Hunts' Guide to The Upper Peninsula
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Ontonagon River Middle Branch

This pretty, relatively undeveloped stretch of river is small and clear, with excellent fishing for brook trout. The Middle Branch, which begins at Crooked Lake, is navigable spring through fall from U.S. 2 in Watersmeet to just above Bond Falls - 25 miles in all. It's one of the few Upper Peninsula rivers served by a canoe livery, Sylvania Outfitters in Watersmeet. Canoeing enthusiasts Jerry Dennis and Craig Date recommend the Ontonagon River Middle Branch in their Canoeing Michigan Rivers. Refer to their book for detailed hints about how to run this and 17 other Upper Peninsula rivers. Paddling Michigan by Kevin Hillstrom and Laurie Collier Hillstrom has almost as much detail in a book that includes Upper Peninsula paddling opportunities on inland lakes and the Great Lakes.
The stretch from Watersmeet to Bond Falls Flowage ("flowage" up here refers to a pond or impoundment) has water levels high enough for canoeing even throughout the summer. Above Mex-I-Min-E Falls and Burned Dam, the river has gentle rapids suitable for advanced beginners. The very popular stretch from the Burned Dam campground to the bridge at the abandoned townsite of Interior has a lot of whitewater in seven not-very-tricky rapids. It makes a fine first whitewater trip for intermediate canoeists. Wood turtles, painted turtles, and eagles are often seen.

For more info on paddling different segments of the river, consult one of the recommended books or Sylvania Outfitters' web site or shop
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WATERSMEET
POINTS OF INTEREST
Sylvania Wilderness Area. This lake-studded 30-square-mile tract is a rare treasure: an old-growth forest that escaped the logger's ax, and lakes where motors are banned. ... more

Watersmeet Trout Hatchery and Fish Farm. Fishing's always good at this plentifully-sotcked hatchery. Great outing for kids ... more

Ottawa Visitor Center. The Ottawa National Forest info center also has an excellent nature bookstore, interesting exhibits, and anature trail ... more

Clark Lake and Clark Lake Trail. Convenient auto access up to the motor-free Sylvania Wilderness Area's Clark Lake with a long, sandy beach, good birding, and an 8-mile trail around the lake through the old-growth forest. ... more

Imp Lake Interpretive Trail. This memorable 1.5-mile path leads from an inviting swimming area into an old-growth hemlock forest ... more

Sylvania Outfitters. Veteran outdoorsman Bob Zelinski shares a wealth of information about the area, rents canoes, kayaks, skis, and snowshoes, and refers customers to fishing guides ... more

Mex-I-Min-E Falls & Campground. A short, powerful cascade in a quiet, pretty woodland spot with primitive camping. ... more

Ontonagon River Middle Branch. This pretty, underdeveloped brook trout stream can be paddled year-round. Rent a canoe. It's a fine first whitewater trip ... more

Sylvania Outfitters Cross-Country Ski Trails. 20 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails in the Sylvania Wildeerness Area, much of it over hilly terrain ... more

Watersmeet Rails to Trails. This old railroad grade leads through many habitats to downtown Land O'Lakes ... more

Ajibikoka Falls. Difficult to get to, this falls is one of the finest in the Watersmeet region ... more

Watersmeet Wi-fi Hotspots. Public Library in Land O Lakes WI 9 miles south has wi-fi. Turn right on Hwy B. On north side of Hwy B downtown. Can use in parking lot if not open.
Lac Vieux Desert Resort Casino has wi-fi. N5384 US-45 north of Watersmeet. ... more

Our new interactive map to U.P. motels that offer exceptionally low rates. See also our useful detailed maps to U.P. TOWNS. These custom-made maps locate landmarks and attractions.
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Michigan's Upper Peninsula - Hunts' Guide to the U.P.

 
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