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The Boardman River flows into the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, Michigan. The Boardman's upper tributaries rise near Kalkaska, Michigan, and its watershed drains an area of 295 sq. miles through 130 miles of river and tributaries. The Boardman River is considered one of the top ten trout streams in Michigan. Before entering the Grand Traverse Bay, it becomes Boardman Lake, which is really just a wide, deep stretch of the river about 5 miles long and a half mile wide. This part of The Boardman River is accessible by motorboat through downtown Traverse City to Grand Traverse Bay.