Water Tourism on Rivers Jizera and Ploučnice

Water Tourism on Rivers Jizera and Ploučnice

Explore River Jizera and Ploučnice

Come visit two north-Bohemian rivers, Jizera and Ploučnice, which flow through a beautiful region, and moreover, they are popular with boaters and fishermen.

River Jizera

River Jizera springs in the Jizera Mountains, where it forms a border between the Czech Republic and Poland. It connects the area of the Krkonoše Mountains, the Jizera Mountains as well as the Bohemian Paradise, and it is an axis of the entire region. Jizera is also one of the cleanest rivers in the country, with plenty of fish. Therefore, it is extremely popular with fishermen. In the top and medium flow of the river, you will mostly find the brown trout and the European grayling. But Jizera is also popular with those who like outdoor swimming and who are not afraid of cold water.

Jizera is a river of many faces, with a mountainous character, and so it attracts fans of water sports in all performance groups. The top river flow reaches the extreme impassable difficulty of WW VI, which is extremely dangerous for regular boaters. The Jizera gorge from the confluence with Mumlava to Horní Sytová is a paradise for wild water and rafting lovers, especially in spring. The flow gradually slows down towards Semily; experienced boaters will appreciate the beautiful part of Semily, Bítouchov – Podspálov, followed by the popular Riegr Trail. A more difficult, but romantic passage leads through a narrow gorge with large boulders at a difficulty level of WW II-III when the water level is low, but which can increase to WW IV. The river is surrounded by forests along most of its top flow, then it flows through meadows with willow trees along banks and sandy ponds where trout bask in the sun. A popular section of leisure boaters is between Malá Skála and Turnov where the Jizera flows quickly (WW I), and past Turnov it becomes a lowland river with a slow stream that does not speed up until it runs into the Elbe at Benátky. The only disadvantage is the high number of impassable weirs.  

Popular Boating Sections 
Jablonec nad Jizerou – Semily: 26.5 km, difficulty WW II-I. Minimum navigability is 55 cm and 15m³ on the water gauge in Jablonec nad Jizerou. In Jablonec, River Jizera is suitable for beginners in inflatable canoes. From Dolní Sytová, you can also ride plastic canoes. 

Semily (Bítouchov) – Podspálov: 3.5 km, difficulty WW II-III (up to WW IV when water level is high). Navigable in spring or after rain, only for experienced boaters! The navigability of the section is affected by the activity of the Spálov hydroelectric power plant that takes 12m³ from the riverbed when in full operation. Navigability can be assessed from the data of the water gauge in Dolní Sytová. Minimum navigability is 25m³ for inflatable canoes, 30 m³ for rafts. 

Podspálov - Turnov: 20.9 km, difficulty WW I - ZWC. Jizera is navigable from Podspálov practically all year round, from Podspálov you need at least 140 cm on the water gauge in Železný Brod. There are many small hydroelectric power plants along the way which take water from the riverbed, especially in the summer. Otherwise, the river offers amazing panoramic views. 

Turnov - Svijany: 10 km, difficulty ZWC - ZWA. Are you a boat beginner? Then this section is ideal for you. It is not used very much, but it is navigable almost all year round. The water in the river flows slowly and you will only come across one impassable weir in Přepeře. The cruise ends near the Svijany brewery and château. 

Svijany – Mnichovo Hradiště: 14 km, difficulty ZWB - ZWA. A section for beginners and families with children. The river lazily flows through a flat countryside.

River Ploučnice  

If you used to read adventurous stories as a child and desired to discover romantic lands, untouched by civilisation, then Ploučnice is the right place for you. It springs on the hillsides of the impressive mountain of Ještěd, at an altitude of 654 metres, and then continues to the west, to flow into the Elbe in Děčín, at 95 kilometres. The river flows through a valley and its top and medium flow meanders through the open countryside of the Lusatian Mountains. After Mimoň, it flows through a former military zone where it spills out and even gets lost in the bank vegetation. The valley starts to narrow in the lower flow past Žandov and the river cuts into the terrain. The first rapids appear, as well as impassable weirs. Those are rare on the top flow, mostly impassable at the beginning of the lower flow; the last weirs just before Děčín can be navigated when the water level is ideal.

Until recently, this jewel among Czech rivers was hidden in the Ralsko military area and so the river stayed completely untouched, without any impact of the civilisation. Get ready for absolute wilderness where plants and animals rule, where you will not meet anyone, except other boaters, and where you cannot go shopping and have to completely rely on yourselves. River Ploučnice is unique thanks to cruising through narrow and steep sandstone rocks, a former hammer mill raceway ending with a long tunnel, chiselled by pickaxe into the rock. Water will push you mercilessly through the opening in the rock, also carved out, called the Infernal Mouth. After that, the boat falls about a half a meter into a shallow pond. From there, you can enjoy a pleasant cruise along the fast water until the place where willow trees appear, and you find yourselves in a jungle of hydrophilic plants. In the river, you will find many fallen trunks that have to be passed by. Ploučnice meanders quickly and the high banks make it impossible to get off the boat. You will have the opportunity to test your boating technique, skills, and overall physical condition. The advantage of River Ploučnice lies in the all-year navigability all the way to Benešov nad Ploučnicí. Its spring area is considered to be the heaviest in Central Europe and so it provides enough water. 

Popular Boating Sections 
Stráž pod Ralskem - Mimoň: 10 km, difficulty ZWC, passage through the Ploučnice gap, meadows, a forest near Mimoň. Minimum 35 cm (water gauge in Stráž pod Ralskem) 

Mimoň - Brenná: 25 km, difficulty ZWC+, meadows, alluvial forests, meanders, occasional tree trunks in the riverbed. Minimum 20 cm in Mimoň. 

Brenná - Česká Lípa: 14.5 km, difficulty ZWC+, minimum 12 cm in Česká Lípa 

Česká Lípa - Malá Veleň: 28 km, difficulty ZWC+, minimum: 85 cm on the water gauge in Benešov nad Ploučnicí 

Malá Veleň - Děčín (confluence with the Elbe): 8 km, difficulty WW I