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Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

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By Earl
I spent this past weekend up on the Illinois River outside of Tahlequah, OK. I took my oldest and one of my 10yr olds. It is a 4 hour drive from Plano and we got there about 5pm on Friday evening. We stayed in a campground called Sparrow Hawk just down hwy 10. The campground is nice with plenty of sites that are far apart and some right on the river. The leaves have not turned color yet but are just about to start. The river flow was just under 500cfs and clear. Cooked some brauts, burgers, fried potatoes and apples slices that evening and made a nice campfire. The night was cool and very bright with clear skies and a near full moon. We did not set up a tent but just put the bags out on the grass. Later we enjoyed the hoot fest put on by some local owls and early AM some hungry coyotes howling up river somewhere. Morning temp was 40.

We got up Sat AM and made sausage, eggs, toast, juice for breakfast. About 9am we took the yaks and truck up hwy 10 a few miles to a launch site (No Head Hollow). The trip back to the campground is about 13 miles. We got unloaded and took off about 10am. The river has some large limestone bluffs and the water flow was decent. We fished and caught plenty of small, smallmouth but one managed 13" and was fat. There are no real hazards along this stretch but as always there are some downed trees that made some good strainers. I spotted an aluminum canoe wedged into some trees in the water. Another guy along got a rope on it and tossed to me out wading in the river. My oldest and I managed to pull it our then got the water out of it. It was an outfitters canoe and I am sure someone got charged for it. We towed it downriver and gave it to another outfitter who dropped it off with the owner. After a couple of hours we stopped and had our fine lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips, and apples. Got back on the river and just made our way lazily downriver. We did not see any Bald Eagles but did see quite a few Ospreys. There is a nice rock formation they call “Elephant Rock” along the way, last picture below. We made it back to the camp around 2:30pm. The clear sky had given in to clouds but the temps were still very warm, upper 60s. I talked to the wife and she said Dallas was getting rain and that Tahlequah was expecting up to 2 inches starting that night. Decided no tent again but did tie a tarp to the top of the truck and then the other two corners to the yaks and then just put the bags on the ground under that. We got a few drops during the night but not a lot. Sunday AM the skies really looked dark. We made breakfast then decided to pack up rather than paddle. Just as we got packed up and in the truck the rain got started. The is a fairly scenic river and I would certainly like to explore more of it. I am spoiled from my trip down the Buffalo River early this year. I may be making a trip up to the lower Buffalo this coming weekend for 3 nights on the river.




Elephant Rock

Get out and get wet,

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By e
Thanks for the report Earl, l grew up in NE OK and your report brings back memories of our annual church float trip on the Ill. Last time l was on that river was about 16 yrs ago when we stayed at the same camp ground. Beautiful pix, too bad you missed the fall foliage. l am heading to my folks this weekend and was hoping to see some fall colors-tired of the drought brown colors of central TX.
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By texan4ut
I have friends that go twice a year. They live in Okie City. I went with em in July, 7 hour trip from Austin. We rented Rafts. Got me interested in Kayak Fishing. Several Kayakers were fishing. Will try it again with my yak.

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