Put-in: County Road 175 North (Steuben County), 8:45 a.m.
Despite suggestions from helpful fisherman that "There's a bunch of places where logs are clear across the creek," and our own misgivings, Bob and I put in here, mostly because neither of us had paddled this section in years and wanted to know its condition. We were pleasantly surprised though there are lots of snags, strainers, et cetera, from the put-in to the Mongo dam there were only three spots where we couldn't slip through, Bob in a 14' Charleston, and me in my 16' Captiva. And in two of those spots, it was simply a matter of exiting the kayak onto a log, lifting your boat over the log, and re-entering your vessel to go on. The third involved three or four steps across a gravel bar. There were, however, several "limbo locations" where one had to duck or risk losing a hat.
After a very enjoyable two-and-a-half hours of paddling, we stopped for half an hour for lunch at the dam in Mongo. From Mongo to the Nasby Dam took forty-five minutes, and there were no obstructions; Nasby Dam to the Ontario Dam (our take-out point) was another hour and ten or fifteen minutes.
We agreed the most enjoyable part of the paddle was that upper section, even with the three "step-overs."
There WAS a five minute delay at the re-launch below the Nasby Dam, when your humble correspondent, having apparently packed his BRAIN away with his spray skirt in the aft compartment after lunch, tried to run across the wash from the dam spillway, "just to see what it'll do." What it DID was kick his kayak out from under him in the blink of an eye, and darned near cost him his hat. (Though unintentional, the dip was refreshing, and the only real danger was that I almost died laughing at myself.)
Wildlife: Geese, swans, blue heron, white-tail deer, and lots of successful fisherman, on all sections of the river.
All in all, I'd recommend the trip, though I'd recommend you make plans to take out at the Curtis Creek Bridge or another site above the Ontario dam, as the last half-hour or so of flatwater paddling gets pretty tedious. Also, if you're going to do the upper section, be aware of the river levels there are a lot of spots that could not be "limboed" under if the water was six inches higher, or that couldn't have been slid over if the water were six inches lower.
Gravel parking area
Free public access site
Put-in: Interstate 69 to US 20; US 20 west about six miles to Indiana 327; Indiana 327 north about 1 3/4 miles to County Road 175N; 175N west a mile or two to the public access site.