Deer Creek, Illinois River – November 11, 2016
Deer Creek is a large tributary to the Illinois River that flows through the town of Selma, Oregon. It is accessible off of Hogue Drive in Selma. Running Deer Creek into the Illinois is a nice alternative to launching from Eight Dollar Bridge (on the Illinois), as the run from Eight Dollar Bridge to the mouth of the Deer Creek is unremarkable. Additionally, running Deer Creek will shorten your shuttle substantially if you are simply doing a day trip and taking out above Miami Bar on the Illinois.
Most report running Deer Creek when the Illinois is flowing over 2500 cfs, however, as we found on this short trip, it can be run in small rafts when the Illinois is as low as 750 cfs. Obviously, flows on individual creeks within the Illinois drainage can be hit or miss depending on where rain is falling. The good news is that you can simply drive over the creek and assess the flow for yourself.
Launching from Hogue Drive, the creek is very mellow with current but no rapids. As the creek approaches its confluence with the Illinois, there are a handful of technical Class II rapids that probably get more interesting with higher flows.
Reaching the Illinois, you’ll find a handful of fun rapids, especially just prior to reaching Six Mile Creek. Six Mile Creek is the first road access you’ll hit and makes for an easy take out and shuttle. One could continue downstream to McCaleb Ranch, however that will involve a few miles of very little whitewater and a probable portage at Big Falls.