Zumbro River South Branch of the Middle Fork

Oronoco, Minnesota

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The South Branch is a small, wooded farmland river with quick current in the riffles and long, slow pools. The south Branch Valley provides a wooded oasis in an area that is otherwise heavily farmed. High bluffs with occasional outcrops flank the river. The stream alternates between short, easy riffles and long, slow pools as it passes the small town of Genoa and passes under the Douglas State Trail, a 12.5-mile, nonmotorized route between Rochester and Pine Island for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Rocky stretches of the South Branch harbor smallmouth bass. The South Branch flows into Shady Lake, a shallow, murky reservoir formed by the 20-foot-high dam at Oronoco. Take out here, or portage the dam 200 yards to continue down the stream (which is now the Middle Fork) to Sandy Point on Zumbro Lake, another reservoir. This section of river runs through easy rapids and provides fishing for smallmouth bass. Watch out for deadfalls and farm fences strung across the channel.
Paddling Minnesota

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Paddling Minnesota

by Greg Breining (Falcon Guides)

The South Branch is a small, wooded farmland river with quick current in the riffles and long, slow pools. The south Branch Valley provides a wooded oasis in an area that is otherwise heavily farmed. High bluffs with occasional outcrops flank the river. The stream alternates between short, easy riffles and long, slow pools as it passes the small town of Genoa and passes under the Douglas State Trail, a 12.5-mile, nonmotorized route between Rochester and Pine Island for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Rocky stretches of the South Branch harbor smallmouth bass.

The South Branch flows into Shady Lake, a shallow, murky reservoir formed by the 20-foot-high dam at Oronoco. Take out here, or portage the dam 200 yards to continue down the stream (which is now the Middle Fork) to Sandy Point on Zumbro Lake, another reservoir. This section of river runs through easy rapids and provides fishing for smallmouth bass.

Watch out for deadfalls and farm fences strung across the channel.

©  Greg Breining/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Oronoco
Distance: 24.5
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 8 - 12 hours
Class: Class I
Local Contacts: Department of Natural Resources Information Center, 612-296-6157 or 800-766-6000 (toll free in Minnesota)
Local Maps: MDNR Zumbro River, Whitewater River: A Canoe & Boating Guide
Driving Directions: Directions to Zumbro River: South Branch of the Middle Fork

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Apr 2018