I got to meet some of the kayak fishing enthusiasts from the Tulsa area this Sunday. Several of the Oklahoma Flatwater Paddlers (OFP) had planned to test their skills at Okmulgee State Park. I met up with about half a dozen NE Oklahoma area paddlers at 6:30am at the Hickory Point Campground in Okmulgee State Park. Okmulgee's two lakes are a popular destination for Oklahoma kayakers due to the lovely scenery, the wildlife and the lack of city permit requirements for boaters. For launching kayaks and camping, I prefer Clovis Point on Dripping Springs Lake and Hickory Point on Lake Okmulgee. Both lakes have clean water, good camping facilities and fishing for crappie, bass and catfish.
As usual Dianne did all of the fishing, while I shot the sunrise and 'shot the bull' with the other paddlers. Dianne caught several small Bass and I got to see two osprey splashing down on the surface of the lake as they worked toward the same goal. I got some pictures of the Osprey, but the quality is pretty crappy as we had low light and they were much too far away for the 12X zoom on my camera.
Herons and crows and such will pass over head occasionally, but eagles and osprey circle high in the sky, then they hover and then drop suddenly to the surface of the water with a tremendous splash. Amazingly they fly off with a fish between their toes without even buying bait!
If you have a better camera and want to get a picture of an Osprey flying away with a fish, here's what you do. First, buy a kayak. Then, launch your kayak at the Hickory Point Campground boat ramp as early as possible and paddle, quiet as a mouse, left toward Salt Creek. Keep your eye on the sky and look for large birds hunting. If you see birds hunting sit still and get your camera ready for Sports mode shooting that will freeze the action using a ISO. About half a mile up Okmulgee Lake from the boat ramp, you should start seeing a large patch of weeds in the lake just before the entrance to Salt Creek. This shallow water portion of the lake is popular with birds that eat fish. Find a shady spot and sit still in your kayak. Watch the skies and you should see some of the amazing hunters at work.
One of my favorite things about kayaker meet-ups with the OFP is the chance to see what kind of gear the other paddlers purchase. Since the group was made up mostly of fishermen, the majority of the kayaks were Sit-On-Top kayaks fitted with many upgrades and sporting at least three fishing poles per kayak. I saw a Wilderness Systems Pungo & Tarpon, an Ocean Kayak Prowler, and even a couple of those new Ascent SOT kayaks.
This was my first time meeting most of the folks on the trip. Big thanks to everyone who made the trip to Okmulgee. I hope to kayak with you folks again soon!