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Ontonagon River

 

 



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Ontonagon River Trail

Ontonagon River

Kayak Ontonagon River

In this back country setting, the gorge-like landscape, exposed sandstone cliffs, and waterfalls provide a unique recreational area for the Midwest. The river also has excellent fishing for resident brown trout, Lake Superior run salmon, and steelhead.

Designated Reach: March 3, 1992. The East Branch from its origin to the Ottawa National Forest boundary. The Middle Branch from its origin to the northern boundary of the Ottawa National Forest. The Cisco Branch from its origin at Cisco Lake Dam to its confluence with Ten-Mile Creek south of Ewen. The West Branch from its confluence with Cascade Falls to Victoria Reservoir.

Classification/Mileage: Wild -- 42.9 miles; Scenic -- 41.0 miles; Recreational -- 73.5 miles; Total -- 157.4 miles.

Ottawa National Forest
E6248 U.S. Highway 2
Ironwood, Michigan 49938

This 24 mile stretch of the river begins with access on US-45 at the Military Hill Bridge with ample parking available. Three miles downstream a second landing site provides access at the Victoria Road gauging station. The river is canoeable throughout the summer with high water in the spring and fall providing the best canoeing for the more experienced canoeist. A boat landing at the Ontonagon Harbor is available near Lake Superior. Fish for brook, rainbow, and steelhead trout, northern, and walleye.

This river is under Congressional study for designation to the Wild and Scenic River System. It is currently under the protection of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act pursuant to Section 7 (b) of the Act.

Main stem of the Ontonagon River system. Flows through western upper peninsula wild country. Watershed heavily forested with very little development. Excellent floating and fishing. Located in a deeply incised valley in an area of high hills with land flattening out near mouth. Many high gravel banks. Proposed by state for study for inclusion in State Natural Rivers System.

MIDDLE BRANCH

Canoe access and parking is available at a Forest Service wayside in the town of Watersmeet where US-45 crosses the river. A portage is necessary at Mex-i-min-e falls which is approximately 9 miles down the river before Burned Dam campground. The rest of the trip to Bond Falls Flowage has moderate rapids and quiet pools for fishing. There are approximately 11 additional miles to Bond Falls Flowage. Just about any kind of native fish can be caught from the campground to Bond Falls Flowage.

A tributary to Ontonagon River. Flows through largely primitive watershed. Good fishing and can be canoed (difficult at times). Flows through very scenic valley with no cultural intrusions in lower 25 miles.

THE SEGMENT FROM ITS ORIGIN TO THE NORTHERN BOUNDARY OF THE OTTAWA NATIONAL FOREST WAS ADDED AS A COMPONENT OF THE NATIONAL WILD AND SCENIC rivers SYSTEM ON 3/3/92.

SOUTH BRANCH

This 25.3 mile river stretch begins at the M-28 bridge in Ewen and ends at the Victoria Dam. These are the only available access sites. Rapids located within the last 2 miles can be very difficult during medium to high water.

Part of the Ontonagon system. Essentially primitive with small amount of farming. Flows in part in Ottawa National Forest. Good recreational opportunity.

THE SEGMENT FROM ITS ORIGIN AT CISCO LAKE DAM TO ITS CONFLUENCE WITH TEN-MILE CREEK SOUTH OF EWEN WAS ADDED AS A COMPONENT OF THE NATIONAL WILD AND SCENIC rivers SYSTEM ON 3/3/92.

Scenic attraction especially when river is running full usually during spring breakup and in late fall. Native brook trout fishing . Popular for canoeing.

East Branch

A tributary to Ontonagon. Good fishing and floating. Flows in part through land owned by the U.S. Forest Service. Good to excellent water quality. Receives moderate recreational use.

THE SEGMENT FROM ITS ORIGIN TO THE OTTAWA NATIONAL FOREST BOUNDARY WAS ADDED AS A COMPONENT OF THE NATIONAL WILD AND SCENIC rivers SYSTEM ON 3/3/92.

West Branch

Part of Ontonagon River system. Excellent canoeing and good fishing opportunity. Flows through western upper peninsula wild country with minimal cultural intrusions.

THE SEGMENT FROM ITS CONFLUENCE WITH CASCADE FALLS TO VICTORIA RESERVOIR WAS ADDED AS A COMPONENT OF THE NATIONAL WILD AND SCENIC rivers SYSTEM ON 3/3/92.

View of Trap Hills to north. Flows through gorge-like landscape.

Ontonagon River Map | Middle Branch Map | South Branch Map

Return to Ontonagon County, Michigan Trails

 

 
     

 

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