Ontonagon, S.Br., Michigan, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-III (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||8 fpm|
|Max Gradient||31 fpm|
The first nine miles of this reach appear to be totally
flatwater, until Flannigan Rapids is reached. From here down to the confluence
with the W Br, there is an average gradient of 15'/mile, creating low grade rapids.
To reach a take-out, one must paddle at least 2.25 miles across a flowage (behind the Victoria Falls dam). This is not reflected in the gradient figures, though it is reflected by the take-out coordinates (for shuttle routing to work correctly).
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||USGS Sampling Site||N/A|
|10.9||Flannigan Rapids ends||N/A|
|11.4||Confluence, Farmer Creek / Three Islands||N/A|
|12.5||Steep eroded bank||N/A|
|19.1||Islands / Confluence W.Br.||N/A|
|24.4||Backwaters, Victoria Reservoir||N/A|
USGS lists a sampling site at Hwy.28 (our listed put-in) and cited drainage area at that point as 348 square miles.
Flannigan Rapids appears to be a low-grade (class I-II) boulderbed rapids which starts here and runs fairly continuous for nearly two miles. It appears possible one could hike (about 3/4-mile) in to this point off of Burma Road (730). Look for a logging trail (likely gated/impassible) about 2.25 miles South of where it bends to head South, or about 0.6 mile North of N.Cemetery Road. You would have to hike in about 0.4 mile to where the trail is nearest the woods, but where it veers away for a bit. At this point, look for a path of least resistance due West (more-or-less) into the trees. You will hit the river within a quarter-mile, and be pretty much right at the head of the rapids!
Three fairly large islands clutter the river. Farmer Creek enters (from the left, into the left channel of the islands).
At a horseshoe bend (where the river changes direction, briefly, from North to South), river-left will be a high, steeply eroded slope.
Extremely low-grade rips appear to intersperse flat/flowing water in the next 3+ miles.
A very narrow channel splits off to the left as the river encounters an interesting series of islands. Amidst these islands, from river-left, the West Branch Ontonagon enters (a half-mile downstream from marked point).
After a stretch of flat/flowing water, some welcome minor rips will be welcome.
The last of the minor rips yields to the backwaters of the reservoir from Victoria Falls Dam.