The listed put-in is (indeed) on the Brule River (as this reach is listed). However, the only known actual rapids are after the confluence with Michigamme where the combined flow becomes the Menominee River. Thus, by rights, this really could be the first listing for the Menominee.
The main reason to do this reach is Big Bull Rapids. Where the river encounters a large island, rapids reportedly lie on each side. The left channel carries the majority of the flow, and (reportedly) has large waves and some large rocks. The right channel is characterized as having tight turns and being likely to be brush-filled, thus a less likely route (at least by old canoe guide descriptions).
We do not currently have information as to whether these rapids (either side) contain sufficient interest or potential for whitewater playboaters to merit the flatwater access and egress which appear to be necessary.
Resolution on satellite view is excellent. We highly recommend going to the 'Maps' tab, clicking 'Satellite', and zooming-in on the islands at Big Bull Rapids to have a look.
As reported by Brendan Hammond (2010-10-23)Ran this stretch a few years ago, no real whitewater whatsoever.
However, way up on the headwaters of the Brule, where Brule Creek flows into Elvoy Creek there is a short section where Brule Creek drops 20'+. There was a hydropower plant and dam at one time there. Some of the penstock is still visible. These creeks start in springs and are largely groundwater-fed. This fact, along with the amount of wood in the larger drops, and the small drainage area, probably makes it a no go.
For what it's worth, it appears drainage at that location is on the order of 33 square miles. In theory, that could be enough to make runnable flows at least a good handful of times a year. However, the nearest downstream gauge (at Hwy.2 near Florence) has 366 sq.mi. drainage, and has a "10% flow" of only 539 cfs. Assuming proportional contribution across the watershed (not necessarily valid), this implies flow up at the Brule Creek/Elvoy Creek area would be less than 54 cfs 90% of the time (>328 days per year).
*NOT ON THE LISTED REACH*
On the Michigamme River, upstream of the confluence and a flowage, lies Peavy Falls Dam. Under ordinary circumstances, all flow is likely diverted through a penstock between the dam and powerplant, leaving a dry riverbed. In the event of unusually high flows, it is possible that there may be flow in this short stretch of riverbed.
We currently have no knowledge or information as to whether there might be any reasonable play here, or at what flows that might be expected to happen. So . . . has anyone ever taken a look at this? Anyone ever seen anything worth suiting up and trying to play? Report!
To cut out some of the flatwater, access may be possible (via Town Road 25) right at the confluence of the Brule and Michigamme Rivers, where the combined flow is now the Menominee River. The islands and Big Bull Rapids are not far downstream.
1,760 sq.mi. drainage.
1,119.23 feet above sea level
There appears to be a residence just upstream from the islands and rapids. I believe the driveway is gated at the road, precluding using this as access. *IF* one were able to drive in and secure permission, you may be able to check out this area as a possible park-and-play.
In the odd chance the gate is open, if one obtained permission from the property owner, it may make it possible to use this location as a launch, and possibly make a 'park-and-play' (with carry-up), if any worthwhile play were to be found in these rapids.
A number of islands split the flow. Main flow is to the left, where there are supposedly "large rocks" and "big waves". To the right, rapids exist, though reportedly are 'too tight' and twisty for canoe passage. We have little awareness of any more details regarding the merits (possible play) of this area. Anyone with more specific knowledge is encouraged to add a comment or report.
Gauge cited is 0.5 miles downstream from the confluence of the Brule and the Michigamme Rivers (where, together, they become the Menomonee River).
Since that is where the rapids on this run lie, it is the most appropriate gauge for this reach, and should be very accurate for flows in these rapids.
Permits are not required for this reach.
The most convenient put-in (that is, the put-in which allows the most convenient shuttle) is on the Brule River, just downstream of the dam and powerplant. However, the whitewater on this reach lies about a mile downstream of the confluence of the Brule and the Michigamme Rivers, where the combined flow becomes the Menominee River.
(IF access can be arranged on "Camel's Clearing Road" and "Township Road", the flatwater trip (and the shuttle) may be shortened considerably (2 miles of river, 5.5 mile shuttle).
(Put-in coordinates become 45.947990, -88.184600)
Unfortunately, if memory serves, when I tried looking for this access, all I found was a gated road, necessitating the put-in as listed elsewhere in this description.
Access may be possible from the Michigan side of the river at the confluence of the Brule and Michigamme, but this makes for a 27 mile long shuttle for a scant 2 miles of river.)
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