Canoe camping in Louisiana

Discussion in 'Louisiana' started by KajunKat, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. KajunKat

    KajunKat Guide

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    Has anyone canoe camped in Louisiana, particularly the southern half of the state? Interested in doing some paddling, fishing and camping on a small river. I'm going to have kids along and a huge plastic canoe so portage is pretty much out of the question (except over log jams and such). Any suggestions/recommendations?
     
  2. swamprat

    swamprat Guide

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    KajunKat I know some guys who canoe the Amite, Bogue Chitto and Tickfaw at different times of the year. Spring would be the ideal time when the are flowing higher.
     
  3. DSonnier

    DSonnier Tracker

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    You also have the Calcasieu River and the Whiskey Chitto River. Both are small rivers with good fishing and nice scenery. The Calcasieu is slower moving current and the Whiskey Chitto is always cold and my favorite river.
     
  4. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    KK, the timing is too funny. i just got back from dropping my daughter off as a camp counsellor at a weeklong camp on the wiskey chitto. we're going to NY a week after that, back on 1 july (girls are staying 2 more weeks) and i have to do something over that next weekend (whichever days we get off for the 4th.) i was just thinking about asking you, or Rat (or the rest of you LA lot) what you thought of the neches for a few days... (over in Tx, maybe a bit far).

    i've done short trips on both the whisky chitto and the calcasieu. WC IS indeed colder. don't know why. deeper maybe? Would LOVE to do a few days in the Atchafalaya Basin, but never had the time to look into it. (i belong to a group that does stuff out of beaumont, tx, and they do the neches a lot.) The area up around 190 gets pretty busy with canoe day trippers...mostly drunk, mostly young. don't like it much around them.

    Sabine river below the Toledo Bend Dam is good too.

    when are you going, whose kids (your 4? or scouts or other), and do you want company (i have my own solo canoe)?
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  5. swamprat

    swamprat Guide

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    Keep me in the loop on this. I had forgot about the WC & would like to give it a try.

    Seeker do you know where the headwaters of the WC are?
     
  6. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    Fort Polk. You can put in on 112, i think it is, and float down for a couple days... i did that about 9 years ago... don't remember where i put in. i'll see if i can find it.
     
  7. KajunKat

    KajunKat Guide

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    Still in the "idea" stage working toward the "planning" stage. I am basically jonesing to get out and do something, anything! It would be with my kids. Thinking about taking the boys because they are a little more well...boys...
    Girls would probably be a blast too they are certainly capable. I only have one canoe so it would be one or the other. I am also open to a "mens" trip. My canoe is more like a washtub with pointed ends. no ridged keel, fat, wide and heavy. Speed, portability and tracking are way down on the feature list! Really stable though the boys only manage to flip it once or twice an outing now :)
     
  8. KajunKat

    KajunKat Guide

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    They also opened up two tent only camping sites (I assume hammocks are allowed) in the Maurepas WMA. They are only accessible by boat so that should keep them fairly remote. All slack water around there though, absolutely no current. I am going to check them out but I think that is going to be more of a fall/winter type thing. I was going to do it today with the flat boat but work decided I needed some more money...
    Oh and company is always welcome!
     
  9. KajunKat

    KajunKat Guide

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    That sounds like fun.
     
  10. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    either way. your kids are all good in the woods, and i liked them.

    ok. The Whisky Chitto originates on the south side of polk, but doesn't get navigable until north of Mittie, on Hwy 26. A friend of mine put me in there at 112/337. It was pretty rough the first bit, getting over the blowdown. and there may be more as a result of Katrina, Rita, and one more recent one that hit Alexandria about 4 years ago (Ike? they all run together after awhile.) Anyway, once you get south of 26 is where it's nicer... the canoe company owners get together in the winter, and go up with john boats and chain saws and clear it out. of course, that's where you run into the tourists.

    my canoe is a homemade thing that looks like a pirogue without the flat bottom... tippy as heck, but "i made it", so that ranks high with me.

    calcasieu i think is more open, but don't quote me.
     
  11. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    money is good. it enables everything else. in this economy, be thankful... (i'm looking at a somewhat sudden contract end in august, but should have something else lined up soon. we were told in april it was good through NEXT august, then in may, it was "oh, it's this august". thankfully, i'm good at what i do, and my customer kinda needs me.)

    thanks. if you're going in the next couple weekends, i'm out... but after july 1st, i'm good. kinda hot then though... but that's why there's water.
     
  12. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    hey. what about the bogue chitto or pearl river?
     
  13. KajunKat

    KajunKat Guide

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    I was also wondering about the Amite river. It is pretty small near my parents place in SW MS and meanders down south. I am pretty familiar with the lower part. Anybody ever travel the upper?
     
  14. swamprat

    swamprat Guide

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    It is going to be so hot we would almost have to sleep in the river. I think this would be a good fall or winter trip, but I am game if y'all are after Seeker gets back.
     
