Sturgeon (Menominee R. trib.) - Sturgeon Dam (0.3 - 2.0 miles)

Sturgeon (Menominee R. trib.), Michigan, US


Sturgeon Dam (0.3 - 2.0 miles)

Usual Difficulty III-IV (varies with level)
Length 2 Miles
Avg. Gradient 15 fpm
Max Gradient 35 fpm

Sturgeon River ca. 1922

Sturgeon River ca. 1922
Photo by image courtesy of WE Energies

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-04065650 200 - 1500 cfs III-IV 01h01m ~ 669 cfs (running)
Likely moderate boatable flow. We need your comments and reports on how boatability and difficulty changes for this section at various flows. Gauge (389 sq.mi. drainage) is 3.5 miles downstream of take-out. Gauge flows may be affected by regulation of flowage and dam which intervene.
usgs-04059500 250 - 1000 cfs II-III+ 38d20h02m ~ 289 cfs (running)
Unconfirmed. Probably best flows for whitewater on this reach. (Likely 200-500 cfs.) We need your comments and reports to refine runnable ranges. As a secondary check, flow on Sturgeon might roughly correlate to 80% of the flow of the Ford gauge (450 sq.mi. drainage).

River Description

As a result of WE Energies Wilderness Shores Settlement Agreement, removal of the Sturgeon Dam (near Norway, MI) has resulted in a paddling destination which is convenient to a few other popular runs (Piers Gorge on the Menominee and Horeserace Rapids on the Paint).

The removal (started in the summer of 2003, completed autumn of 2005) yielded 0.3-0.6 mile of whitewater located in a scenic gorge. This should be big water class III and IV during the high flows of early season and more moderate class II and III in the summer months.

See additonal 'User Comments' attached below for the most recent information regarding this reach.

We will add that paddling groups may differ on their preferred access for this run. Our listing is a 'full run' (with a shuttle to the most convenient upstream put-in) which actually starts out with 0.3 mile on a very tiny side-creek. Once on the Sturgeon, there will be an additional mile of flat/flowing water before the significant action begins. Thus, many paddlers opt to just park at the take-out (former dam site) and carry up. However, doing so generally means missing the 'dells', as the carry-up trail veers far from the river and you would have to do some major bushwhacking to get to a place above the dells where you could again access the river.

For more information about this area, please see WE Energies Wilderness Shores.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-06-04 10:32:30

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
1.1Possible alternate put-inN/A
1.3Head of gradientN/A
1.8Sturgeon RapidsN/APhoto

Rapid Descriptions

Rapids? (Class N/A, Mile -0.8)

Upstream of our indicated put-in, it appears there may be one brief additional rapids. This may be accessible via a carry-up or via alternate access (logging roads off of Hupp Road or Foster City Road / 1 / 569), but may not be worth the extra bother and extra 1.0-1.75 miles (or more) of otherwise flat water paddling.

Possible alternate put-in (Class N/A, Mile 1.1)

It may be possible to cutoff a mile (+/-) of flatwater access if apparent logging roads are passable with your vehicle(s) (and not gated or posted against trespass, and if you can park so as not to block passage).

Head of gradient (Class N/A, Mile 1.3)

The gradient begins about at this point.

Sturgeon Rapids (Class N/A, Mile 1.8)

Sturgeon Rapids

Sturgeon Rapids
Photo of The Rapids by Nate Alwine taken 05/15/03 @ ?

The 'crux' of this run begins here.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 11 2006 (4666 days ago)
Nate AlwineDetails
In 2006 Ran at 1600 cfs. Carried up from the take out to about 1 mile above where the dam used to
be just above a narrow dells. (The point where the canyon pretty much ends) and ran back to the
parking lot. At 1600 cfs this run is a hoot! But be cautious to search for logs. During our run the
rapid where the dam used to be had logs choking the main channel to river right so we had to take
the river left channel. There are 3 holes at the end of the rapids that look pretty munchy. In fact
2 of our group got stuck in the bottom most hole on river right and kept them for a while before
finally flushing them.
In 2007 Ran at same level and holes at end of run are now more like big waves and not so keepy. The
river right channel just below where the dam used to be was log free, but looked low head damish.
We took the river left channel again.
October 31 2005 (4828 days ago)
Mike CroakDetails
Myself and three others paddled this yesterday. It has
a very dramatic inner gorge with high banks of sand.
The re-bar appears to be gone and so is the dam, but
watch out for logs. We put in from a wooden bridge
off of G69. This gave us a long flatwater approach.
Although it was very scenic, and even had a little dells,
most whitewater paddlers will want to just carry up
and only run the whitewater.