My 15 year-old son and I paddled northward from 72nd avenue to the dam on the north end of maple lake. The length of the trip was 5.3 miles.
He paddled a Wilderness systems Pamlico 120 and I paddled a Perception Patriot 12.0 Angler. Both boats were great. I appreciated the extra initial stability of the Perception at all the snags and portages. I'm sure my son appreciated the extra speed and efficiency of his Pamlico 120 crossing Maple Lake at the end of the trip.
It took us 4 hours and 40 minutes at a fairly steady but casual pace. This branch of the river had a good current due to recent spring rains. We encountered at least five blown down trees which had to portage around. There were probably three or four more that we could drag the boat over the top and crawl over without having to go around.
Most of the trip is densely wooded. Wildflowers were abundant along most of the bank. We encountered two heron rookeries between C.R. 358 and 64th avenue. We also saw many wood ducks, Canadian geese, a Great Horned Owl and signs of beaver activity just north of I-94.
As you approach the entrance to Ismons Pond the widening river becomes quite shallow. Stay on the left side of the river to gain entrance into the pond. There is an easy portage between the waterfalls if you wish to gain access into Maple Lake and paddle under Red Arrow Hwy.
If I were going to repeat this trip, I might forgo the paddle across Maple Lake and just take out at the falls on the south side of Red Arrow.
No parking or facilities at put-in site. You can pull off the road comfortably on north-east side of bridge and slide your boat down the grass into the water.
Parking, picnic and portable toilets at take-out site on Maple Lake.
M-40 south to 72nd ave. Put in at bridge between C.R. 665 and 38th st. Take out at public access on north side of Maple Lake on west side of M-40.
Any road map showing creeks and rivers will do fine. Most maps call this the West branch of the Paw Paw, my lake and stream map called it the South branch. You can't get much further south on the Paw Paw river than this.