Summer brings a host of outdoor sports from fishing and frogging to hiking and camping. I’ve tried most, but one sport I’ve often enjoyed was canoeing, especially when I combined it with as many other activities as possible. I well remember my first canoeing experience made long years ago on the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania, a trip I made with a friend that lasted four days.
We used two Sportspal canoes, wide, flat bottomed and very stable craft that weighed around 34 pounds and were only 11 feet or so long, this with oarlocks so we could paddle or row as we wished. We traveled in one canoe and trailed the second behind loaded with tent, camping gear, and food and water. It was a great trip!
We saw deer, a black bear or two, waterfowl, and other creatures, and ran occasional small rapids, stopping below each to fish a little. At days end, we camped along shore, cleaned our fish, and enjoyed crisp fried fillets, then slept the sleep of the just. It was a lazy, peaceful, quiet, and very pleasant float, sharing the river with hardy anyone at all once we left civilization.
I’ve made a similar trip or two to places like the Boundary Canoe Waters in northeast Minnesota, and talked with a couple of friends about an adventure trip they made much more recently to a remote river in Canada.
“It was wild country” one said. “We paddled for days watching bears, moose, beaver, otters, waterfowl, and other creature s, drifted through many miles of white barked birch and over crystal clear water, caught plenty of fish, and spent evenings just loafing around our campfire with no one for miles around. We’ll definitely do it again.”
Trips like that are great, but you can enjoy much shorter ones, too, and right near home. A good many times I’ve floated sections of the Sandusky River with a fishing friend. We’d drop one pickup truck off well downstream, drive upstream for miles, park and launch our little canoe.
Then float toward Lake Erie, fishing as we went and usually making good catches of smallmouth bass and rockbass. I’ve done it on the Huron River too, and down south near the Ohio River on Ohio Brush Creek.
Some day I’d like to float a long section of the Big Scioto River, maybe launching below Columbus and floating down to the Ohio River, camping on sandbars or little islands and fishing as we went for channel cats and other species.
I’ve never done it and know little about the river, but I do know it would be important to go with a friend, have a phone device with satellite connections since there would probably be dead areas in remote sections, and a well stocked first aid kit.
It would be important to check the weather too, since heavy rains upstream could flood your camp, and let others know where you’re going and when you should arrive. Do remember that on short trips this fall you can not only fish a chosen river, but do some squirrel and wood duck hunting, something I’ve enjoyed many a time.
Lots of choices this summer, but canoeing should be one of them.
Dick Martin is a retired biology teacher who has been writing outdoor columns for over 30 years. You can reach him at email@example.com. Martin writes a weekly column published in The Logan Daily News. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.