I grew up in Manitowoc and spent many evenings fishing at Lower Cato Falls County Park. Here the Manitowoc River is constricted through a small gorge, with impressive rock formations and a small rapid as you enter this canyon. The clip below shows my run of the rapid at 132 cfs which is pretty low water levels. The thing about the Manitowoc River is that there is a lot of pasturing and agriculture in the watershed, which means at higher water levels the water quality gets a bit dicey, so one advantage of low water is less potential for dodgy bacteria. COOL!
I arrived at the county park around 8am on Sunday morning, not quite sure if I was going to be having a nice hike or a nice little paddle, to be honest I figured at this level there would hardly be a trickle over some rocks. I hiked down the steps and into the river valley without my gear or boat at first, to get a look at things. To my surprise, there was definitely a smooth line through the rapid and below, with juuuuust enough to float a boat leading up to the rapid. Since I wasn't planning to find any whitewater at all this weekend while I visited family, this was more than enough to merit a hike back up for the boat. After stripping to my undies in the parking lot and giving no one a free show I was in warmer gear and carrying a bunch of kayaking things down some steep steps back to the river. Here's how it went:
There is much more information about the river upstream from here and what you can expect at higher water levels at American Whitewater. Higher water is likely going to be much preferred for this river and run.