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Dam Portage

What is the dam portage and what is required to safely navigate this obstacle?

For all trips launching up river from Rusty Oar, you must portage the Holliday Dam at the town of Clare and across from the Rusty Oar property.


The drop is 12-14 feet into shallow water, jagged rocks and rough concrete!

As you paddle into the area, Riverwood (houses) will be on your right, and Riverbend Campground (campers) will be on your left. The town of Clare will come into view ahead, and the river bends to the right (GPS 40° 6′ 3″ N, 85° 57′ 51″W). You’ll be looking ahead at the Duke Energy electric plant. You can’t miss it on the right side (west bank) of the river. There are 3 huge steam stacks to draw your attention. Paddle straight towards the power plant. You will see the CANOE TAKE-OUT sign as you get closer, and you’ll land your canoe or kayak on the concrete ramp right at the sign (GPS 40°5′ 44″ N, 85° 58′ 9″ W)

DO NOT drag boats or kayaks on the portage

The portage is an asphalt sidewalk and is flat. It is a great surface for walking, but a terrible surface for the boats. The asphalt will erode the boats, and in the worst of cases, will cause you to paddle home with your boat leaking – and you will pay for damages. Take your gear out of the boats to make them lighter. Carry them two-by-two. Make multiple trips if you need to. Take your time…this is a great place to take a break.