Louisville Area Canoe & Kayak Group Message Board Main Forum › What are Safe Water Conditions in KY?

What are Safe Water Conditions in KY?

Jerry C.
JCappel
Louisville, KY
Post #: 4
I am new to this, and live near the Kentucky River. I read comments about river heights and flow rates, but how can I know what acceptable safe levels and rates are? And do folks commonly paddle in these rivers solo?
Don P.
user 13711758
Nicholasville, KY
Post #: 137
Every river will be different. Water speed is usually the information you need, but very few gauges will give you that. Height is pretty useless - its the raw thing the gauge measures. Flow is a computed value, but you can't get speed from it directly unless you know the cross sectional area of the river at that height. So you are just left with getting experience or using the experience of others using height or flow values.

For the Ky River, depends on which section (pool) you are in, and if you are going upriver at any time, what boat you have, and how fast you can go in it. In my area, around Lexington, pool 6-9, we generally do only do Meetups less than 3500-4000 cfs for out and backs because we can have beginners in short boats. In my long boat, I'll do up to 6000 cfs. After that, it just is no fun on the upstream leg. It starts getting about 1mph current at that level. Technically, you could go higher. If the water speed is up, always do the upstream leg first unless you know the landmarks well or you could get out farther than you planned easily. Falling levels leave mud on the ramps that you usually have to wait for to get cleared.

I do solo trips all the time, but try to use the areas that fisherman frequent. I think the flow would apply to the Frankfort pool since the river is about the same width. Pool 4 is loaded with powerboats. I've soloed there cold water (late Oct). Just have to use good judgment of your skills and water conditions when soloing. Always preferable to have a partner.
A former member
Post #: 28
Jerry, what did you decide on your kayak purchase and are you floating yet?

I got mine in a couple of weeks ago but it is still high and dry on its rack and I haven’t had the opportunity to float it yet.

Good paddling and fishing too, if that is in your future.

See you on the water.

I tried to email you but it came back. I am having that issue now with TWC. Email me if you want and for some reason, I can often email folks back successfully.

AJ
John B.
user 7671064
Bowling Green, KY
Post #: 126
KY water levels -- http://waterdata.usgs...­

IN water levels -- http://waterdata.usgs...­

As long as the river is not in flood stage, or in the trees, and there are no small craft warnings, or severe weather forecast, you should be good to go. I used to do a lot of solo paddling, but haven't been able to get on the water in over a year.
Jerry C.
JCappel
Louisville, KY
Post #: 5
Jerry, what did you decide on your kayak purchase and are you floating yet?

I got mine in a couple of weeks ago but it is still high and dry on its rack and I haven’t had the opportunity to float it yet.

Good paddling and fishing too, if that is in your future.

See you on the water.

I tried to email you but it came back. I am having that issue now with TWC. Email me if you want and for some reason, I can often email folks back successfully.

AJ
I found a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145 (about 7 years old). But it too has been high and dry, so far. Each time I can go out, the weather stops me. If it is perfect weather, I have not been available to go. Hoping this weekend will change all that.
Jerry C.
JCappel
Louisville, KY
Post #: 6
Thanks for all the good information. it sounds like there is no substitute for having some experienced folks around to ask about particular water. Lexington club trips on the Kentucky have been cancelled several times already this year, so they are certainly concerned about water levels and flow.
Greg M.
user 8291008
Jeffersonville, IN
Post #: 831
The LACK website has a list of nearby gauges and whether they're at recommended levels:
http://louisvillearea...­
Jerry C.
JCappel
Louisville, KY
Post #: 10
Thanks for pointing me to that - very helpful. I wonder if they would be interested in including the KY River levels and flow on that. Also, the map of put-in and take-out, do not include boat ramps to Taylorsville Lake or the KY, but do include the Ohio.
Greg M.
user 8291008
Jeffersonville, IN
Post #: 832
Add any information you have to the wiki, we need as many people as possible to chip in.
http://louisvillearea...­
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