The gage station located at Smith Bridge on the South Branch of the Au Sable is of utmost importance to the enjoyment and safety of anglers and water sports enthusiasts who use that section of river. Located below the popular Mason Tract – a ten mile length of river – it provides much needed water flow data, advising folks when the river is too high to wade, or too swift to float. The South Branch is the most volatile of the Au Sable’s branches, and can rise quickly. Having an understandable and universally acceptable number figure – cubic feet per second (cfs) – users can make decisions that directly affect their safety. Many times the lower gages will not accurately reflect the flow of the South Branch, and can produce a false sense of security for all but the knowledgeable.
The gage at Smith Bridge is also the only data available if a development of any sort were to affect the water flow to the river. We understand that such data does not come cheaply, but it is one of the necessary ingredients to the protection of one of Northern Michigan true river gems – and the thousands of recreational enthusiasts who seek to safely enjoy it.