things to burn.

I settled into a lawn chair. Flames in the fore ground, waning light as a back drop, I opened another good beer and sat staring into the flames until they died into a pile of smoldering ash. I looked up into the maple that refuses to give up its leaves.

Sure looks like I’ll be doing this again next week.

Geneva Kayak Center Open for Business

I thought I would put up a few pictures I took of the Grand Opening Event on Saturday. I have to verify if this is going to be called the Yorkville Outdoor Center or not. They have put a lot into their shop and have pretty much everything a kayaker needs as far as I can tell. Worth a visit here before hitting a big box store. You won’t get this kind of knowledge at one of those.

I’ll add more to this later. Will probably have a couple of more posts made about this. We’ll see how my week goes.

Also, the official word from Yorkville Mayor Valerie Burd about fishing the Yorkville Whitewater Course . . . it flat out isn’t allowed, ever. But there’s more details that might make up for that.

Had a great time Friday night at the Kendall Pub watching Kent Fords’ film Call of the River and got to meet some interesting kayakers.

I like slick logo designs.

A lot of kayaks on display in a compact space.

I was intrigued by the colors and angles, in case you couldn't tell.

If I had a wide angle lens I would have taken a better shot of the interior.

After watching them play in the chute for a few hours, I know I can handle anything the Fox River or any other river around here throws at me while paddling a canoe or a kayak, I’ve done it. But I don’t think my back has the flexibility needed any more to be able to play around in this chute. Unless I don’t mind doing it upside down.

Kayak Center Grand Opening Update

Got an email with some minor changes and a weekend schedule of events.

Join us this weekend (April 1-3) for our Grand Re-Opening, Friday through Sunday, at the new location in Yorkville!

We’ll have a lot of fun throughout the weekend with film showings, paddling trips, kayak/canoe demos, and prizes raffled off! Oh yeah, boats and gear are all marked down!

Friday Night – “Call of the River”
Friday, April 1st @ 8pm – Kendall Pub, Yorkville, IL

The Call of the River… A Hundred Years of Whitewater Adventure from Kent Ford.

River legend Kent Ford will be presenting “Call of the River” at the Kendall Pub on Friday, April 1st @ 8:00pm. While the film starts at 8pm, we’ll be there at 7pm…come on by and enjoy the food and camaraderie.There will be door prizes, pizza, wings and appetizers (drinks are not provided). This film is not to be missed by any paddler, adventurer or nature lover!

Saturday, April 2nd – Paddles, Ribbon Cutting
NEW TIME!!!!!!   7am – Geneva to Yorkville Paddle 

We used to be in Geneva, now we’re in Yorkville! Celebrate the Grand Re-Opening of the shop with this fun, celebratory paddle downstream.Meet at the old location at 7:00am to launch by 7:30am! There will be a support vehicle with trailer that follows the trip to pick up paddlers if they shouldn’t make the entire journey! We will shuttle paddlers and boats back to Geneva following the Ribbon Cutting @ 1pm so bring a lunch and some clothes to change into if you arrive early! 

10am – 5pm: Open House
See the new place and learn about what GKC is doing in the future! We’ll have give-aways for gear, trips and courses as well as new boats and gear on display!

10am – 4pm: Kayak & Canoe Demos
Why buy before you try?!? Paddle recreational kayaks, sea kayaks and canoes in flatwater and test out whitewater boats on the course! Manufacturers like Pyranha, P&H, Liquid Logic, Wenonah, and Sea Kayaking UK will all have their boats on hand to try out!

NEW TIME!!!!!!  1PM – Ribbon Cutting
We’re really excited about the new location! Help us open our doors to this new opportunity!

Sunday, April 3rd – Paddle w/the Pros
Noon to 5pm – Open House

1pm to 4pm – Paddle with the Pros
Join GKC Coaches, Owner Ryan Rushton and Kelly Blades on the water for a fun day trip from Yorkville to Silver Springs. Start upstream of the whitwater park or immediately downstream. We’ll play in the park from 1-2pm and then launch downstream at 2pm for a nice moving water paddle downstream to the State Park! Join us at 1pm for the whitewater paddling tips and or 2pm for the paddle! You can use this paddle to demo kayaks and canoes!

5pm – Join us at the Pub!
We’ll celebrate the weekend with a few drinks at the Kendall Pub and draw for the raffle prizes!

Raffle Prizes
Visit us during the weekend (Friday’s “Call of the River” showing or any events on Saturday or Sunday) and you’ll be entered to win the following prizes:

• Grand Prize: “Around the Door” Adventure Paddling trip*
• Werner Rio or Tybee Paddle*
• GKC Level 1 or 2 Course: Whitewater, Sea or Canoe*
• Geneva Kayak Stainless Steel Thermos
• Geneva Kayak Stainless Steel Travel Mug
• 30.00 Gift Certificates
• “Call of the River” DVD’s – Only Friday Night!

* Value of the “Around the Door” ($349) paddling trip can be applied to any NEW Adventure Paddling trip registration for the remainder of 2011! Value of Werner Paddle ($129) can be applied to any NEW Werner Paddle of equal or higher value. Value of the GKC L1/2 course can be applied to any GKC Course of equal or higher value.

Let Us Hear From You….
We hope you enjoy receiving this newsletter. We’d love to hear from you regarding the newsletter, our website, to register for any of our offerings, or with questions regarding our center and any of its trips, courses or events. Please give us a call at (630) 232 0320 or e-mail us at We look forward to hearing from you.

Geneva Kayak Center
301 E. Hydraulic Street
Yorkville, IL
(630) 232-0320