A few of us are trying to organize a River Raid for the Spring. We are looking at March and the location is TBD. We are trying to gauge the interest before we start any serious planning. I have offered up a few locations close to me here in Central Alabama as possible sites for the event, but we are open to any other suggestions. I know there are at least 14-15 KBF anglers just from Alabama and with all the others close by in the neighboring states, we could have an outstanding event. Here are the places near me (in no particular order) that I think could support a River Raid with 10 or more kayaks. I’ll include a couple pictures for each place.
1. The Tallapoosa River above Lake Martin near Alexander City. There is a 5.1 mile float that offers some great fishing for spotted bass, white bass, and striped bass that normally has no worse than Class I rapids to navigate. I caught 45 whites and hybrids in less than 2 hours back in the Spring or early Summer this year near the take-out there. It has camping and cabins available at Wind Creek State Park on Lake Martin and several motels for anyone wishing to stay overnight. WCSP is close to where the float begins and ends and there is a long creek that you can paddle up from the State Park that also has some good fishing for anyone who wanted to spend additional time on the water. The park is very family friendly with play grounds, hiking trails, and a store at the marina. Alex City is close by with lots of restaurant choices. Two other pro's for the Tallapoosa are that it is centrally located in the state (North-South wise) and Lake Martin could be used as a back-up if the river was unfishable.
I don’t have any pictures of the shoals or swift water. This is just above the swift area.
A big Tallapoosa River Spotted Bass.
2. The Coosa River in Wetumpka. There are two options for a trip here. The easy float would be to launch at Corn Creek Park and take out at Ft. Toulousse. There is sometimes a very strong current for the last ¼ mile or so back up the Tallapoosa to the boat ramp at Ft. Toulousse. The most popular float for kayaking enthusiasts is from just below Jordan Dam down to Corn Creek Park or Gold Star Park. This float is not for the faint hearted or less skilled paddlers. There are multiple Class II and Class III rapids in this section. You can portage these areas, but it almost never fails that when I’m out there, I will see someone who under-estimates the rapids or over estimates their abilities and takes a swim. This is especially true at Pipeline Rapids and Moccasin Gap. I almost always portage these two areas if I’m loaded down with fishing gear because I don’t want to risk losing anything (been there and done that). There is tent and RV camping at Ft. Toulousse, but no cabins. One of the river outfitters also has primitive camping available. Both of those campgrounds would offer additional access to the river for anyone wanting to get extra time on the water. There is a Key West Inn very close by in Wetumpka. The Lower Coosa is well known for producing big spotted bass. I've caught several over 4lbs and two over 6lbs here. Another big plus is that we would have Cooter's Pond Park on the Alabama River close by if the Coosa was blown out and we needed a back-up location. I've caught some big fish there even when the Coosa was unfishable.
Looking up river from Corn Creek Park
Looking up river from Gold Star Park
3. The Cahaba River near Montevallo and West Blocton. This is actually my personal favorite just because I love to fish there. There are several floats I’m familiar with in that area and it would be very easy to extend or shorten the float depending on far we wanted to paddle. This could even be an overnight float with camping on an island or sandbar if that was preferred. It is almost dead center of the state, but there are some draw backs. It’s very remote with no organized camping nearby for anyone wanting that. The closest would probably be Oak Mountain State Park, 30-40 minutes away. The closest motels would be in Centreville about 15-20 miles away. The river has numerous shoals and almost always requires wading on slippery rocks at most reasonable water levels, but those are often the best fishing spots. The Cahaba is smaller than the other two rivers and may not provide as many angling opportunities for a large number of kayaks. It also gets muddy and blown out easier than the other two and there really isn't a back-up location close by.
Pics from the Cahaba taken February 17th and March 25th.
A Fat Alabama Spot from the Cahaba.
Let me know if you are interested in putting something like this together for March or have any suggestions for a different event!