Paddling Through the April Snows

Launching through the snow at Black Otter Lake

 

Spring in Wisconsin has been slow to warm up this year.  April 19th brought a record snowstorm to Northeast Wisconsin.  Our 8 + inches of white stuff  was the most snow we’ve had after April 15th ever. What’s a paddler with a new boat to do?

Go paddling!

Buying a new boat and a stretch of cold Spring weather don’t go together very well.  Of course the desire for time in the new boat over rules the rational thinking that it’s too cold to go paddling.

A nice, used Current Designs Extreme came into my possession less than a week ago.  I’ve been having a blast playing with it on our little local lake.

 

Deer watching me paddling

Three deer wondering what I’m doing in the snow on the water.   There was actually snow in the water ahead of me in this photo.

Snow in the shallows

One of the things I like about early Spring paddling is getting into the shallow areas of these small bodies of water before they get choked with weed growth.  The Extreme must have a very shallow draft because I was cruising in 6 inches of water with the paddle in the mud.

Paddling through floating snow

This is snow I’m paddling through, not ice.   The wind pushed the snow that didn’t melt from the storm the day before into some of the protected areas on the lake.

Railroad bridge to upstream shallows on Black Otter Lake

This railroad bridge on the Southeast end of Black Otter Lake connects to a very shallow section and wide upstream section of the lake. In the Summer this is usually too weedy for decent paddling.

Culverts under the Wiouwash Trail

These 3 culverts are the route for going further upstream. The water levels have to be right to make it through here.

Next set of culverts, the end point for today's journey

After going through the culverts the channel opens back up to a wide shallow marshy area. This is really only navigable in the Spring. I found the river channel on the South end and continued on as far as I could. Another 1/4 mile or so after the first culverts there is another set of culverts that take the water flow back on the other side of the Wiouwash Trail. I didn’t have enough limbo in me today to make it through these.

Black Otter Lake is a 78 acre lake in the village of Hortonville. There are 2 boat landings on the lake. The one in Black Otter Park is a small gravel landing which is good for small boats. There is also a new concrete landing on the Southwest end of the lake. Black Otter Lake is shallow and gets very weedy in the Summer.

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