Brief Report on Ontonagon River

Dennis and Date’s “Canoeing Michigan Rivers” has some mixed up information on the final rapids on the West Branch flowing into Victoria Reservoir.

The book said the last rapids dumps directly into Victoria Reservoir and that part was true.  But it only mentions two sets of rapid instead of three, with the first being more difficult than the second.  We had experienced increasing levels of difficulty, with the last one rating a big water Class III+.  The truth is probably to describe the entire three sets of rapids as the Sandstone Falls Section with a II, III, and III rating.

Sandstone Falls is actually on Schatt Creek which enters the Ontonagon at the top of the second rapids.  Since we were at relatively high flow with close to 2,ooo cfs coming downriver it is possible that everything could look quite different at “normal” water levels.

Scouting on the left is almost impossible although the book says to do so.  It is much better to eddy out on the right at the top of the last two drops so you can see the whole run.  It does require an aggressive ferry upstream to get back out in the main flow for the move to the left, but for the experienced whitewater paddler it is the best setup.




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