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Difficulty II(IV)
Length 7.6 Miles
Gauge STURGEON RIVER NEAR SIDNAW, MI
Flow Range 6.23 - 8.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago ~ 3.39 [FT] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 02/17/2015 4:05 pm

River Description


A 4 mile access and 3.3 mile egress of moving water (broken only by random, very light rapids) nets you an exciting quarter-mile drop sequence.

Just 150' after the confluence with Bruno Creek, the start of the Otter Falls sequence is encountered. This opens with a 5' sloping ledge that serves as fair warning that the main drop is just ahead. Otter Falls is an extended low angle bedrock slide, with two steeper ledges of perhaps 5'-6' in close proximity near the start. This slide sequence extends for perhaps 200 yards before tapering off into light rockbed rapids.

Tauriainen Road (shown on maps) comes in (dead ends) very near this location. We are not sure whether part or all of that road may be private or how likely it is to be passable in early season or after heavy rains. If accessable, (and if the area is not all posted against trespass -- unknown to us at this time) it may alow a carry-up, huck, carry-out option as an alternative for seeing/running this falls sequence without doing a shuttle (and without having to run the (nothing-but-low-grade rapids) access and egress portions of this run. Google satellite view also shows a significant powerline clearing and has it marked as a road (though none is specifically visible, so it is likely a utility easement, and/or 4-wheeler/snomobile trail) coming into to river at 5.4 miles from the listed put-in (I.E., about a mile-and-a-quarter after the falls sequence). Absent one of those options working out, you are faced with an even more featureless paddle out of 3.35 miles. If the listed take-out at Donken Tapiola Road (off Hazel Swamp Road) is inaccessible early season, use Horoscope Road (listed on some maps as "Limestone Mountain Road"). This adds another 2 miles of low-gradient paddling (for a total of 9.6 miles from our listed put-in). Fortunately (if this stretch is paddled), while there are no real features apparent, it does appear to move along much better than the 3.35 miles after the falls.

A good companion piece to this reach may be the W.Br.Sturgeon, which is located about five miles to the south. The W.Br.Sturgeon is a smaller watershed, so if the Otter is low, it's near certainty the W.Br.Sturgeon will be also.

Rapid Descriptions

Drainage area ~28.4 square miles.

Class - N/A Mile - 0.7
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Possible wave/hole

Class - II Mile - 0.8
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

First apparent (minor) feature.

Very minor rips

Class - I Mile - 1.32
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Again, a short stretch of very low-grade rips. (At least it's a break from the otherwise nothing but flat-and-flowing water).

Possible minor rips

Class - I Mile - 1.54
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Perhaps a tripping ledge and wave-train.

Minor rips?

Class - I Mile - 2.13
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Again, nothing to get too excited about . . . just another very small break from the flatwater.

Minor rips?

Class - I Mile - 2.36
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Yup, again.

Minor wave train

Class - I Mile - 2.83
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And another. OK, this one may extend a lot longer than the others, but it's otherwise not any more interesting.

Wave train

Class - I Mile - 3.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

And another.

Ledge/Wave/Hole?

Class - II Mile - 3.78
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Perhaps a single ledge/wave/hole . . . and then . . . you guessed it . . . very minor rips and waves.

Confluence, Bruno Creek

Class - N/A Mile - 3.94
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OK, here's your best signal that you have nearly arrived! Just 150' downstream lies the sequence you have been waiting for!

Otter Falls

Class - IV Mile - 3.97
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(See main description for the details.)

End of Otter Falls Sequence

Class - N/A Mile - 4.21
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Action dies out at this point, leaving an egress paddle (very similar to the access paddle) of virtually nothing but flat/flowing water and very minor riffles and rips.

Minor rips

Class - N/A Mile - 4.45
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Possible small ledge/wave/hole

Class - N/A Mile - 4.57
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Powerline Crossing

Class - N/A Mile - 5.43
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Some online mapping shows a 'road' coming in from the SouthEast along these powerlines. It is likely this is merely a dirt single-track. In the event it is passable, this could provide alternate egress, cutting off additional flatwater paddle-out.

Alternate take-out

Class - N/A Mile - 9.63
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

An alternate take-out (in the perhaps unlikely event someone runs this, and finds the listed take-out inaccessible). Also site of a USGS sampling site, listing drainage at this point as 53.1 square miles.

Comments

Gage Descriptions

* USGS Gauge shown is for parallel watershed and should give a fair indicator of runnabilty.
Min/Max are purely conjecture, and correlation of rivers is not assured.
Visual determination of flow at any of the access points is difficult as the river is fairly wide through the significant gradient. Suffice it to say, for a good run, the river should not appear to be low.

Permits

NA

Directions Description


We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports

Alerts

News

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Rob

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Matt Muir

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1196413 11/11/09 Rob
1193499 03/03/09 n/a n/a
1198447 10/24/10 Rob Minor formatting changes.
1204182 02/17/15 Rob minor edit