The Tippy Dam Backwaters: A Hidden Gem

The Tippy Dam Backwaters: A Hidden Gem

The Tippy Dam Backwaters is a hidden gem that is located just 9 miles away from our campground here at the Pine River Paddlesports Center.

The Tippy Dam Backwaters, or Tippy Dam Pond as it is sometimes called, is approximately 1,540 Acres and was created in 1916-1918 when the Tippy Dam was constructed. It is a peaceful, secluded, largely-undeveloped wilderness area. This pond is where the Pine River converges into the Big Manistee River (the Pine being the major tributary of the Big Manistee). Other trout streams also feed into the backwaters, including Hinton Creek, Snyder’s Creek and Peterson Creek. 

The Pond is known for its great variety of fish species. The species found in the Backwaters include rock bass, black crappie, sunfish, bluegill, yellow perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, northern pike, walleye, and even channel catfish. There aren’t just numerous kinds of fish, though - the fish are known for their size, too! In recent years there have been several entries into the MDNR Master Angler program pulled from the Backwaters.

Beyond being just a phenomenal fishery, though, the Backwaters is known for its beauty. There are numerous islands sprinkled throughout the pond, giving it a “boundary waters” sort of feel. With its sheer size, and interesting islands and little coves, the opportunities for exploration are nearly endless. As you explore, keep an eye out for wildlife. Deer, Bald Eagles, Loons, Swans, Canadian Geese, numerous species of ducks, and more turtles than you can count are common sights in the wildlife kingdom of the Backwaters.

This secluded gem is a perfect place for families to take some paddlecraft and play for the day. Maybe your family wants to stay together in one canoe, or maybe the kids want to take kayaks and become comfortable in them before heading out on a river, or maybe you and your spouse want to take stand-up paddleboards and explore while standing - whatever the adventure, the backwaters are sure to satisfy.

We do rent kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards on the backwaters for those who are interested. Overnight trips in the Backwaters is allowed as well. So next time you’re in our neck of the woods, try something new! Paddle around the woodsy, secluded shoreline of the Tippy Dam Pond, and soak in the wildlife and wilderness. We are sure you won’t be disappointed!


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