Feb. 11, 2016
by Dave Kitson
Given the gorgeous weather we have been having, Natalie Wiest, Joe Coker, Larry Peterson, Rea Inglish and I set out for an excellent mid-week paddle on Champion Lake. The water was still high at 7.4’ on the gauge which is plenty of water to go pretty much anywhere that you want to on the lake. We first set out toward the dam, passing the overflow which was sending lots of water to the Pickets side. The water was a good 1’+ deep going over the dam moving at maybe 3 or 4 mph.
We then headed to Big Caney Creek, ultimately paddling up both forks to area 12 and area 6/7/8. We actually paddled through the forest to get between the two areas rather than backtracking on the creek. After lunch in the forest we paddled down trail #9 to the south shore. I had paddled the lake a few days before and had paddled all the way along the south shore as far as it is possible to go. Toward the west end I had found that the birds have started to nest. There were quite a few great blues and cormorants as well as a few egrets of various types. Coming down trail 9 we actually got to the south shore somewhat to the east of the developing rookery.
The weather was warm enough that Joe saw a couple of respectable sized gators out sunning themselves.
Those wanting to paddle the whole lake should do so soon since the nesting area of the lake will be closed from Mar 1 to June 30. It is still possible to make a good trip but much shorter than the rest of the year. Most years the water weed will be covering much of the lake by June 30 and this will limit access to some areas until the fall weather kills the weed. We have been lucky this past year since all the rain washed most of the weed out to Picketts Bayou so I have paddled the lake a number of times this past summer. Below is a photo of Natalie heading back to the take out.
|The author, Dave Kitson