National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Lake Arbutus / Hatfield Area
Water Information Summary

This page was developed and is maintained in cooperation with Hatfield Hydro & Black River Partners


AHPS Rivers and Lakes

 2024 Recreational Flow Release Dates:

June 8

July 13

August 10

September 14 

Release flows of 200 and 325 CFS are planned
over the course of 4 hours on these dates.

Additional details below.






 Click Here For The Latest Precipitation Across The Area

 ** 24-Hr Precipitation **


 Latest River Information (Click On The Image To Open The Latest Hydrograph)

***Note: Data Outage Until Further Notice At Hwy 95, East Fork, and the Hatfield Hydro Plant***

Black River - Neillsville

Black River - Highway 95

East Fork Black River - East Fork Road

Lake Arbutus Pool Level - Hatfield Dam

Black River - Hatfield Hydro Plant

Black River - Black River Falls


National Weather Service Product Listing






Whitewater Flow Releases on the Black River


Where: On the original river channel about 3.5 miles upstream from Hatfield Hydroelectric Project on the Black River.


When: Whitewater flow releases for 2024 will occur between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM June 8, July 13, August 10, and September 14.


Description: The planned releases will create Class II, III, and IV pool-drop rapids depending on flow and location, requiring an intermediate to advanced skill level. Boaters should be aware that there are inherent risks associated with whitewater boating and are encouraged to use common sense at all times. Boating is at your own risk.


Please note:  In addition to planned releases below, the Black River at Hatfield provides fantastic whitewater boating opportunities throughout the entire boating season. When total river flows at Hatfield Powerhouse gauge are in the 3000-3500 CFS (cubic feet per second) range, this inflow produces a renowned surf wave in the East Channel for expert enthusiast. Other times of the year river flows are more accommodating to less experience paddlers. Varying river conditions are the result of inflow from upstream of the Hatfield Dam. Daily stream flow data and information regarding predicted flow volume for a planned release can be found on the National Weather Service (NWS) website (see below). Please note that the information provided by NWS is only an estimate and does not guarantee a specific
river flow volume.


Targeted flow releases for 2024:

On the Thursday prior to a scheduled release, flows from the previous five days recorded at the Neillsville gauge will be used to determine an average flow during that period.  Flow releases will be based on this value. See “Trigger Points” below.

  1.  June 8 – Targeted flow of 200-325 CFS 
  1.  July 13 – Targeted flow of 200-325 CFS
  1.  August 10 – Targeted flow of 200-325 CFS
  1.  September 14 – Targeted flow of 200-325 CFS 


Targeted flow rates are subject to following trigger points:


  • If average inflows equal 130 CFS or higher, the flow release is called a “325 CFS Release” and will be as follows:


  • 11:00 1st hour – 200 CFS
  • 12:00 2nd hour – 325 CFS
  • 1:00   3rd hour – 325 CFS
  • 2:00   4th hour – 200 CFS


The releases (130 CFS inflow or 325 CFS) will be from the east side of the dam through the Tainter Gates, which will feed the class IV drops. Note: These drops become unboatable above 700 CFS.

  • If average inflows are between 70-130 CFS, the flow release is called a “200 CFS Release” and will be as follows:
  • 200 CFS for three hours
  • Location: West side of the river (natural river channel) 


  • If average inflows are under 70 CFS, the flow release will be called a “80 CFS Release” and will be as follows:
  • 80 CFS for two hours 11:30-1:30 (through the generator units)
  • Location: West side of the river (natural river channel) 


  • Lake elevation must be at least 882.4 (NGVD) to begin release.


  • Lake elevation must be at or above 882.30 (NGVD) to continue the flow release.


Lake Levels:


Black River Partners LLC. must maintain the license-stipulated lake elevations and the minimum flow requirement. A concerted effort will be made to maintain lake levels at or near the high limits of the acceptable operating range prior to a scheduled flow release. This will minimize the possibility of a cancellation.  Consequently, lake elevation must be at least 882.4 (NGVD) to begin the release and at or above 882.30 (NGVD) to continue the release.  Predicted precipitation and other circumstances may necessitate a modified release at the discretion of the operator in charge. 



  • For 325 CFS Release: Take Highway K just south of Hatfield, cross the Black River, then turn northeast on West Clay School Road.  The specified launch site is approximately 300 yards downstream of the Hatfield dam on the east side of the natural river channel.  Takeout is either at the Highway K bridge located 800 yards below the dam or at the power house approximately 3.5 miles downstream.  Parking is available along West Clay School Road and at the powerhouse.


  • For 200 CFS Release or the 80 CFS Release:

Access the main river channel via a service road going upstream/northwest of the HWY K Bridge.  Yellow gates will be open into a small parking lot.  Please don’t park on canal embankment. 


Sign In: Please assist us with the monitoring of these events by signing in at the specified launch site. The attendance record helps assure future flow releases.


Information and River Forecast:

*Flow releases are provided by Hatfield Hydro (managed by Black River Partners LLC.) in conjunction with the Friends of the Black River, National Park Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and American Whitewater.*



 Other Relevant Links: