Thursday, December 29, 2011

Little Dixie Lake, Callaway County, Missouri, December 27th, 2011: Windy winter paddle on a stumpy lake

snow= time to kayak!
We woke up on December 27th with about 2 inches of wet snow on the ground.  I decided that snow would not stop us from another winter paddle.  I was really dying to get out and try out my new Kokatat dry suit, so I was determined to get out.  Little Dixie Lake is located in the Little Dixie Wildlife area just before you get to Columbia, MO. off I-70.  I have fished this lake in the past, and it is a good lake to do so.  Incredible catfish lake, as well as a nice largemouth lake.  The lake is chock-full of stumps.  As you paddle to the back of the lake, it gets more shallow and has a lot of timber.  I am not the biggest fan of stumps since my experience with the sea kayak on Lake Conway in Arkansas (I got caught in a stump field and centered up on several stumps, almost tipping).  Especially in cold weather with cold water (dry suit or not)

View while eating lunch...amazing!
Took a quick lunch break and packed some soup.  Quick cooking tip:  if you have some instant rice cups, put them into boiling soup, seal up, and by the time you get ready to eat it, the rice is cooked into the soup- yum!  As I was taking in the scenery, I got a chance to watch a family of bluebirds as well as a red-headed woodpecker in action.  As cool as it was, the day was beautiful. 

The winds really started to kick in, and that provided the biggest challenge on this paddle.  I originally was going to go to Mark Twain Lake, but the winds were even more intense up that way.   I left the house when there was still snow on the ground and the winds were in my guess about 7 the time I got through the paddle I would say they were about 18 mph.  This difference really effects the lay of the lake.  Towards the end of the paddle, the lake really started to swell up, but not enough to white cap.  I decided to take it in and call it a day....this trip was a short one.
my new Kokatat dry suit

This is a great lake to kayak fish. I look forward to coming back with my SOT fishing kayak and doing some fishing here in the spring

Paddle ON!


Winter kayaking on windy Little Dixie Lake, MO.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lake of the Ozarks, Camden County, Missouri December 16th, 2011: Great quick winter paddle- and had the whole lake to myself!

Lake of the Ozarks is a great flatwater lake to paddle in the winter months.  If you get a chance to hit it, especially in the winter months during the week day, you have a good shot at having the entire lake to yourself.  This trip was just about the paddle...I left my fishing gear at home for this one.  I was on my way back from Springfield, MO to St. Charles, MO., so I figured it would make sense to stop for a couple of hours and get a quick paddle.  I put off in the McCubbins point area of LOZ, located on the south side of the Lake of the Ozarks SP.
The weather was cool, but sunny, with a mild breeze.  Where I set out was flat and shallow.  I stuck with shoreline, which I think is something to consider in the winter in regards to safety.  However, I could not help myself once I saw the giant limestone cliffs on the other side of the lake, so I paddled over to the other side.  It was worth the view, as the film shows.
I think I got a mild case of either motion sickness or sea sickness.  I was looking down at my GPS or camera, or something, then I looked up at the cliffs, which I was right next to.  Next thing I know I felt a little dizzy, and my heart started to race a tad (I really think that part was maybe mental on my part).  I also think when you are kayaking you can "freak yourself out" sometimes, especially when you know the water temp is cold and you are all packed in, dressed in layers, spray skirt and all.  I decided to just paddle it out, drink some water, and not freak out.  I read a great article once about sea sickness and kayaking (which is a bad combo in a kayak, especially solo paddling).  The article suggested you keep your eyes on the horizon, and you can sometimes work out of a "situation".  This is what I did, and about 1/2 hour later , I started to feel a little better.  By the time I got the kayak back to the car, I felt just fine using that technique.  Note to self:  make sure not to fool around with GPS/camera stuff and look up suddenly.
Beautiful day, saw several great heron birds and several areas with fish rolling subsurface (next time a fishing rod is in order).

Paddle ON!


Lake of the Ozarks, McCubbins Point area

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Incredible winter paddle on DeGray Lake, Hot Spring/Clark County Arkansas December 13th, 2011

DeGray Lake is located near the town of Arkadelphia, Arkansas about an hour south of Little Rock and about 60 miles north of the Texas/Arkansas border.  I was on a kayak fishing chat room and was told that DeGray has Alligators, however, I did not see any on this trip.

This lake is absolutely incredible!  It is speckled with little rock islands covered with various trees, many of the conifer variety, which, when I see these pine like trees, always reminds me of either northern Wisconsin or Colorado.
I did a little over 5 miles, setting off from the boat ramp at the state park and paddling around one of the larger islands and then crossing the channel to go around one of the smaller, rocky islands.  This time of year you can see a lot of different variety of ducks.  I hear that this lake is also known for its bald eagle winter population....I did not see any, but I am sure they are out there.  On the paddle back to shore, I heard the call of a wipper-will, which really gave the whole trip a nice effect...there was no one out on the lake, and it was incredibly calm, so the whole trip had a nice "zen-like" effect (which is what I really needed)

I would like to come back when it warms up and camp on one of the islands with the kayak.  I will be looking into what the exact regulations are in regards to that.
If you are down south, you owe it to yourself to explore this lake with a kayak or canoe

Paddle ON!


DeGray Lake Arkansas- excellent winter kayak trip

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Council Bluff Lake, Mark Twain NF Missouri: Pristine lake at the headwaters of the Big River

This is a trip from a week or so ago.  We had a nice little warm up (windy, of course) and I got a chance to hit this beautiful lake in the heart of the Mark Twain National Forest, just south of Potosi, MO.  The water at this lake is "gin clear"....I have fished it before and it reminds me of Table Rock Lake in southern Missouri.
It was a quick two hour paddle.  I was fighting some wind and mild swells (minor white capping) so I stayed fairly conservative in exploration of the lake.  I am like that when water temps are really cold, just to be safe.

Council Bluff Lake, Mark Twain NF Missouri

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Overall, outstanding winter paddle...more to come this year.  Cold should not stop our kayaking efforts! long as we are safe.

Paddle ON!