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South Eel River in Indiana

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

I enjoy long overnight trips, and the more challenging runs. But as a father of four, with a full time job, a juvenile prison ministry, two rental properties, and a family Christian band, I wanted to spend time with the kids. Another challenge with a family is logistics. Getting someone to run me to the drop off point, be there to pick me up, etc. So we found a small river, rather quiet, near our home, called the "eel river". (Don't ask me how it got its name, here in Indiana we are about as far away from eels, as one can get.) Anyway its only about four miles from our home. The Eel runs into the White river, and goes through Worthington, and the powerful "Worthington Rapids". It is a peaceful trip, relaxing, and provides us opportunity to talk. On our first trip we found a dog. He followed us down stream along the banks til they stopped. Then he jumped in and swam after us. My son Joseph, and I kept paddling trying to get away from him, he never stopped! We pulled over and let him in the canoe, and took him home with us. We named him of all things "river".

In August we decided to go further up stream and take out where we normally start. I took my oldest son Chris, and my youngest son, Lee. We strapped our canoe to my wife's wagon, and took off. We read the map and approximated the trip as two hours. It was a nice start, as my wife took pictures as we left. We were to meet her after she did her shopping. It was a nice day. As we got further down stream I noticed a log jam ahead. Then I saw that we could not get through. We had to turn and paddle upstream, using all our might. Lee my youngest is only 6 years old. (and yes, of course we were wearing life vests,) So I was very concerned about him and the situation.

We got to the side, secured the situation, and portaged around the jam. It was tough, going up steep, muddy hills, with a storm moving in. (the one flaw, I didn't check the weather), we got in and continued the trip. The storm caught us, started pouring down rain. My six year old sat, bravely. By now we are way behind schedule in meeting my wife, and I'm sure she is getting worried. As we finally saw the bridge through the rain, we attempted to get out. Again the banks were steep and muddy, then came a snake, it was too much. A guy yelled from across the river and said come over here. He helped us pull the canoe up his steep banks as we were near exhaustion at that point. I learned never to go an unknown portion with kids, or unskilled paddlers.

Most of our other trips were not so eventful, but equally enjoyable I have been able to take all of my children on this day trip, at various times. The entire trip takes two hours, thus leaving us time to make canoeing together a practical reality and fun.

We hope to continue to be able to explore various segments of this quiet river, as its goes to the North, up around the town of clay city, and to the south after it runs into the White river. This is our first canoe, a 17-foot old fiberglass whale, gray in color, adorned with duct tape. It takes approximately one half a role of duct tape to keep her a float, seriously. I paid the overpriced sum of one hundred dollars for the monstrosity, and of course the old guy who sold it said that the repairs on it were for practice..... Ya. One paddle that was cracked, is now screwed together, and still works. And it weighs a ton. But it was worth every penny for the pleasure it has brought us on these quiet streams and rivers in Indiana.


157 south from Coal City Indiana to the "EEL river".


I had an old book from the state of Indiana, called "canoeing Indiana. Provides all you need to know.

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location