Pack right for fall, spring paddling

The 2011 paddling season is nearing its end in Wisconsin, but this article from Paddling Light contains a bunch of good tips and tricks for doing extended-season canoe camping, when rain, sleet and cold weather are possible, if not likely.

A few things caught my eye from the article:

  • Seat pads can provide an extra bit of warmth instead of a plastic, metal or wooden seat in your canoe or kayak.
  • An insulated mug is a great way to keep coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc. at the right temperature on a blustery day.
  • Carry two types of firestarter, since you’ll likely need to light a fire to keep warm or dry if off you take a dunk.
  • Proper clothing is key. Dress in waterproof, breathable pants, shirts, etc. (you might even consider wearing a wetsuit or drysuit), but be sure you have the proper clothes for dry days, too.

All in all, use common sense when you pack for paddling trips in the late fall/early spring. It’s a great time to be out on the lakes and rivers when you’re looking for some peace and quiet without the throng of other canoeists and kayakers.

Rivers or lakes?

Do you like fishing for muskies on rivers or lakes?

There are plenty of opportunities to pursue muskies on the Chippewa and Flambeau Rivers. Even though paddling season is winding down, you can still find lots of action on the rivers. I’ve known lots of fishermen who have had success fly fishing and using topwater baits.

And fall’s the perfect time to track down those monster fish, too, since the water’s cooled down and prey fish move up the river. Take your opportunity to track down river muskies while you still can.

Stay dry while musky fishing

I stumbled across this article in Field & Stream on kayak fishing for musky and pike and thought it had some interesting tips and tricks.

A couple that are mentioned in the piece:

  • Straddling the kayak while landing the fish will give you better balance and leverage.
  • If the fish is especially big, pin it against the kayak for extra support.
  • A net is rarely necessary, since you’re so close to the water.
Check out the full article for some more good tips that can help you stay dry while reeling in that trophy fish from your kayak.

Flambeau River

Great time for leaves right now — just about at peak. They probably won’t last too much past mid-October, so take advantage while you can.

Watch out for low spots — water’s at it’s typical fall level — especially on the South Fork and north of Park Falls.