Michigamme River and Michigamme Reservoir Trip Report

Jul 12, 2020
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Two of us paddled the Michigamme River below the town of Republic to the Michigamme Reservoir last week, (first week of August). This stretch is well documented in Jerry Dennis and Craig Date's book, Canoeing Michigan Rivers, but that's about it. We chose to start at a roadside park below Republic so that we didn't have to portage around the dams near that town. The river was quite tame and shallow in spots with the Whitbeck Rapids stretch being more technical and boney. Most features were around class 1 with maybe one spot being a class 2 (Michigan standard). When water levels are higher this stretch would be fun to run with whitewater setups. We ran it with a boat load of camping gear in an Old Town Penobscot. Gear was in barrels and portage pack so nothing was jingling around or could spread all over the river if we did take a swim. We bumped a few rocks and drag bottom in a couple quick spots, but overall it wasn't bad. It could have been much worse. The river after the rapids slows and widens considerably as it approaches the reservoir area. The reservoir area is quite interesting and has quite the wild and remote feeling. There are private residences along the river with motor boats that access the reservoir but traffic wasn't bad when we went through (a Thursday). We camped in the NE portion of the reservoir and boat traffic from below did occasional make its rounds by us but most were fisherman trolling. There are a couple of campgrounds on the We-energy property (most of the land around the reservoir is We-energy Land) that have the modern nuances of other campgrounds (speedboats, party boats, rvs, etc.) and there is a rather large resort that rents out house boats and other motorboats which adds to the modern nuances in the main trunk of the reservoir. The reservoir is quite large with many channels, islands, bays, inlets, and at least 3 rivers/streams that diverge into it a different points so there is plenty of room to get away from people, however, there may be company from time to time with the occasional annoying motorboat user. Take out was at the dam. Apparently there is a portage trail over it but it's not posted/advertised other than what the energy company lists on their maps. We spent 1 night on the river and two on the reservoir. We could have paddled to the reservoir in one day, but it would have been a long one. Overall the trip was great and quite diverse in the paddling experiences (quick water, rapids, slow river, spreads, big lake). Fishing was average for the area. Lot's of wildlife (deer, otters, beaver, eagles, waterfowl, loons).

Figured I would post this since there isn't much on this area. We spent some time researching this before and came up with very little information on it. We-energy has a few maps for the access points. https://www.we-energies.com/environm...nwarea-map.pdf Hopefully this helps. This area appeared to get little paddling pressure. Pressure is more from motorboats in the big water within the reservoir.