The Plover River originates in Langlade County, flows through Marathon County (at which point is becomes navigatible), is usually paddle-able throughout Portage County before entering the Wisconsin River at Whiting. It does not seem to flow through the Village of Plover.
There are three main sections for paddlers, each of which will get their own page:
- Bevent to Shantytown Road (8.7 miles)
- Bentley Road to Jordan Pond (7.6 miles)
- Jordan Pond to Iverson Park 6.4 miles)
The sections skip several areas that are not of much interest or that do not need much explanation. There is a lot of stream above Bevent, but it is very small. Great for trout, bad for paddling. Bentley Pond is skipped, as is McDill Pond, as both are mill ponds and not much fun. The short stretch below McDill pond will also not be emphasized, though it can be quite pretty. This scheme follows from Paddling Southern Wisconsin by Mike Svob, an essential purchase for all Wisconsin paddlers. I relied on the Padding Northern Wisconsin when I did the headwaters of the Wisconsin.
An important factor in paddling the Plover is water. The Plover is not a deep river in the best of times. When the water gets low, there is too much walking involved and not enough paddling. There was a USGS gauge with real time stats, but it fell victim to budget cuts. It is located at the Highway 66 (used to be Highway 10) bridge just at the upriver edge of Iverson Park. In general, 3 to 3.5 feet of water is enough to get by. Less than that will impact your enjoyment. More than 4.5 and the banks will be flooded.
The best thing about the Plover is that it is relatively unspoiled. For much of its length, it is a northern Wisconsin experience. Few houses in sight, no powerboats, lots of wildlife. It is shallow enough to present little danger and has enough current to move even novices to their destination. It is mainly sandy bottomed, so even low water is inconvenient, but not a danger to your boat. The sections outlined are short and suitable for leisurely trips. The river meanders considerably, so it rewards technique, while not demanding it.
The Plover’s only drawback (other than an occasional lack of water) is the amount of wood in the stream. Much of the river flows through wooded areas, so branches and entire trees end up in the river. This is mitigated by several factors. A local rental company works to keep paths clear. Portaging around fallen trees is usually a simple matter. The water is rarely deep enough to present a problem. That said, strainers/deadfalls are common, so be prepared and bring something for your feet. In my experience, I have been able to kayak through without portaging most of the time.
From the Plover River Alliance -