Tippecanoe River is considered the river of lakes. It is fed and
nourished by eighty-eight natural lakes including some of the state's
largest. It has a drainage area of approximately 1,900 square miles
owing to the many small tributaries. Many lakes and swamps are the
source of the tributaries, providing a more or less continuous flow
of water. Each lake acts as a settling basin which reduces the amount
of silt carried. The gentle, 166 mile river is bordered for much
of its length by green fields and forest as it meanders down from
Tippecanoe Lake in Kosciusko County. This is the deepest lake in
the state. There is good fishing and hunting to be found along the
river's banks and in the many cold springs that bubble out of the
high bluffs and banks. Several small green islands add to the natural
beauty of the Tippecanoe River. The water is amazingly clear and
is generally muddy only after a storm. The Tippecanoe has an unusual
profile in that its fall in the lower course greatly exceeds the
fall in the upper course. This has resulted from the glacial drift
material through which the river flows in the upper course.
The Tippecanoe River is a haven for warblers, redheaded woodpeckers,
bobwhites and wild ducks. This quiet river surrounded by nature
is enjoyed by sportsmen and others attracted by its environment.
Also of interest are the many aquatic grasses which are unique to
The river's energy was harnessed early to turn mill wheels which
were used to grind wheat. Today man still harnesses its energy to
provide electricity. Two large dams were built in the mid 1920's
along and below Monticello and have created Lake Shafer and Lake
Freeman. These lakes, although designed for the creation of electricity,
are use extensively for recreation. The river passes by the Potawatomi
Village where the Indians in 1832 signed away for the last time
their rights to Indiana soil. The Indians' great defeat to General
William Henry Harrison in 1811 is marked by the Battleground Memorial.
This ten mile section flows
through extensive swamps and wetlands. It is difficult to follow
the main corridor due to the growth of vegetation in the river.
Along the four-hour trip there are numerous log jams and low-hanging
branches which add interest, but are also hazardous. The average
drop of the river is approximately 30" per mile, causing a
moderate water flow.
Fishermen enjoy good fishing
for pike, bass, and panfish. The banks of the river are lined with
willow, maples, pine, oak and sycamore trees. Doctors and a hospital
are located in Warsaw.
The put-in for the float between
Warsaw and State Road 19 is a low stream bank west of Warsaw, adjacent
to Old Highway 30 at the rest park near the bridge over the Tippecanoe.
The car shuttle beginning at the Old Highway 30 put-in runs west
on Old 30 to State Road 19. Continue south on State Road 19 to the
river. The Mollenhour Public Access Site adjacent to State Road
19 has easy take-out facilities including a concrete ramp and a
twenty-car parking lot.
to Old Tip Access Site
This six-mile section of the
Tippecanoe River is a beautiful four-hour float. The river flow
is moderate but increases at various locations. This flow rushes
you under sycamore, maples and willow trees which stretch out across
the river. Several trip reports indicate that at times paddlers
on this section of the river will also encounter many downed trees
and log jams that require portaging. For the fishermen there is
good bass, pike and panfish fishing. Plymouth and Warsaw have medical
facilities and doctors in case of an emergency.
Putting in at the previously
mentioned access site, the car shuttle begins at State Road 19 and
the Tippecanoe River junction. Continue north on State Road 19 and
the Tippecanoe River junction. Then proceed west to Route 331 where
you turn south through Old Tip Town to the take-out adjacent to
Route 331. There is a concrete ramp and ample parking facilities.
Old Tip Access
Site to Menominee State Fishing Area
This fourteen-mile journey
is a very pleasant and scenic six-hour trip. The river's corridor
is lined with trees interspersed with farmland and developed areas.
Not only is this section extremely scenic, it offers good fishing
for the fishermen. Many bass, pike and panfish make the Tippecanoe
River an excellent spot.
The put-in has already been
mentioned in the last section and is located adjacent to Route 331,
3/4 mile north of Tippecanoe, Indiana where the bridge passes over
The car shuttle begins at
the Old Tip Town put-in by going south on Route 331 to State Road
110. Proceed west on Road 110 to Old U.S. 31 south. Continue south
on Old Route 31 to the first county road past the river. Go left
on this county road until you reach the Menominee State Fishing
Area where there is a concrete ramp and ample parking.
An update of the
condition of this stretch of the river was submitted By Jeff Kuhn.
