We had a great 7-8 mile run on the Maumee River in Toledo, OH on Oct. 25, 2009. I hooked up with a couple of Toledo River Gang club members. The rain this week pushed the flow up to 4 ft (7110 cfs) and the several sections of rapids were flowing.
The Maumee is a wide, free flowing river with no real danger areas, just lots of volume. The fall color was awesome and the water temps were cold but doable. While our club is mostly whitewater boaters, we pulled out the sea kayaks for this run. Surfing with a sea kayak is awesome. Just find some video online of tidal bore and you'll see what I mean. You can catch waves, side surf, surf and carve pretty easy. Three of us had Valley boats (Nordkapps & Avocet) with good rocker and round hulls which makes surfing and playing easier than using a hard chine boat.
We put in at Weir Rapids off of Rt. 65 just west of Waterville, OH. There is an easy access parking lot and a short 15 yard path to the water. There are two really defined ledges at this put in. The upper wave is class II+ and once you work your way to the large eddy in the center of the river, the river to the right is glassy. The river to the left of the eddy is more knarley, and the ledge is steeper. You can aggressively side surf and it's a keeper, just hold onto the bull and ride it out. I was almost sideways on several runs, bracing aggressively down stream. There are several smaller eddies you can hop across the river and duck in an out of different sized surf waves.
Dropping down to the second ledge offers an easier, glassier ride and you can carve back and forth about 75-100 yards of river. If you get blown off the wave, you just regroup and paddle back to the wave train. After 40 minutes of playing we pealed of and headed down river. There is an island just down river from Weirs and we chose the scenic fall display to river left. The flow takes you past Farnsworth Metro Park, its boat ramp and its depression era works project shelter houses.
The next set of rapids are the Roche de Bout Rapids. The sights at this part of the river are dramatic. Large cliffs border the river and a gigantic, crumbling trolley bridge spans the river and one of the piers sits atop a large rock. There is a large rock formation closer to river left and there is a great eddy for parking and playing. Between the rock and shore is another 50-75 yards of waves and ledges for surfing and you can work your way in an out of the eddy next to the rock. Each of the bridge piers also creates an eddy, but I usually stay away from the goofy eddylines created by the piers. You can also duck behind the Roche de Bout rock and work your way all across to river right, jumping waves and eddies. The Maumee is probably 200 yards across at this point. There is a park lookout just above this wave section and it's always fun to show off to an audience!
Spinning away from Roche do Bout the current picks up and there are small wave trains for the next several miles as you pass Waterville Ohio. There is another island that splits the river at Waterville and if you stay river left, there are a few more surf-able wave trains, it�s also a good spot to practice ferrying for newbies.
As you blow past Waterville, the current continues to pick as you close in on Turkeyfoot Rapid. The scenery is a mix of larger homes, cliffs and tree covered shoreline. The chop picks up about a half mile from Turkeyfoot and the ride gets bumpy, but fun. The Turkeyfoot rapids are the longest and tallest waves on the river. From beginning to end there are probably 400 yards of waves and chop. At the center, the standing waves can get 3ft high. On this run the first two large curling waves were super soft and we locked into these waves for a handful of minutes, just playing and carving across the faces. We dropped down in to the bigger, but more confused section and fought to keep our boats on the wave faces. The ledges are close together and while tossing up steep waves, it's hard to stay on any single wave. The ledges are so close together the wave faces change rapidly and you just have to go with the flow. When you get tired you can ferry to river left and catch the big eddy created by a higher rock ledge. You can work your way to the top of the eddy, cross the eddyline and go for as many runs as you want. I�ve also brought my whitewater boat to this spot for some park and play fun as well. Parking is easy and you can hop right on the waves.
After playing for another 40 minutes we turned down river and cruised to our take out at Fort Meigs. There is a riverside parking lot at the base of the fort and the landing and carry to the car is easy. We spent four hours playing, hopping and enjoying this late fall outing on our local run. It's not the best whitewater run for boaters, but when you have lemons you make lemonade! It was a great day to be on the water.
This was a day trip that was more of a glorified park-and-play run. Campers can camp at Mary Jane Thurston park in Grand Rapids, OH. The Maumme can be smooth flowing and quiet and at times it can get kicked up and offer some rapids.
There are a ton of river access locations all along route 65 and rout 24 which border both sides of the river.