Louisa County Water Trails - Water Levels

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Louisa County, Iowa

Water levels affect paddling on rivers, streams and marshes. Very high water levels can cause safety hazards while low levels may determine whether a route will be accessible

Use the information below to plan your paddling trips.

Odessa Water Trail

The water level at Odessa is manipulated using inlet and outlet structures connected to the Mississippi River. The area is managed for migratory bird habitat. In general, the goal is to provide food, water and cover during migration. Under ideal conditions water is lowered in the summer to allow plant growth and raised early fall to flood those plants.

The changes in habitat and wildlife attracted to it is what makes Odessa such a great place to paddle. However, some routes are not accessible at very low levels. Use the table below to see how paddling at Odessa is affected by various water levels.

Current water level: high and dropping fairly fast (posted 7/11/2011)

Water Level Time of year
(can vary)
Routes affected Notes
Very low mid-late summer Goose not accessible There are channels through North and South trails though you may have to hunt for them in places; lots of shallow spots;
Low summer All accessible Places on Goose will have shallow spots; some areas off the main trails may be inaccessible
Mid early fall/late spring All accessible Most water areas shown on map will be accessible
High late fall/early spring All accessible There will be more water area than shown on the map
Flood rare - usually spring All accessible Water is over levee spillway and flowing between the rivers and Odessa; conditions may be dangerous with floating debris; use caution

Greatest danger is on Mississippi Route with high water and floating debris (see note below regarding river levels).


Mississippi River

Paddlers should be concerned with the flow (CFS) and the flood stage when taking a trip on the Mississippi River. Usually those are only a concern in the spring but could happen anytime. It is YOUR responsibility to know what the conditions are before going out.

NOTE: Water can go over spillway when river is over "flat pool level." The link below includes the flat pool level, flood stage level as well as current and predicted levels.

Check current Mississippi River level at Lock & Dam 17

Iowa and Cedar Rivers


Other Louisa County Marshes


Long Creek