Reconnaissance of the Pere Marquette River, a cold water river in the central part of Michigan's Southern Peninsula

Hydrologic Atlas 384

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 Pere Marquette, an outstanding river for brown and steelhead trout fishing, is also a popular canoe trail. Larger boats, some equipped with motors, are common in the lower reaches where the river is wide and deep. Cabins are abundant on the river near Baldwin but are relatively sparse elsewhere. The broad swampy floodplain that borders most of the river between Walhalla and Ludington apparently offers few favorable cabin sites.

The Pere Marquette is located in the west-central part of the Southern Peninsula of Michigan, and flows westward from the headwaters near Chase in Lake County to the mouth at Ludington, in Mason County. The river is south of, and roughly parallel to, U.S. Highway 10 from Chase to Ludington. Access to the river is by roads leading south from U.S. 10 at Nirvana, Idlewild, Baldwin, Branch, Walhalla, Scottville, and many intermediate points.

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 report is to describe these characteristics and show how they relate to recreational USGS.

Most of the information presented here was obtained from a field reconnaissance in July and August, 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 Middle Branch and main stem of the Pere Marquette 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 Department of Natural Resources.

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

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Reconnaissance of the Pere Marquette River, a cold water river in the 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
2 Plates: 33.5 x 34.0 inches and 53.5 x 36.0 inches
United States
Other Geospatial:
Pere Marquette River