Ontonagon, S.Br. - Hwy.28 (in Ewen) to W Br Ontonagon (26.5 miles)


Ontonagon, S.Br., Michigan, US

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Hwy.28 (in Ewen) to W Br Ontonagon (26.5 miles)

Usual Difficulty I-III (for normal flows)
Length 26.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 8 fpm
Max Gradient 31 fpm


River Description

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).


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-03-05 16:56:42

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0USGS Sampling SiteN/A
9.1Flannigan RapidsN/A
10.9Flannigan Rapids endsN/A
11.4Confluence, Farmer Creek / Three IslandsN/A
12.5Steep eroded bankN/A
15.5Scattered ripsN/A
19.1Islands / Confluence W.Br.N/A
22.7Low-grade rapidsN/A
24.4Backwaters, Victoria ReservoirN/A

Rapid Descriptions

USGS Sampling Site (Class 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 (Class N/A, Mile 9.1)

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!



Flannigan Rapids ends (Class N/A, Mile 10.9)
At this point, the nearly 2-mile rapids ends. Interestingly, just beyond this point is where some map/views have the rapids marked!

Confluence, Farmer Creek / Three Islands (Class N/A, Mile 11.4)

Three fairly large islands clutter the river. Farmer Creek enters (from the left, into the left channel of the islands).



Steep eroded bank (Class N/A, Mile 12.5)

At a horseshoe bend (where the river changes direction, briefly, from North to South), river-left will be a high, steeply eroded slope.



Scattered rips (Class N/A, Mile 15.5)

Extremely low-grade rips appear to intersperse flat/flowing water in the next 3+ miles.



Islands / Confluence W.Br. (Class N/A, Mile 19.1)

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).



Low-grade rapids (Class N/A, Mile 22.7)

After a stretch of flat/flowing water, some welcome minor rips will be welcome.



Backwaters, Victoria Reservoir (Class N/A, Mile 24.4)

The last of the minor rips yields to the backwaters of the reservoir from Victoria Falls Dam.




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