Eastern Manitowish River
Distance:
15 miles
Duration:
5.5 hours
Difficulty:
Easy
Wilderness:

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Route Segment Distance
 High Lk to High Pines Ln 3.1 miles
 High Pines Ln to Fishtrap Dam 5.4 miles
 Fishtrap Dam to Hwy M 3.0 miles
 Hwy M to Hwy H/K 3.7 miles



Overview

Water Type: River, crosses three large lakes.

Camping:  There are 17 primitive campsites on this route.

Additional Information: This route requires portaging around Fishtrap Dam.


Directions to Put-in:  Put-in is located at the High Lake Boat Landing, 3.5 miles east of Highway M on Highway B.  There is parking available at the boat landing.

Directions to Take-out:  Take-out is located 2 miles west of Boulder Junction on Highway K.  There is parking available at the rest stop at Highway H and Highway K.


To paddle the Manitowish River from its headwaters, put in at the High Lake boat landing on Highway B about 12 miles east of Presque Isle. A short channel will bring you into the lake, which takes about an hour to cross. With its clear water, forested shores, and scattered islands, High Lake is home to loons, eagles, and other wildlife.  Stay to the left shore, as it is less developed and offers two sets of two secluded campsites. 

A channel at the far side of High Lake brings you to a culvert that passes under High Pines Lane.  Take out is on the left if you wish to do so here.  Once through the culvert, you have entered Fishtrap Lake.  Stay to the left shore again.  There are four campsites on this shoreline covered by towering pines and birches. 

Exit Fishtrap Lake through Wide Creek, which soon turns into more of a wetland than a creek due to the dam downstream.  This wetland is home to numerous great blue herons that can be found hunting in the marsh or roosting in the trees. There are two campsites on the left through this stretch. The first campsite is located where Johnson Creek enters Wide Creek.  This is where the river officially becomes the Manitowish!

The Manitowish takes you past three campsites up high on the right shore before bringing you to Fishtrap Dam.  This small dam can be easily portaged via a 500ft trail that starts at the boat landing on river right. Past the dam, the river may be overgrown with wild rice and reeds.  You will pass an entrance to Little Rice Lake on the left before reaching the Highway M bridge, where take-out may or may not be possible due to new construction projects. 

After going under the Highway M bridge, a channel lined with many houses and inhabited by many more waterfowl brings you to Boulder Lake. Boulder Lake takes about an hour to cross and may be dotted with buoys used by Camp Manitowish.  On the less-developed far left shore of the lake are three campsites in a row. Past these campsites, the lake narrows until you reach take-out at the Boulder Lake boat landing on river right, just above a set of Class 2 rapids and the Highway K bridge.  A lone campsite is located just across the road from the boat landing.