TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

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By nmyoungblood
Decided to go on a camping trip with my kayaking buddy, he wanted to go down the San Jacinto River from Hwy 45 to 59. I was apprehensive at first because our last attempt at that river ended not too well. In the end I decided to take the challenge and defeat this river. We planned for three days leaving Friday afternoon and finishing Sunday evening. The trip was underway.
We dropped our vehicles off at Edgewater Park near 59. We each paid the man $5 for every day we'd be gone, not too bad. Our ride then drove us towards Hwy 45. Along the way we got hit with a little bad luck and our friends rails on his roof broke in half and the kayak started moving! Thankfully we pulled over and strapped it up the best we could. We decided it would be best to launch at 242 now and we weren't far from it. Under the bridge is kind of shady but no one bothered us.
We launched after rigging up a little after 3. Not 100 yds. in were we dragging our kayaks through low water, it wasn't that bad though. The water was cool and the breeze felt nice. After paddling/walking on for a few hours we decide to pull over and get some fishing in before setting up camp. It was a nice sandbar with deep water pretty much in both directions. Lots of big and small fish.
No luck catching any though. So we made a fire and cooked up some steaks. A good ending for the first day.
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Maybe half a days paddle/walk from 242.
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By nmyoungblood
We started the next morning around 8 or so. There were already some people fishing on the bank. One was a lady who came the night before, she told us a thing or two about camping on the sandbar. She basically told us we were on private property but it wasn't hers. The sand pit nearby owned it and runs people off (by calling the game warden or cops) from time to time for off-roading or tearing it up back there. I wasn't too worried though, if we had to leave we would just get back in the river and keep paddling. She also told us someone had gotten shot and killed back there two weeks prior and they've been keeping a real close eye on the place. Creepy news but nothing out of the ordinary happened and we were on our way.
After paddling maybe a 1/4 mile, we got to a pipeline that goes across the river. It hung pretty low but if you take down your poles and get flat as a pancake you can make it under. If the water height were higher I'm sure we'd have to find a way around.
Throughout the day was about 3/4 paddling and 1/4 walking. There are little trails through the riverbed that are deeper and we navigated those most of the time. The walking wasn't bad either, a good chance to stretch. We paddled on, stopped had a quick lunch (fire-roasted hot dogs are always good), and kept going. It only kept getting better as we went. The water got deeper, there were more fish and less sounds of beeping trucks. Sunscreen was a must, as any place I missed is now red. Packing as light as possible is a big factor too. Two kayaks or more definitely makes it easier.
It was getting close to dark so we picked out a good spot to set up camp. Took out just what we were going to use and started with dinner. A portable stove and pan comes in handy when you don't feel like making a fire. Ate some dinner and crashed before the sun was down. It's amazing all the new muscles you discover after kayaking all day. We probably made 17-18 miles.
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Plenty of places to get out and stretch your toes.
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You will have to duck low or go around. Not too bad though, unless the water was higher.
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Some parts were more than a few feet deep.
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By nmyoungblood
After a good nights sleep I awoke feeling ready to tackle whatever else the river had to throw at us. We had already gone about 3/4 of the way to 59, so we were making good time. After hitting the water lo and behold there's a tree-dam. Not taking no for an answer my friend and I hopped out and drew our machetes. We hacked at the dam for a good 15 minutes til a nice way through was carved. A good way to start the day if you ask me!
I am happy to say the rest of the day was smooth sailing. The river only got deeper and wider and more serene. There is one place though with a road going through the middle of the river. You will most definitely have to drag your kayak across (or carry it). Other than that it was a no holds barred full throttle assault on the river. I think the only time we slowed down was to catch some shade or drink some water.
We ended up getting to spring creek around 2. The water felt extremely good so we both figured after a long haul it was time to get some swimming in. It was just the perfect temperature. We swam (and cleaned all the dirt and smell) until a big, dark rain cloud started heading our direction. No need to quit now. Hopped back in the kayaks and started paddling. We were very close to the end of our journey. It was truly an accomplishment. The last time we attempted taking this river on, one of our friends almost died. Now 5 years later we came back and conquered. It was a good feeling.
We passed 59 and pulled up to Edgewater Park. Went got our vehicles and started loading our gear. It didn't take long to get packed up, but after such a good journey, it deserved a better ending. So we both pull out our celebration cigars. A smoke to the river that once tried to defeat us, the river that has now been defeated. The sweet, sweet taste of victory. Will we ever do this trip again? Probably. Will we wait until the water is higher? Probably. But I had a blast. I took one last pull off my victory cigar, and ashed it in the rivers face.
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The end of our journey.
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Nice shade.
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Paddlin' on.
By SmilinJoe
Nice report. I have yet to do a camping trip but would like to. So I am curious if you don't mind sharing, what happened to your friend that almost died? I feel stories like these help me to be more cautious and prepared when I go out. Thanks for posting.
By Ramjet
SmilinJoe wrote: So I am curious if you don't mind sharing, what happened to your friend that almost died? I feel stories like these help me to be more cautious and prepared when I go out. Thanks for posting.

