The run starts right out with nearly a quarter-mile of rapids (probably class II).
About a quarter-mile of flat/flowing water follows the initial sequence, and leads to the second sequence. This appears slightly shorter, and perhaps just a slight touch less significant than the first. (Likely class I-II.)
A briefer pool follows the second sequence. As the river takes a very slight bend to the left, the third sequence begins with (it appears) perhaps three ledge/wave/holes. The river does a horse-shoe bend to the right, and intensity builds (just a bit) midway down the next straightaway. Action diminishes as the river twists back to the left, and low-grade rapids (likely class I-II) continue for a total of nearly 0.4 mile of action in this third sequence, petering out (to flat/flowing water) as the river bends tightly left (to the North).
After nearly two miles of flat flowing water (with a few loops and meanders), a large island is encountered (keep right!), and (immediately past it) the confluence with the East Branch Sturgeon River. For what it's worth, while the vast majority of that river is either flatwater or very very mild riffles (class I at best), there is one brief stretch of that stream which has very significant gradient. (See the "East Branch Rapids" below for description.)
Finallly, the last rapids is encountered. Starting with a very slight disturbance, then a mid-stream wave/hole. Pace slackens a bit, an island is encountered as the river twists tight right and into a fine S-turn rapids before the take-out at Osborn Road/Hwy.65.
OK, this is a 'bonus' . . . not on the Sturgeon, but on the East Branch Sturgeon. The 'distance' listed here is not distance downstream from the put-in of this (Sturgeon River) section, but the driving distance from the take-out of this run to the turn-off to get to the the start of the short East Branch Rapids section. We have no idea the status of actually getting to the river here. The marker is placed at what appears to be the most straight-forward, obvious route to access the river. It may be possible to get right to the head of the gradient, cutting off 0.3 mile of flatwater.
From the start of the gradient, you'll have a half-mile nearly continuous action, a brief pool (in a left-hairpin turn), then about another tenth-mile of lighter rapids to the bridge at Hwy.73. This makes 2/3rds of a mile with about 40' of drop, for 60FPM equivalent. If it proves possible (accessible) and if it proves interesting (as it appears on aerial views), it may be worth doing laps!
Usually only runnable with spring snowmelt or after very heavy local rain.
The USGS gauge lies directly on this stretch of river, but is downstream from the confluence with the East Branch of the Sturgeon, an equally large river. As a result, flows in the better part of this reach will be about half the gauge reading.
The optimum level is reportedly in the 400-500cfs range.
The best 'gauge' will be visual inspection at the first rapid, which is scoutable from the put in.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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