This section was scouted on Saturday, August 5th, 2000. I have
added a couple of things to it and reprinted it:
On Saturday, August 5th Joe Smith and Jeff Kuhn of the Hoosier
Canoe Club paddled approximately six miles from Old Tip Town access
to Talma. Talma is an access point that is not described on this
website and is about half way between Old Tip and Menominee. The
USGS gauge (above the dam) was at 362 cfs and a level of 5.75
ft. above datum. This gauging station is located between Monterey
and Tippecanoe River State park.
There are many downed
trees and log jams through this section, some of which require
lift-over or portaging. At higher water levels some of these could
be dangerous. The worst of these are concentrated in an area about
two miles downstream from Old Tip. It took us 30 minutes to cover
about 200 yds through this section. After that the remaining deadfall
was passable by careful maneuvering along with bumping and scraping.
As you approach Talma there is evidence of the use of chainsaws
and there is easier passage. The entire trip took just over 3
1/2 hours including the portages and a stop for lunch. The upper
and lower parts of this section have development in the form of
homes along the river, but the middle part has very little development
and is quite scenic. I would not recommend this section for beginners
or for running at high water due to the log jams.
State Fishing Area to Monterey
The nine-hour float between
Rochester and Monterey is a scenic twenty-two mile trip. The moderate
river flow allows you to enjoy this section of the river. The banks
are lined with maple, willow and sycamore trees, providing excellent
scenery with little development. Those wishing to camp along the
way will find numerous private camping areas between Leiters Ford
The put-in at Menominee State
Fishing Area is the access used for take-out in the previous trip.
To arrange your car shuttle, return to Old US 31 and turn north.
At State Road 110 turn left (west) and go about 9 1/2 miles to State
Road 17. Cross the state highway and continue to 625 E. Turn left
(south) on 625 E and go about three-quarters of a mile (passing
the 750 N intersection) to a small road to the left which leads
to Monterey City Park. The site has a concrete ramp, picnic area,
pit toilets and ample parking facilities.
to Tippecanoe River State Park
The 15-mile float between
Monterey and Tippecanoe River State Park is one of the more beautiful
sections of the river. It is a very enjoyable 6-8 hour trip between
banks lined with maple, sycamore and willows.
The river provides several
natural swimming areas and fishermen enjoy good fishing for pike,
bass and panfish. Camping facilities are available at Winamac State
Fish and Wildlife Area, Tippecanoe River State Park and Bass Lake
Put in at Monterey City Park,
which was described in the last section. It has facilities for parking,
picnicking, launching and pit toilets. To reach the take-out point
go west out of Monterey and flow the signs to Tippecanoe River State Park. When you enter the state park the gate attendant will direct
you to the launch area which has a concrete ramp for easy take-out.
River State Park to the Winamac Access Site
The 5 1/2-hour float between
Tippecanoe River State Park and Winamac has natural scenery with development
scattered along the river bank. The moderate water flow travels
the 15-mile distance offering a variety of recreation opportunities
including picnicking, fishing, and swimming along the river. Fishermen
will enjoy fishing for pike, smallmouth bass and red eyes. Winamac
is the closest location for medical assistance.
The Tippecanoe River State Park access is described in the previous section. For a car shuttle
take State Road 35 through Winamac. About one mile south of Winamac
turn right on county Road 50 E and go south until another road enters
from the left. Follow this road to the Winamac access site where
there is room to park twenty cars.
Alternative access sites are
located in Winamac City Park. From State Road 35 to reach the canoe
access turn east on Washington St. in Winamac, across the bridge
and watch for the park entrance on the left (north) side approximately
200 yards east of the bridge. Turn left and proceed to the canoe
access site. A boat launch is also available and can be reached
from State Road 35 by turning east on Main St. although the two
access sites are about 250 yards from each other, the boat launch
is almost a mile downstream from the canoe access.
According to Tippy-Canoe Rentals there is a new public access point called Haschel's Landing that is about 3/8 mile upstream of their livery. The public access is located off of CR N 240 E (aka N 215 E) a little south of E 300 N.
Site to Pulaski
Between Winamac and Pulaski
the canoeists encounters beautiful trees and thick undergrowth;
however, there is also much human development. The river flows lazily
and in the shallows there will be large rocks in the river bed.
As in other sections there is good fishing for bass, pike and panfish
along the river corridor.
This short, seven-mile section
should take only 3 or 3 1/2 hours to float. Using the Winamac State
Access Site as a put-in, you can drive to the take-out by returning
to the town of Winamac and taking State Road 119 south to Pulaski
where you turn right and cross over the river into town. Take the
first street to the right and proceed two blocks and turn right
again into the Pulaski Conservation club.
Below Pulaski the river widens
as Lake Shafer and Lake Freeman form. Although these lakes can be
canoed, we have not included them in this guide.