  15. KajunKat

    KajunKat Guide

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    Yeah I am very thankful, this is just the 15th in a row and it is getting kind of tiresome. The only thing I will probably do before July is check out the Maurepas swamp ones and maybe do an overnighter if it looks like it is not over run or boring (aka no fish!).
    I'm sure something will turn up for you. Good men are hard to find.
     
  16. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    yeah... it's already so hot, for the season, that i'm afraid we're up for another burner like last summer... i didn't even like to go outside when it was "cool"... but maybe this year will be different. and the river is there to cool off in.

    and KK, you have to change your signature block. i personally witnessed you on at least ONE outing, so you have to have 1/5, not 0/5.

    yeah. 15 straight sucks... back before we started doing Iraq and Afghanistan tng at polk, our exercises used to run 17 days straight... you lost 2 weekends every month, but you also got 2x 3 or 4 day weekends to make up for it (or fewer, and more vacation. it was all flexible.) you'd get pretty loopy about day 10... and it was all downhill, mentally, til endex.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  17. KajunKat

    KajunKat Guide

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    They only let you log the outings when you have completed all the other classes. I would have actually completed the outings by now but those dad gum trees are still tormenting me! I think I am going to give up trying to learn new trees and go in the yard...lets see..magnolia...crepe myrtle...crack head....no, no that's a vegetable...camellia... azalea...
     
  18. hglass

    hglass Scout

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    for a nice overnighter try toro bayou.
     
  19. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    yeah. forgot about that one too... that's off the sabine, up near the dam, right?
     
  20. swamprat

    swamprat Guide

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    I know a couple of guys who fish the BC by canoe, but I don't know about camping.
     
  21. The Kid

    The Kid Scout

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    I know the Amite is always good and I've floated the tangipahoia last week since it runs right by my cabin
     
  22. Gatordrag

    Gatordrag Scout

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    I know this is an old rp thread, but you guys ever figure any of these spots out? I am looking for some yak camping areas as well!
     
  23. Forestree

    Forestree Treeforest Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Dragging this old thread up again, but there is some good stuff here that I've taken note of.

    Kisatchie bayou is another option for paddling. It is one of LA's natural and scenic streams. Going from Kisatchie falls to the Kisatchie bayou campground, you will see it all on this trip. Rock shoals, beautiful sandbars, deep slow moving bayou waters, shallow fast moving sandy waters, fallen trees and log jams, wildlife, secluded swimming holes, and all kinds of other cool stuff :)

    The water level and unknown amount of trees/log jams in the creek will determine whether the trip is easy or a lot of work. This stretch flows through alot of national forest, so camping opportunities are more than plentiful. The bayou flows through some of the most remote areas of the forest and you are unlikely to see anyone.

    I would advise to pack light and depending on the water level, dragging your boat through shallow waters and around and/or across log barriers could be a common occurrence.

    Here's a few pics

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  24. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    Didn't even know this was navigable... I've been to the Kisatchie Bayou campground, and struck me as really shallow. Where is the put in, and where is the take out?
     
  25. Forestree

    Forestree Treeforest Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    I've put in at Kisatchie falls and taken out at Kisatchie Bayou campground. I think it's like 12 river miles (but only about 3 miles as the crow flies). I heard that there used to be a canoe rental place that would keep the river channel open by cutting trees out and what not.

    The next section goes from the Bayou campground to the bridge across the Longleaf trail. I haven't done this one, but I think it's like 7 river miles?? but don't quote me on that.

    The depth can vary with every turn in the creek. Some places can be really shallow depending on the water flow.

    There used to be an old map with some good info on the net....I'll see if I can dig it up
     
  26. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    So where is kisatchie falls? Is it up on the north side, off the Longleaf Vista Road?
     
  27. Forestree

    Forestree Treeforest Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Kisatchie falls is on kisatchie falls road off of hwy 118 (south of the longleaf road). It's right where the bridge crosses the creek. There tends to be a lot of folks there in the warmer months and it gets pretty trashy, unfortunately.

    The creek flows from south to north and drains into old river.

    I couldn't find that old map I spoke of earlier, but I have the USGS quad maps that show what land is national forest and what is private. I could make copies if you're interested, or maybe I could figure out how to show them on this site (I'm not great with a cpu).

    I will say that it can be hard to plan a trip in advance, because the creek can dry up to a trickle and become a raging torrent the next. You pretty much just have to catch it at the right time. It seems a bit low right now IMO. As I said before, it can be some work getting around logs and or dragging your boat for short stretches in shallow areas, so packing light will make life easier.
     
  28. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    Found it! Had NO idea that was there.... I always come in on Longleaf Vista... and didn't know the river flowed S to N... there used to be a water gauge at the bridge on the LLVista bridge, but with budget cuts a few years back, they discontinued listing it on this site: http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/new/?m=real&r=la

    Thanks. It may be worth just a day trip to hike up there to see it.

