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Michigan dnr > wildlife viewing guide > northern lower peninsula > reedsburg

61 Reedsburg Dead Stream Flooding Northern Lower Peninsula

wildlife viewing  |  directions and facility information

view of the west shore
Photos: © Bob Hess

This flooding is one of the largest managed wetlands in the northern Lower Peninsula. There is a state forest campground near the Reedsburg dam on the south end of the flooding. No other developments or improvements are found at this site, but the small boat ramps beckon you to a wonderful wilderness experience.

Photo: © Phil Seng

The flooding is usually teeming with wildlife, and with a short trip upstream in a non-motorized boat you can explore the 30,000-acre Dead Stream Swamp-the largest semi-wilderness area in the Lower Peninsula.

No motors of any kind are permitted in the dead stream swamp. Motors are allowed on boats in the flooding or the backwaters of the dam.

eaglets - Click for full image.
Bald eagle chicks are a mottled chocolate
brown color all over. They will not get
their distinctive white head and tail feathers
until they are 3-4 years old.
Click for larger image.
Photo: © Bill Bowerman

Wildlife Viewing

The extensive beds of wild rice that grow in the flooding are very attractive to many kinds of waterfowl in the fall. Species that may be seen here include buffleheads, goldeneyes, wood ducks, Canada geese, black ducks and mallards. Scaup, mergansers, and loons are also seen here in the early spring right after the ice breaks up. Spring is a great time to view waterfowl because many of them are in their colorful breeding plumage. An active bald eagle nest is visible on the opposite shore one of the boat ramps.

eagle nest
Bald eagles nest along the Dead
Stream Flooding. Eagles usually use
the same nest from year to year,
adding sticks and other material to it
each season. These nests can weigh
up to 2,000 pounds after many
years of use! Photo: © Bill Bowerman

Eagle viewing is very good during spring and through mid to late June when young eaglets leave their nest. Several osprey platforms have been placed in the flooding and most of them are used each year by nesting ospreys. Ospreys are very common sightings on the flooding. Please do not attempt to approach the eagle or osprey nests. Muskrats, mink, and river otters also make this area their home, and may be seen by the stealthy observer.

This area is open to public hunting. Contact the michigan department of natural resources for affected seasons and locations.


On M-55, O.7 miles east of US-27 turn north on Old US-27 and drive for 2.5 miles to County Road 300. Turn left (west) and continue 1.5 miles to Michelson Road. Turn right (north) and proceed to the small parking lot at Dead Stream Flooding.
Ownership: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Roscommon Operations Service Center, (989) 275-5151.

Size: 2,100 acres

Closest Town: Merritt, Houghton Lakes Heights

Weather and Driving Directions for Merritt

Plan Your Trip with travel.michigan.org!

More information can be found by visiting the DNR's site (link leads to web app allowing users to search for campgrounds, harbors, trails and more), or by conducting a Google search:


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