Reconnaissance of the Pigeon River, a cold-water river in the north-central part of Michigan's southern peninsula

Hydrologic Atlas 333

Prepared in cooperation with the Michigan Geological Survey



The cold-water streams of the northern states provide unique recreational values to the American people (wilderness or semi-wilderness atmosphere, fast-water canoeing, and trout fishing), but the expanding recreational needs must be balanced against the growing demand of water for public and industrial supplies, for irrigation, and for the dilution of sewage and other wastes. In order to make intelligent decisions regarding use and management of the water resource for recreation and other demands, an analysis of the hydrologic factors related to recreational values is essential.

The Pigeon River is one of Michigan's outstanding trout streams and is the favorite of a large number of anglers who return year after year. Camping is also popular and is usually, but not always, associated with fishing. Boating is very rare on the Pigeon because of numerous portages around log jams. Cabin-living and resorting are relatively minor on this river as yet, but much of the private river front may be developed in future years.

The Pigeon is located in the north-central part of the southern peninsula of Michigan (see index map). Headwaters are a few miles northeast of Gaylord, and the mouth is at Mullet Lake, a few miles northeast of Indian River. Interstate Highway 75 roughly parallels the river about 5 to 10 miles to the west. Exits from this highway at Gaylord, Vanderbilt, Wolverine, and Indian River, provide easy access to the Pigeon.

The recreational value of the river depends on the streamflow characteristics, quality of water, and character of stream channel, and bed and banks. The purpose of this atlas is to describe these characteristics, and to show how they relate to recreational uses.

Most of the information presented here was obtained from a field reconnaissance in June, 1966, and from basic records of the U.S. Geological Survey's Water Resources Division. The area of field study is limited to the channel, bed, and banks of the main stem of the Pigeon from source to mouth. The study was made in cooperation with the Michigan Geological Survey, Gerald E. Eddy, Chief. Advice and assistance were also obtained from other sections of the Michigan Conservation Department.

Sheet 1 of this atlas presents information on streamflow characteristics and water quality. Sheet 2 describes the physical characteristics of the stream channel, and bed and banks, and shows how these physical characteristics relate to streamflow, water quality, and recreational use.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Reconnaissance of the Pigeon River, a cold-water river in the north-central part of Michigan's southern peninsula
Series title:
Hydrologic Atlas
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s):
Michigan Water Science Center
5 Plates: 30.5 x 40.0 inches or smaller
United States
Other Geospatial:
Pigeon River