    If you have a scanner (or digital camera) you can take pictures and post the maps. But I think I can extrapolate private land from the Forest Service brochure for the area.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  29. Forestree

    Forestree Treeforest Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Yeah, it'd sure be handy if that water gauge still worked.

    If you ever saw the movie "Man in the moon", the swimming hole they used was filmed at Kisatchie falls. That's it's claim to to fame. It's not really a big waterfall, just some rock shoals similar to the one's at the Bayou campground.

    If you plan to get up this way any time, shoot me a message and we could meet up. Maybe you could show me how to build one of those bushcraft chairs!
     
  30. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    Will do!

    I'm headed out squirrel hunting today, and maybe finally build that stretcher bed at my camp... pulled a stomach muscle last week, and am in a lot of discomfort, but if I complain too much, my wife won't let me go out... so i'll probably just hunt/walk.
     
  31. bdavison

    bdavison Tracker

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    I'm not familiar with canoe/kayaking Louisiana, so I can't recommend a location.
    But here are some tips you should definitely think about.

    1. Make sure you google earth the section you plan on doing. But be aware that sandbars, and banks showing on google earth can and do change rapidly depending on water level. What you think will be a perfect camping spot...may be underwater when you get there. Especially if rainfall levels are high. For instance, right now my local river...the Ocmulgee...is so far above flood stage that it's turned about a mile of bank on both sides into swamp. Any campsites are under about 10ft of water.

    2. Safety first. You need to have a exit plan if something goes wrong. How will you get off the river in a hurry if you need to. Know the river well before starting. Also, know how far you can paddle in a day. You dont want to plan for a 30 mile day, and then get tired exhausted after 10 and be stuck. Check the weather, and make sure you have the appropriate gear. NOBODY should ever go on a river without carrying raingear, and some kind of thermal layer...wool sweaters are great, getting rained on in a canoe...it gets cold....even on 90F days. Lifevests/PFD's all the time...ALL the time. Rivers can be much more hazardous than open water. You dont know what's under the water. Sunken branches/tree/trash can trap even the most experienced paddler, so be safe.

    3. Dry Bag everything. I cant stress this enough. Wet gear is dangerous, and demoralizing. It just sucks every bit of fun out of your trip, and the first wet night you have to spend will not be fun. It's so nice after a day of being soaked to set up camp, and reach into your drybag and pulling out perfectly dry clothing and a dry towel.

    4. Take a jar of peanut butter, beef jerky and a case of bottled water. These are the luxury/must have's for me on a kayak/canoe trip. Peanut butter is just the perfect power snack, and will keep you going. You would be amazed at how much water you will need to take in canoeing. Hydration is very important.

    5. If you are going to take a camera....take a GoPro with the floatation back. Getting your camera wet=not cool. GoPro....no problem.
     
  32. THG2002

    THG2002 Tracker

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    I'm from the Thibodaux area. I use a small 1958 aluminum bateau with a 25 Yamaha for all my bayou and swamp running. We started doing bush craft with the church kids last year. I've been looking at canoes, but don't really know what features make a good canoe for our area. Do you guys have any suggestions or a source of info on this?
    Thanks,
     
  33. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    The Cajuns invented the pirogue based on the local needs... I'd say a shallow-drafted, flat-bottomed, pointed-at-both-ends boat would be best. There are pirogue plans online if you want to make your own, and I think the Bass Pro Shops at Denham Springs sells them, with an artificial lake you can try them out on.

    If you're set on a canoe, there is a tremendous amount of variation and technology that goes into them. For our shallow, slow-moving flatwater, you might like something a little wider that you can pole (vs paddle), with just a touch of rocker to make turning on the curvy creeks easier. Also, longer is faster. Materials vary from heavy aluminum to very light carbon fiber. I can make no specific design or brand recommendations.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  34. THG2002

    THG2002 Tracker

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    I grew up running trot lines with my dad using a pirogue that he built. We also got a lot of use out of push poles while duck hunting south of Houma. I just thought that a canoe might be more comfortable for the long haul. I've got a friend with a pirogue. I'll borrow it and spend a few hours with it. That may well be all I want.
    Thanks.
     
  35. riverrats

    riverrats Tinder Gatherer

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    Hi am jerry 62 yo In new orleans area, / I take lots of short trips with then 3 or 4 hundred miles , Twice i did a 106 miles on the apachicola river in florida , days trips . On a mississippi black creek I spend 6 days on a 25 mille trip , camping fishing , Over 50 years I've done thousands of miles , Don't know how many don't care, < At this time of year most their rivers are full of kids tubers , It may 17 , The best river to be sucluded would be the pearl river It's full of sand bars and cat fish plenty of wood to burn, ,sand bars and cliffs in miss. swamps in louisiana , Tents for sand bars and hammocks in the swamps , I have only done it a few times short trips 2 to 3 days , I would like to put if in at a friends house 30 mile north of the state line And canoe down to the mississippi sound gulf of mexico ,
     

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