Boat Launch Improvements Completed at Victoria Dam in Ontonagon County

May 24, 2017

Ontonagon, Michigan – With walleye season now open, Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries officials have announced improved access to good fishing opportunities at the Victoria Dam via a boat launch facility improved recently by the Upper Peninsula Power Co.

“The improved boat launch site now includes parking for both cars and trucks with trailers, four spots each,” said Jarrod Nelson, UPPCO environmental specialist. “Additionally, the upgrades have provided added space for launching boats, with an improved grade for pulling in and out of the boat launch.”

The project, which was funded by the Bond Falls Mitigation Enhancement Fund, which UPPCO maintains, was completed to improve recreational access to the Victoria Reservoir and improve parking at the site. Work began in August 2016 and was completed in October.The Victoria Dam on the West Branch of the Ontonagon River provides good sport fishing opportunities.

UPPCO owns and operates seven hydroelectric generation stations in the Upper Peninsula, including the Victoria station, a facility on the West Branch of the Ontonagon River, built in 1931, with two units having a combined 12 megawatt capacity.

George Madison, DNR fisheries manager for the Western Lake Superior Management Unit, said the Victoria reservoir provides a very attractive fishery for walleye, bluegill, largemouth bass and black crappie.

“Pond-reared walleye are stocked here on a periodic basis, but natural reproduction from resident walleye spawning in the gravel upstream reaches of the impoundment helps maintain an annual supply of legal-size fish (15 inches),” Madison said. “This reservoir is an excellent body of water for catching walleye by means of trolling the mid-water drop offs, or by jig fishing in the opening pocket-points to the bays.

“Yellow perch are one of the natural forage favorites of walleye here, so anglers fishing yellow and green body-bait lures will be able to mimic perch as a bait item.”

UPPCO has posted signs in the area downstream of the dam impoundment, in cooperation with the DNR, reminding anglers of a DNR fisheries order in place there for roughly 30 years.

That order closes the West Branch Ontonagon River — from its confluence with the Victoria Hydro Station tail race (T50N, R39W, SE ¼ of the SW ¼ of S29) upstream to Victoria Dam to all fishing from April 1 through June 10.

The rule is in place to protect concentrations of spawning fish.

A regulated utility, UPPCO serves approximately 52,000 electric retail customers in 10 of the Upper Peninsula’s 15 counties, or about 12 customers per square mile. The company’s service territory of 4,460 square miles covers primarily rural countryside.

The improved boat launch facility at the Victoria Dam is shown.Industries served by UPPCO include forest products, tourism and manufacturing.

The company’s assets include seven hydroelectric renewable energy generation facilities and two combustion turbines providing a total generation capacity of 79.5 megawatts.

“UPPCO’s hydroelectric projects provide wildlife habitats and offer recreational opportunities on land and water for Upper Peninsula residents and tourists to enjoy, while they also help to support the local tax base,” Nelson said.

UPPCO owns 4,354 miles of distribution lines that traverse some of the most heavily-wooded areas in Michigan. UPPCO also operates 58 distribution substations.

Find out more about UPPCO’s hydroelectric projects, including tips on how to stay safe near dams.

For more information on fishing in Michigan, visit the DNR’s webpage at: www.michigan.gov/fishing.

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