Monday, April 16, 2012

Santa Fe River

Yesterday we hit the Santa Fe river in High Springs, Florida for the first time. Right now the river is really low. We put in at the High Springs boat ramp off of Highway 441 and we had to walk the kayaks out a little ways before the water was deep enough to paddle. We went up river, to the River Rise, which is about 3 miles from the boat ramp (6 miles round trip). The River Rise is part of the River Rise Preserve State Park and its where the Santa Fe river comes back above ground after being underground for about 3 miles (it goes underground at O'Leno State Park). We had to get out and walk the kayaks once over some shoals, and there were a couple of really dense patches of water hyacinth we had to paddle though but otherwise, it was a smooth ride.

Here's what it looks like for most of the river. Some places are more narrow, but it mostly looked like this.  The water ranged in depth from only a few inches to several feet. The water here is clear as well and about 70 degrees right now.
I did some fly fishing on the journey and caught a lot of bream, stump knockers and shell crackers. All of them were pretty small though, but it was lots of fun.

The first fish of the day.

A lot of them were about this size. Little, but fighters.

This was the biggest catch of the day.
We saw several deer. They were pretty calm. This one just laid here. We got about 20 feet from her and she didn't even move.

Here's one of the patches of water hyacinth we had to paddle through. There were 2 of them,  but both were close  together. 

This is River Rise, where the river comes back above ground (also as far as you can paddle upstream because it dead ends). The water here is 35 feet deep according to my depth finder.

 Over all it was fun day. The river is peaceful and relaxing. We only encountered 4 other kayakers/canoers the whole day. We will definitely go again. Hopefully we will get some significant rain soon so we can try a down river trip because right now you can't go down river from 441. There are other spots on other highways were you can put in, but we haven't explored them yet. Hopefully we will be able to check them out as well. The Santa Fe also has several springs that are popular for swimming and snorkeling and cave diving. Definitely worth the trip.

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