July 31, 2013

Lazy river trip on the Eel really hits the spot

Scenic voyage takes just a little bit of planning.

John Newcom
Outdoors Columnist

---- — Summer has settled into a nice little zone of comfortable temperatures and weather conditions as of late. On a nice morning, my family took advantage of this by floating the Eel River.

We have been planning to float the river for a while now, but it just never seemed to work out. We had purchased a few river tubes a year ago for this type of trip.

We dug through the basement and found these still boxed up and then proceeded to open and inflate them for the trip the following morning. I am very glad that we decided to do this the night before because it took a lot longer than we had anticipated.

After manually inflating a partial tube we tried a foot pump, then a air mattress pump, and finally my air compressor to finish the job of inflating three tubes.

The morning came before we knew it. We did our chores, ate breakfast, and loaded the river tubes. I took along a light spinning outfit and a small box of assorted fishing lures for our trip. We drove to park one vehicle at our pickup spot and then to our entry spot at Spencer Park where we put into the river.

The water was nice, not too cold or too warm, and the water a touch on the murky side but still in good shape. I started to fish while my wife and daughter began floating downstream. I cast and cast before catching a little goggle-eye and then floated downstream to catch up.

The morning was beautiful and the weather perfect as we floated. It felt like we were on one of those lazy river rides at water parks. The only difference was that we were the only ones floating this stretch of river that morning. We did not see anyone else the entire trip.

We stopped and fished and waded around playing in the water. It was just a nice day and things were going well. I let my daughter catch a few goggle-eye and a smallmouth or two before we floated on downstream.

We watched a young four point buck wade out into the weeds and shallows of the river at one point and a doe did the same in another letting us get close enough to see them extremely well before they darted back to the bank. We splashed, laughed, fished, and just basically had a good time as we floated along.

The sun was bright the entire time and as we enter the last stretch of water before our exit spot the sun began to get hot. We had gotten out just as the temperatures began to become a little uncomfortable, so we could not have planned it better if we had tried.

It was a fun little trip that is available for anyone with just a little planning. It might be just the thing to do with the family before school starts back in a few weeks. Have fun and enjoy the great outdoors!

John Newcom is an outdoors columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached through the sports department at 574-732-5180 or