The Mississinewa River originates in Ohio before taking a 100-mile journey west and north to the Wabash River near Peru in Miami County, Indiana. Its drainage area occupies an area of about sixty square miles.
The river flows through a low, flat, wide valley and its water is shallow at normal stage and comparatively clear, except during prolonged heavy rain. Falling 3.3 feet to the mile, the Mississinewa is one of the swiftest streams in Indiana. The village of Chief Shepoconah once stood along the Mississinewa. His wife was Frances Slocum, who was captured from her Pennsylvania Quaker family in 1778 when she was just five years of age. Over fifty years later she was finally found and her family urged her to return to civilization. She decided to remain among "her people" and was buried in 1847.
The river was named by the Miami Indians who called it "falling water". Many bloody battles were fought between the Americans and Miamis along the Mississinewa River before the Indians were finally subdued.
Today, a 12,000 acre reservoir covers much of this historical area. It was built to control flooding and to provide recreation in the form of boating, fishing, camping and picnicking and is operated by the Department of Natural Resources.
The river has carved some unique geological features in the limestone, the most notable being the "Seven Pillars" which is about two miles below the Mississinewa Reservoir and not within the section covered in this guide.
State Road 67 & 28 to Matthews
The first canoeable section is a 15-mile stretch taking 6 1/2 hours to float. The river is slow-moving and shallow with a rock bottom between low to moderate banks.
The corridor of the river is predominately lined with sycamore and cottonwood trees. There are several species of wildlife that inhabit the river basin such as wood ducks, blue and green herons, a few hawks and owls.
Fishing is fair in the deeper holes along the stream and sunfish, smallmouth bass, rock bass and catfish comprise the majority of the catches.
Doctor assistance is available in Eaton, Indiana. The closest hospital is the Blackford County Hospital, Hartford City.
Put-in is located at the State Road 28 & 67 bridge approximately five miles west of Albany. Parking and put-in facilities are on the southwest side of the bridge. The site consists of a cement drainage ditch and parking for two cars along the roadside.
The car shuttle should take State Road 28 west approximately 6 1/2 miles to Wheeling Pike, turning right. Follow Wheeling Pike northeast through Stockport and Wheeling to Matthews, Indiana. In Matthews turn right on State Road 221 and proceed through town to the bridge over the Mississinewa River.
Along the trip the muddy water hides some dangerous rocks. About four hours from the put-in is a flood gate that requires a portage on the left side. Further downstream near Matthews, about seven hours floating time from the put-in, a dam must be portaged; the right side is best. The take-out is at the southwest corner of the State Road 221 bridge at a boat ramp providing easy exit.
Matthews to Gas City
The 11 mile float between Matthews and Gas City takes approximately four hours. Beyond the tree-lined banks lies some of Indiana's best agricultural land.
Doctor's assistance is available in Upland, Indiana and the closest hospital is the Blackford County Hospital in Hartford City, Indiana.
The put-in site is at the bridge on State Road 221 approximately seven miles south of Upland. This fishing site has a natural boat ramp that provides easy access.
For the car shuttle take State Road 221 north through Upland and turn west on State Road 22. Take State Road 22 to Seventh Street in Gas City, then go south on 7th Street to South H Street. Turn west on South H Street and drive for approximately seven blocks to Gas City Park.
The take-out at Gas City Park is equipped with a small boat launch, picnic area, playground and restroom facilities.
Gas City to Mississinewa Reservoir
The 15 mile float between Gas City and the Mississinewa Reservoir is 7 1/2 hours long and very sluggish and muddy. It flows through an industrial area into sparsely developed land but further downstream the water flow increases and the area becomes more scenic.
Doctor's assistance can be received in Gas City or Marion, and the closest hospital is in Marion.
Put-in is on South H Street in Gas City Park. The access is equipped with a small boat ramp, picnic area, playground and restroom facilities.
Leaving Gas City Park the car shuttle moves north on State Road 15. North of Marion proceed across the river to 500 N and turn left; drive three miles to the bridge near Jalapa.
Charles Mill and Matter Parks, located in Marion along the river, are available for picnicking. A dam in Charles Mill Park requires a short, easy portage. Take-out is at the 500 N bridge, which is steep and can be dangerous when wet.