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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Outdoor Recreation > Trails > Indiana Canoeing > Water Trail Guide > Pigeon River Pigeon River

Pigeon River, located in northeastern Indiana, originates at Mongo and flows west-northwest to the St. Joseph River, 36 miles away. Above Mongo, Pigeon River is known as Pigeon Creek. The river received its name from Chief White Pigeon, whose tribe inhabited the area and hunted and fished the stream.

Pigeon River Map

The river valley is narrow and shallow, being less than one-half mile wide. The river drains about 350 square miles and drains more than fifty lakes. For much of its length it hugs the face of a moraine which prevents the flow of tributaries from the north. This also accounts for the fact that the Fawn River parallels the Pigeon River for more than half of its length, being separated by the moraine.

The vegetation of interest along the stream corridor includes sycamore, tamarack, swamp white oak, sugar maple, black oak, willow, ferns, sumac, orchids, button bush, aspen, cattails, arrowhead, spatterdock and cardinal flowers. The wildlife supported by the river make it one of the best fishing and hunting streams in the state. Fish species found in the stream include trout, northern pike, large and smallmouth bass, rock bass, bluegill and carp. Fauna found along the river include deer, squirrel, muskrats, beaver, waterfowl and songbirds.

Recreational opportunities in the area are provided by the Pigeon River State Fish and Wildlife Area, and activities include hunting, fishing, hiking, bird watching, and camping. Canoes may also be rented here. The Department of Natural Resources controls nearly fourteen miles of the stream bank within the Fish and Wildlife Area.

For medical assistance, the closest doctor is located in Howe, Indiana and the closest hospital is located in Lagrange, Indiana. Two trips are outlined below.

County Road 900E to State Road 9

To reach the put-in site from Mongo go 1 1/2 miles east on County Road 300N to County Road 900E, then south on 900E about 1/2 mile to the bridge. Put in at the northwest corner of the bridge. Parking is available for two cars and there is additional space 100 yards south of the bridge.

Directions for shuttle vehicles from the put-in site would be to go north on 900E to 400N, then nine miles west passing through Ontario to State Road 9. Head north 1 1/2 miles to the bridge and park near the northwest corner of the bridge which is 200 yards south of State Road 120. This 10 1/2 mile portion of the river is difficult to canoe through because of fallen trees. There are also three dams on this section, all of which must be portaged.

State Road 9 to County Road 750N

The put-in site is located on the northwest corner of the bridge along State Road 9, 1/4 mile south of State Road 120. To reach the take-out by car go north on Highway 9 to Howe, Indiana, and turn west on State Road 120; drive 6 3/4 miles to County Road 675 W and turn north. Go through Scott to County Road 750N and turn west to the first bridge. The take-out site is just a grassy area with space to park six cars. If a shorter route is desired, other than this ten mile trip, there is a take-out site at Scott Dam with a ramp and parking facilities.