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Escatawpa River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Weekend Trip Report
Trip Dates: April 2011
Nearest City: Citronelle, AL
Difficulty: Moderate

Description:

A friend and I took a three day trip, from Citronelle to Wilmer, Alabama on the Escatawpa River. It's also known as the 'Dog River' to the locals. I grew up near this river, a little further south, and have spent my summers enjoying it.

We took one canoe and enough gear and provisions for three days. I took the same trip about ten years ago, so we had some idea of where to make camp. A little Google Earth and GPS help was handy, as well.

The first day we did some fishing but, were focused on making it to our planned camp before the sun got too, far west. The water temp was chilly, at first, but we quickly adapted while wading around the inside of bends to catch a few 'red bellys', bream, and bass.

The water is always crystal clear, as long as you don't go just after a big rain. Then it takes a few days to clear up, again. On the first leg we had quite a bit of drag-over as the sandbars reach completely across the river, in some areas. The beauty and tranquility of the place more than makes up for the trouble, though.

We had fish, fried over a propane stove, the first night. We talked for hours under a brilliant, star covered sky. I was especially thankful for the lack of highway noise, sirens, stereos, etc.

Late on the second day, I broke out my fly rod and found that we had been wasting our time with plastic worms, spinner baits, and such. Although we had provided for ourselves that way. After I hung three fish in as many casts, my buddy Kevin grabbed my spare fly rod and joined me.

What a dinner! Turns out, Kevin is just as good a fisherman as I am. And, a better cook! We found the perfect sandbar for camp, the second night. A pretty cypress tree dotted the north end of the bar and provided a great berth for the canoe.

After another peaceful night of listening to crickets and the occasional coyote, we packed it all up for the last leg. We caught a dozen or so fish before we reached Escatawpa Hollow where we pulled out. Those folks are great! Only charged us $5 for taking out. I have used them countless times, over the years, for the trip further south.

This is, by far, my favorite place to paddle! Can't wait to take the kayak I just bought! I would make this a four day trip to fully enjoy the gorgeous scenery and abundant wildlife.

Accommodations:

There are no facilities. If you are not accustomed to roughing it, this may not be the trip for you.

Outfitting:

We used an old Grumman 15' aluminum canoe, dome style tent, propane stove, Garmin GPS, etc.

Fees:

Alabama fishing license is required if you plan to fish.

Directions:

From Mobile, AL:
take Lott Rd. west until you cross Earlville/Prine Rd. The pavement ends there. Travel west a couple miles and you'll reach the bridge over the Escatawpa River. There are no facilities. Drive as close as you can, on the left side of the bridge, then carry your gear down to a little sandbar to launch. You will have to get someone to drop you off and pick you up, unless you leave a vehicle at Escatawpa Hollow. Please, make arrangements with them prior to doing so.

Resources:

I planned my trip using Google Earth and Garmin GPS.


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