Fortune Pond, Crystal Falls, MI (Upper Peninsula)

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It's road trip time! And this one is certainly worth a drive. If you're a midwest diver, you know how rare good visibility can be. The more experienced, older divers will talk about how the visibility in the Great Lakes was miserable before the zebra mussel infestation, and even these days the Great Lakes don't necessarily have good visibility on some days. And the inland lakes and quarries can have very poor visibility in summer. Some places like Lannon Quarry just don't have any visibility at all anymore, no matter what season it is. But Fortune Pond is the sweet, sweet exception with great visibility and depth. And easy entry. And there isn't any entrance fee or parking fee to worry about.
Its roughly about 4 hours from Port Washington, WI, and is located in Michigan's upper peninsula, just a bit west, about 2 miles, of the city of Crystal Falls, on US highway 2. When you reach New Bristol Road, go north for about a 1/2 mile till you reach a turn in on your left with open gates, and this will be the quarry. There's parking fairly close to the water. There is an outhouse again! The original outhouse burned down some time in September 2012, and has since been replaced. Life is good! As of this time, we don't know of any place nearby to get air fills, so if you're going for the weekend, make sure to pack all the tanks you need.
Fortune Pond started as an iron ore mine, and was active from 1953 through 1958. During that period, 1,316,905 tons of iron ore was pulled out of the ground. Pumps worked 24 hours a day to keep the pit dry. There was one shaft with two drifts for drainage. The size is 1,930 feet long by 750 feet wide. Its stocked with brown trout, plenty of crayfish scuttling around, and there's at least one good sized mud turtle in there.
The right side of the fishing pier has a nice drop off, almost like diving a wall in places. The left side of the pier leads off to some equipment and other odds and ends. The entries are fairly easy, a little bit rocky but really not difficult, rocks not terribly slippery. We also speculated that it might be entirely possible to do a back roll off the end of the fishing pier. You can stay shallow or go deep. It's over 200', so mind your buoancy and keep an eye on your depth. But whatever you do, enjoy the fantastic visibility! We had around 60-70' in my estimation, which is quite a gift for midwest divers who might only get to the warm salty stuff once a year at best. Bring along a grill and do a little tailgating after the the diving is done.
Lodging can be found in and around Iron River, which is further west, and you can also do some research for places to stay in Crystal Falls. And after a hard day of diving stop by Alice's Restaurant and get anything you want, 'ceptin Alice. Or at least get something from the menu.


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Fortune Pond - The Emerald Of The Upper Peninsula (video by Jim Bach, Watertight Productions)
Fortune Pond slideshow (photos by smoothfin)
Lakeshore Motel on Ice Lake
AmericInn
Alice's Restaurant
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