I'd like to know what went wrong as well , was considering doing this or a Colorado River trip from 969 to Bastrop with my boys. This is definitely a lot closer to home and easier to plan. My biggest concern is making sure its safe for my boys , 9 (today) and 14.
By murdock
Anytime they are releasing any substantial amount of water from Lake Conroe dam the San Jack is great. It would be really good this weekend if anyone is considering a trip like this. It is 33 miles from Lake Conroe dam to the take out at Edgewater Park on Hwy 59.
By Ramjet
murdock wrote:Anytime they are releasing any substantial amount of water from Lake Conroe dam the San Jack is great. It would be really good this weekend if anyone is considering a trip like this. It is 33 miles from Lake Conroe dam to the take out at Edgewater Park on Hwy 59.

Thanks .... Cant make the trip this weekend , but might try it during the week or next weekend.

Im not real familiar with the SJ anywhere North of 59. Anything in particular to look out for .... places to avoid camping ?! How many days from 45-59 /242-59 ?
By Ramjet
Just finished this trip today ... from I45 to 59 with my boys.

Was fun but I probably wouldn't do it again nor recommend it .... too much of the river is shallow , left us spending more time concerned with which piece of river would float us and which we would have to drag thru ( we really didn't drag much TBH).

That pipe the OP photographed doesn't look like that now , only about a 8 foot wide spot that is passable we couldn't go under it with loaded yaks either , had to float the yak under while crawling over with our ice chests .... I didn't photo that spot , was too concerned with my kids getting across safely.

I think to myself it might be a nice trip with more flow yet there would be area's like that pipe and another similar that just wouldn't be passable with higher water .... Camping locations the first 2/3rds of the way between 242 & 59 are plentiful and very nice.

The last ~4-5 miles were very nice tho both put in and camping location would be limited to one each from there to the takeout. The banks on both sides are dense vegetation from that camp spot , which is at the confluence of a bayou that crosses Sorters road about a half mile up its stream , to the confluence of Spring Creek. Would be a nice 4-5 hour trip from that point to 59 pending you could reach the put in point which is a dirt road along the top of the bayou , if its muddy ... it would be troublesome to reach.

Have to add that I was just plain sickened by the amount of garbage that had collected just beyond the confluence of Spring Creek .... pile upon pile of floating debris. Absolutely disgusting .... by contrast the rest of the trip was surprisingly free of garbage along the banks. I wish people wouldn't "mess with Texas".

Spent two nights are nice camp locations , caught a few fish , slept under the stars .... kids had a blast. Cant really complain. There are some very nice stretches along the course of the river. Lots of wildlife from hogs to deer .... and shockingly not a single snake sighting over three days.
BTB Surfside - July 3rd

Sure wish I could have made this one:(

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