Sturgeon (Baraga), Michigan, US
|Usual Difficulty||II(III) (varies with level)|
|Avg. Gradient||34 fpm|
|Max Gradient||90 fpm|
|STURGEON RIVER NEAR SIDNAW, MI|
|usgs-04040500||400 - 4000 cfs||II(III)||00h45m||~ 185 cfs (too low)|
|Almost certainly too low for reasonable boating. (Likely less than 100 cfs.) Drainage at Old 41 is very nearly half that of listed gauge, so flow here may be nearly half the gauge listing.|
Put-in (if there is adequate water) is on Hinkey Creek. Gradient actually starts about a quarter-mile upstream (South) of Old US Hwy.41. With drainage area at this point of close to 15 square miles, this is obviously 'micro creeking', runnable only with peak snowmelt or soon after heavy rains. From that point, there is very nearly a full mile of creek to the confluence with Sturgeon River, dropping ~90FPM.
At that confluence, you are (unfortunately) right at the end of a fine stretch of rapids on the Sturgeon. You may wish to hike up shore about a quarter-mile to catch this action.
You will then have 4.75 miles of the Sturgeon. The first 2.5 miles averages only 17 FPM, but things pick up so the last 2.25 miles averages nearly 30 FPM.
Make certain to take out immediately after the Hwy.41 bridge. Just downstream lies the Sturgeon Canyon section, with action accelerating quickly toward Canyon Falls. Definitely worth taking a look!
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|1.0||Confluence, Hinkey Creek / Sturgeon River||N/A|
|1.2||Head of Gradient||II+|
|3.4||Head of gradient||II|
|4.2||Old US Hwy.41||N/A|
If you have been able to boat Hinkey Creek, at this confluence you are at the bottom of a 0.2 mile rapids on the Sturgeon. It may be worth hiking upstream to catch this fine action before heading downriver.
(Note: FWIW, this and all subsequent feature-distances are measured contiguous from the put-in, and do not include the 'extra' 0.2 mile rapids on the Sturgeon above the confluence with Hinkey Creek.)
A brief bit of low-grade (likley class I-II) rapids, with a possibly playable wave/hole, breaks up the otherwise just flowing water.
Downstream of this powerline you'll encounter a series of twists and turns (meanders), typical of a low gradient section of river.
It appears there is a small dam or weir crossing the river at this point. At some flows it may form a rather uniform hydraulic which may require scouting and possible portage. More likely, at most flows, it appears likely to allow passage (especially to one shore or the other), and could (at some flows) even create some play opportunity (with appropriate caution regarding flows and retentiveness).
Starting at this point (if the aerial views don't lie) you should have nearly continuous splishy-splash waves to the take-out. There may be a few random playable wave/holes, but don't expect to find any major features.
USGS lists a sampling site at this location, citing drainage area as 83.6 square miles.