“Lake George is without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw; formed by a contour of mountains into a basin thirty-five miles long and from two to four miles broad, finely interspersed with islands, its water limpid as crystal and the mountainsides covered with rich groves of silver fir, white pine, aspen and paper birch down to the water, here and there precipices of rock to checker the scene and save it from monotony. An abundance of speckled trout, salmon trout, bass and other fish with which it is stored, have added to our other amusements the sport of taking them.” Thomas Jefferson inked these words on to paper back in May of 1791 in a letter to his daughter.
The fleet right before the launch
A lot has changed on the lake over the last 221 years, but its crystal clear water, tree covered mountainsides are still awe inspiring when you see it. So when my wife suggested we take the kayaks and camp on one of its many islands this past winter I jumped at the opportunity. It was early January and with most of the best campsites being booked just weeks after they start taking reservations on January 1st, I quickly went online and made a reservation, we were even lucky enough to land a prime campsite right across from the ranger station.
Paddling the Big Tuna
Over the next 6 months I eagerly awaited and prepared for the 5 days of adventure with my family. July finally arrived and we loaded the kayaks for the 4.5 mile paddle to the campsite. We were taking 3 kayaks for the 4 of us, Ryley (11) and I were going to paddle our Jackson Cuda’s and my wife and Braden (8) were going to paddle our Big Tuna. Since the kids were paddling, my father ferried most of our gear to the campsite with his boat so we didn’t have to load down the kayaks to heavily. This allowed us to take a comfortable amount of gear and allowed us to enjoy our surroundings and the paddle.
Arriving at the Ranger Station on Glenn Island
Our fleet moored at our campsite
We launched around 11:00 and paddled our way north from Bolton Landing towards the Narrows and the Glenn Island Ranger Station. We made the trip in a little over 1.5 hours and checked into our campsite. Then we crossed the small channel by the ranger station and arrived at our campsite on Phantom Island, we unpacked our lunch and set up our camp and relaxed the rest of the afternoon and evening. It was a blessing being close to the ranger station and general store as forgotten supplies and midafternoon ice cream treats were a short paddle from our campsite.
Kicking back waiting for the sun to set to close out the first day
Those of you who Boondoggle will recognize the Pirate Cobbler
Over the next 3 days we explored the narrows from our kayaks while fishing, swimming, and snorkeling. The lake up around the Narrows is a much different lake then the main body of the lake where I have spent the majority of my time over the years. The nicest part for us was the fact that the majority of the motor boat traffic is in only in a few main channels as people try to avoid all the rocky out croppings that seem to be at every turn. These rocky shallows also make it a kayak angler’s paradise. Most mornings I was able to find plenty of fish, and while largemouth bass have become the dominate fish in the southern part of the lake, smallmouth are still dominating the rock piles of the Narrows. The other observation I made is that although the water was a few degrees warmer up in the Narrows the bass both small and largemouth were typically in shallower water then the areas I normally catch them around Bolton Bay. I attribute this to less boat traffic and a less developed shore line.
The kids snorkeling and exploring the waters around the island with a new friend
Braden fishing out of the bow of the Big Tuna
Ryley unhooking one of his fish
There were lots of smallmouth bass to be caught
On the 4th morning we broke camp and headed back to our launch. Unfortunately, that day we had to fight a nasty headwind that made for a long paddle home through some rough water. It was a good reminder that when venturing out on long trips or on large bodies of water you need to be prepared. We arrived back safely without incident and have lots of memories and some great stories, some of which my wife may actually un-classify in a few years. Hopefully we get to have another adventure like this soon.