LeBlanc: Summer is here, time to get the kayak out
Summer is here and it is getting a little warm so I have a suggestion that will help you enjoy the season and that is to take a look at the paddling trails that are available to us by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and also what is available right here on Lake Conroe.
Now before you start with, ‘It’s too hot’, ‘I don’t have anywhere to go’, ‘I don’t own a kayak’, or any of the innumerable excuses that may cross your mind, let me assure you that all of the equipment is readily available. You can purchase or rent and the paddle trails are laid out, marked, and of different lengths so there are some ready for your level of proficiency. Also, they are all on lakes or going downstream so you want be trying to move up stream against the current and providing as leisurely or as vigorous and outing with which you want to get involved.
The TPWD paddle trails are sprinkled all over the state and four of them are near us and just waiting for your decision to give it a try. Also, we have right here on Lake Conroe the North Lake Conroe Paddle Company that can rent you all of the equipment you will need for your outing. It matters not whether you are a beginner, well seasoned paddler, or a group out for a day on the water in the Sam Houston National Forest it is only a phone call away.
Those who have never experienced an up close encounter with kayaking probably do not realize how much fun they can be and may believe that you just sit on a little unstable boat and strenuously spend your time paddling in circles and that is not the case at all.
The modern kayak is a stable watercraft that will support a person comfortably, allowing them to enjoy a water course and the surrounding natural wilderness in depths of water as little as a foot deep. A kayak is the easiest craft I have ever propelled with a paddle and I have had many fantastic experiences in kayaks.
The north end of Lake Conroe is ideal for a paddling outing. A few of the experiences you can seek after are to comfortably fish the area where power boats cannot get to, birding, explore the lake, or just listening to Mother Nature and take in all of her beauty. One can seldom hear or feel such peace away from the noise of the 21st Century as when on the water paddling.
On one kayaking trip that I went on I fished with some other outdoor writers in Copano Bay, down the coast in the Rock Port/Fulton area. I had the use of a Cobra kayak and I brought along light weight fishing equipment and had a great time. I caught some nice speckle trout and redfish along with a few other species. That was a great trip and my first in saltwater. So as you get into the sport remember that we have miles of Texas Gulf Coast to kayak as well as freshwater lakes and paddle trails.
To see what the TPWD has available go to their website and search The Texas Paddling Trails, which is a TPWD program to develop public inland and coastal paddling trails throughout the state and support these trails with maps, signage, fishing and wildlife-viewing information, and more.
The trails provide well-mapped accessible day trips in a variety of settings and for all levels of paddling experience. The TPWD paddling trails team is continually working with new community partners, so check back often for new trails to paddle, fish, and explore.
There are more than 3,700 named streams, 15 major rivers and some 3,300 miles of tidal shoreline along the Gulf Coast and have a myriad of possibilities for paddling adventures and angling opportunities of all types.
Fishing opportunities are numerous for the popular freshwater species of fish including bass, crappie, catfish, and bream on the paddle trails as well as on Lake Conroe. Due to what some people evasively refer to as progress has created a problem on some of the states waterways and a fish consumption advisory exists for some bodies of water and information can be found online at the TPWD website also.
Birding is also a favorite among kayakers as one can unobtrusively glide into areas, where motorized watercraft cannot go, and not disturb the wildlife. I have on many occasions sat watching Great Blue Herons hunting in the shallows and marveled and the stealth in which they can move in pursuit of a meal in the water.
Paddlers should keep in mind that open bodies of water (lakes, rivers, bays, bayous, ponds) are vastly different from neighborhood swimming pools and therefore warrant extra precautions. The key differences are that there are no lifeguards, water conditions can change rapidly, and underwater currents sometimes exist. The bottom line is all paddlers should wear a life-jacket.
So folks if you want to give it a try and don’t want to go far from home to do so, I suggest you contact the North Lake Conroe Paddling Company and setup a trip to your liking right here on Lake Conroe. They can be reached at (936) 203-2697 or on line.