-Camping near Berrien Springs Dam
About The Dam
Looking for St Joe River Flow Data? Click here
EXCERPT TAKEN FROM "TWENTIETH CENTURY HISTORY OF BERRIEN COUNTY" written in 1906.
The most important work of internal improvement in the county is now under wray at Berrien Springs where the preliminary steps for constructing a dam and power house capable of developing an immense power have already been taken The Berrien Springs Power & Electric Company has been organized to build a dam at Berrien Springs Michigan near the head of Pardee Island The officers of this company are Charles A Chapin president Fred A Bryan vice president and general AB Ayers treasurer and Kephart secretary They propose to build a dam and house at Berrien Springs twenty one feet high which will develop continually from two thousand to eight thousand horse power This will be operated conjunction with the dams at Michigan Twin Branch Indiana and Elkhart Indiana and a large steam plant South Bend This means that with a steam relay to take care of low water in the river Berrien county will have eight thousand electrical horse power developed at Buchanan and Berrien To develop a similar amount of energy one year by coal would require approximately one hundred and seventy five thousand tons In addition to the value of these from a commercial standpoint a lake a mile wide and several miles long will formed above Berrien Springs which have many advantages for Berrien from the resort standpoint The above figures relative to the equivalent amount of coal which this water is equal to are perhaps a little above average but they represent the value of river under a good stage of water value of the two dams could be expressed more practical terms by stating that power derived from them is equivalent about fifteen cars of coal per day for working day in the year
While history is always nice what the dam is most famous for now is it's Steelhead and Salmon fishing along with the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder which allows fish to move upstream. This dam in conjuction with ladders in Buchanan, MI and Niles, MI allow fish to move as far south as Twin Branch Dam in Mishawaka IN.
This series of stair-step pools allows trout, salmon, and other fish to swim around the hydroelectric power dam that spans the St. Joseph River as they migrate upstream. This site is undeveloped and there are no facilities, although it is located near downtown Berrien Springs.
This site is an excellent place to view fish—big fish. Amazingly, there are fish moving through this ladder almost every month of the year. Steelhead are the most common, and may be viewed from June through April. To see the greatest variety and numbers of fish, come to the ladder in September and October. The fall run brings Chinook and Coho salmon, brown trout, steelhead, and even walleye, smallmouth, and carp through the ladder. In the spring, you may see loons in the pool above the dam. Bald eagles and osprey may be seen fishing in the waters below the dam.
Some of the more commom methods used for steelhead and salmon fishing at the Berrien Springs Dam are bottom bouncing with spawn bags, skeine, or crawlers. Drifting with spawn and skeine, Casting with spoons and trolling lures such as Hot'n Tots and Wiggle Warts and of course fly fishing with streamer flies.