Sturgeon (Baraga) - B) Hickey Creek to Hwy.41 (5.7 miles)

Sturgeon (Baraga), Michigan, US


B) Hickey Creek to Hwy.41 (5.7 miles)

Usual Difficulty II(III) (varies with level)
Length 5.7 Miles
Avg. Gradient 34 fpm
Max Gradient 90 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-04040500 400 - 4000 cfs II(III) 00h57m ~ 136 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.

River Description

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!

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-03-13 20:10:23

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
1.0Confluence, Hinkey Creek / Sturgeon RiverN/AAccess
1.2Head of GradientII+
1.5Minor RapidsN/A
1.9Powerline CrossingN/A
3.0Weir/DamN/APortage Hazard Playspot
3.4Head of gradientII
4.2Old US Hwy.41N/A

Rapid Descriptions

Confluence, Hinkey Creek / Sturgeon River (Class N/A, Mile 1.0)

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.

Minor Rapids (Class N/A, Mile 1.5)

(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.

Powerline Crossing (Class N/A, Mile 1.9)

Downstream of this powerline you'll encounter a series of twists and turns (meanders), typical of a low gradient section of river.

Weir/Dam (Class N/A, Mile 3.0)

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).

Head of gradient (Class II, Mile 3.4)

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.

Old US Hwy.41 (Class N/A, Mile 4.2)

USGS lists a sampling site at this location, citing drainage area as 83.6 square miles.

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