Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lake Ft. Smith, Washington County, Arkansas: Outstanding lake nestled in the Boston Mountains

Lake Ft. Smith is located between Fayetteville, AR and Ft. Smith, AR.  It originally was (2) lakes...the main lake that I paddled on is actually the old Lake Shepard Springs.  The mountains surrounding this lake make it an awesome destination.  The state park that is attached rents kayaks and canoes in the summer season.  This is a spot I plan on bringing some friends to this summer for kayak fishing and BBQ.
I got a chance to paddle a couple of hours before the sun went down.  I brought my fishing rod and actually caught a couple of bass on a Zoom trick worm on the east side of the lake.  The bite was so slow (and I am rusty this time of the year LOL) so I was not able to land either.  It was great just to get the sea kayak out and put a few miles in, however.
I have done well in the summer here with bass and crappie.  My goal is to come back and kayak/fish the entire perimeter of the lake.  It is a hidden gem in the Ozarks!

Paddle ON!


November kayaking on Lake Ft. Smith, Arkansas

EveryTrail - Find the best hikes in California and beyond

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Kayaking Monte Ne area of Beaver Lake, Arkansas: Lake still low enough to see some of the ruins

Kayak touring Monte Ne
The weather has been so amazing for kayaking trips in the Ozarks for a late November! Monte Ne has an interesting story behind it.  It was one of the largest resorts in its day back in the early 1900's.  All that is left now is a few ruins that are usually under the water.  I would say from kayaking around the lake that it is about 12' low right now- effects remaining from the summer drought.

Monte Ne pavilion ruins
The one large building that is left has a fence built by the Corps of Engineers around it, due to liability issues.  I find this area fascinating....supposedly there is a time capsule buried somewhere that has never been found.  I bet it is under the water somewhere.  Click HERE if you would like to read more about the history of this area- it is pretty amazing!
Sunset over Beaver Lake Arkansas
This time of the year is really great for kayaking due to the fact that you will have almost the entire lake/river to yourself.  That being said, the challenge is the amount of time you can kayak.  It seems when the sun goes down, it is like someone turned off the light switch!  So the amount of time you have out on the lake/river is limited.  I got out about 2:00 and took it till it got dark.  The lake was super calm and just outstanding!
Paddled all the way out towards the main arm...I would have gone further if I had more daylight.  This is an amazing lake to explore...I love to fish it in the summer time for bass

Paddle ON!


Kayaking Monte Ne area of Beaver Lake, Arkansas

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area

Meremac River/Bourbouse River Confluence point, November 25th, 2012:

Kayaking the Meremac/Bourbouse Rivers

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Missouri

A fairly cool but sunny November day...perfect for a trip on the Meremac River!  The launch site was at Choteau Claim Access CA.  Good place to put in and gain access to both the Meremac and Bourbouse Rivers in Franklin County Missouri.
I set off to go up the Meremac River from the launch site.  The water was gin clear and was just a bit low (not too awful bad)

Flow: 875
Gauge Height: 2.3 ft (Near Eureka)

I got upstream just past the RR tracks, and the river started to narrow and get swift.  I paddled it from one side of the river to the other, and then banked it. The point at the Meremac where I stopped was fairly clogged with trees, and had a swift current.  If it was summer, I might have tried to get through, but in winter I do not like to take as many chances.  I got out and waded in to fish for smallmouths in the structure.  Big lesson was learned while wearing a dry suite: wear insulated socks underneath!  My feet got so, so cold....I think it caused me a few problems later in the trip, due to the cold of my feet!

I turned around and headed back, and fished a couple of deep pools.  No fishing success on this day.  The Bourbouse is a much slower stream, and not nearly as clear.  I fished all the way up and back as well- just was not my day for fishing success.  The Bourbouse is incredible at this point with the cliffs....very beautiful!

On the paddle back, I started to feel cold.  I am glad I packed some extra energy snacks and hot green tea- perfect when you want to feel warmer- combined with a skull cap, you will start to feel better almost instantly!

Incredible trip.....I did this trip a few years ago in the summer and took the Bourbouse all the way up (almost to I-44).  If you go this route, just be prepared for several portage areas.  This is an awesome trip as well.

Paddle ON!