Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kayaking at Okmulgee Lake

Okmulgee Lake August 28 Oklahoma was blessed with some relief from the Summer heat this week. Kayaking conditions are still too dry on the area rivers to enjoy much floating. Because the prospect of a cool morning was too inviting to pass up, I decided to enjoy some flatwater paddling at Okmulgee Lake. I hit the water at about 7am, but I really should have gotten there an earlier. The morning light was golden and lovely reflecting off the mists and water.

Okmulgee Lake is within Okmulgee State Park, so there are no additonal city fees to kayak on Okmulgee Lake. Paddling from the base of the Dripping Springs Lake dam down Salt Creek and taking out at the Boat Ramp at Hickory Point campground on Okmulgee Lake is a safe and shady flatwater trip.

I only stayed out paddling for a couple of hours this Saturday, but it was quite pleasant crossing the glassy waters while the early light came pouring through the trees. I was glad to see that I was not paddling the only kayak on Okmulgee Lake Saturday morning. When I returned to the Hickory Point boat ramp, I saw two more kayaks had just landed.

Hopefully, the Fall rains will come along soon and raise our rivers back up again.

In other Oklahoma paddling news...
Oklahoma City's ban on water skiing on Lake Hefner and the Oklahoma River was expanded to include banning tubing after the OKC city council members approved the change on Tuesday.

Kayak paddle upgrade choices.
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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Mothership Kayaking Deep Fork River Style

Dianne has had some elbow pain lately, so she decided to run this weekend's catfishing limblines via motorboat. I figured it would be a good time to try and expand my summertime paddling range by doing some 'Mothership Kayaking' - where you move your kayak on a motorboat to cover more distance. I've read about kayaking vacations in Alaska and Canada that use bigger boats to take paddlers deep into some of the most scenic waters in the world. We were only going a few miles up the Deep Fork River, but it would give me chance to try moving my kayak upriver, launching my recreational kayak from the motorboat and re-boarding the motorboat from my kayak.

It takes a shallow running, but very stable boat to chase catfish in the Deep Fork River during the late Summer. Dianne's Generation III Pro Shadow is a 15 foot flatbottom and it works well on these narrow, curvy and shallow Oklahoma rivers. There is room onboard to haul my Swifty 9.5 Sit-Inside kayak, but we found it works best to just tow the kayak on a rope tied to the stern of the motorboat. I tried towing the kayak both empty and while inside the kayak and towing it empty works the best by far. Tow the kayak empty and it follows along behind you like a little puppy. We drive our little fishing boat quite slow, so it was not a thrill ride to get towed in the kayak, but it is still difficult to keep the kayak traveling on a safe course.

Once we got upriver, much farther than I would have paddled on this hot day, it was easy to slip into my kayak off the back of the flat-bottomed boat. While Dianne set out some fishing lines, I paddled around taking pictures as usual. After the day got hot, I eased back into the motor boat and we started towing the kayak back to the boat ramp. Dianne even caught catfish, what a perfect first attempt at Mothership Kayaking...almost.

Did I mention that neither of us have much experience piloting motorboats?

About two thirds of the way back to the boat ramp...we ran out of gas. That is when I got to try my hand at 'Fathership Kayaking'- where you tow your motorboat using your kayak. I predict that Fathership Kayaking will not take off with the popularity of Mothership Kayaking. Mostly, this will be because of the backbreaking labor involved... and the slow progress... even going downstream.

Eventually, we decided it would be easier for her to park the Shadow Pro and fish while I paddle back to the boat ramp and go buy some more fuel. Yes, my old Perception Swifty Kayak saved the day proving once and for all...that simpler boats are better for fool's like me!

Kayak Fishing Gear
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