Best Kayaking/Canoeing Lakes in Pines?

NJChileHead

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Dec 22, 2011
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I'm finally biting the bullet and purchasing a canoe and a kayak for family. In the past we've canoed Prospertown Lake and Atsion Lake, both were beautiful, but I wanted to ask the opinions of others-what are the most scenic and outright best lakes in the Pine Barrens to drop a canoe and spend an afternoon on the water? For the record, we practice leave no trace and are considerate to other boaters and fishermen.

Thanks very much for your help!

Chilehead
 

46er

Piney
Mar 24, 2004
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A few I have done;

Up north the WMA lakes in Assumpink & Colliers plus Manasquan Reservoir; south is Oswego, Batsto, Absegami, Harrisville & Union. These are a decent size, but not massive. Note that those on routes used by the rental companies tend to get crowded on weekends. Give some consideration to the flatwater streams, but that gets a bit complicated. Have fun.

What canoes are you looking at?
 
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NJChileHead

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Thank you both! Regarding the canoe, I'm looking at the Old Town Discovery or Penobscot series. Any advice regarding these or others?
 

mowergod

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Apr 9, 2011
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Thank you both! Regarding the canoe, I'm looking at the Old Town Discovery or Penobscot series. Any advice regarding these or others?
I don't post here much but I have a 17 ft Grumman that I love it's spent it's whole life in the pines and it's still on perfect condition and you can get them used like I did for cheep
 
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46er

Piney
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Regarding the canoe, I'm looking at the Old Town Discovery or Penobscot series.
Both are classics, either should serve you well. I had a 15' Mad River Duck Hunter, royalex hull, similar to both the Old Towns. Weight was around 70lbs , but a nice boat. Used to get hung up on tree stumps in flooded tree areas as the hull gave just enough to get stuck. A harder material just slides off. I now have a 16' Swift Mattawa, rigged for solo or dual paddling, went a bit overboard on it. Just 37lbs, which I truly appreciate. Also used to own a 10' Hornbeck, a solo boat, weighed 15lbs. A suggestion, have skid plates put on both ends to prevent damage.

The Swift;

 
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Tanton

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Apr 25, 2010
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Hey Chilehead,

I have a 17' Penobscot on the rack (needs new seats and thwart). For a family canoe I would probably look for something else. I feel the Penobscot is somewhat "tippy". Loaded with full camping gear, the canoe seems to become much more stable. It can be somewhat challenging with people moving around in the boat.

I also have a 15' Discovery, (in the water), I believe. Small boat, but this is what we mostly use now. This canoe is considerably more stable. I do think they make a 17' model maybe.

Anyway, you are welcome to try them out. If you wanted to put in some temporary seating, you could take the Penobscot with you for a few weeks.

You could try the Discovery here.

I'm in the Medford area.

PM me if this would help.

Tan
 
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manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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If your looking for a long ride the best Cumberland County has to offer would be Menantico Ponds wma.it's a maze of old sand ponds attached to Menantico Creek.there are ponds above and below the trestle (trestle must be lined under) and you can follow the creek downstream to the Maurice but upstream as well since I hear it's being kept clear nowadays as well.There are also some nice landlocked blue holes on the other side of the dirt rd in also in the wma.It's gorgeous and turtles can often be seen swimming below.most ponds are clear but as you apporach the stream they darken up like a cedar water pond
 
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Toothy Critter

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Manumuskin has great advice. Don't forget tidal rivers, but be aware of tide charts. Wading River, below Beaver Branch opens to a rarely traveled part of the river downstream from where most people take out. Also The Forks gives access to the Batsto and Mullica down to Crowleys and back. There is a Web page that will give exact tides for tons of locations. As with Menantico Ponds, these waters are TIDAL and can be tricky, but also a seldom traveled trip.
 

manumuskin

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Toothy when I used to canoe the wading I"d do from Speedwell to beaver Branch and take out there but then I found Charcoal landing on the topo and went to see if I could drive there and I could! I started taking the extra 45 minutes to take out there and yes below Beaver Branch it's tidal and it"s a gorgeous trip.I never went below that.At Charcoal the water is still fresh but I could see the River really widening out and mud flats starting to appear.
 

Toothy Critter

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I have a Jon boat w/ trolling motor. I would NEVER attempt to traverse even the slow pine streams and go upstream What I do is study charts. that have many listings for brackish areas without having to do the + or - calculations. I ride the current downstream during the ebb and putt back upstream to my launch site during the flood tide which renders these parts of the river virtually motionless, and no doubt a breeze to paddle The Wading river below Beaver Branch is almost inaccessible all the way to the Mullica, except for Chips Folly (Nancy will let u launch for a bottle of San Gria:)) But from Beaver Branch u can use the tides to virtually travel the whole river to the Mullica. Same thing from The Forks.And from boat launch at Manantico . The water between the ponds RIPS at dead low though. AND if u are a fisher person....AYE YI YI Monster Toothy Critters, white perch, even striped bass
 

manumuskin

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I have a Jon boat w/ trolling motor. I would NEVER attempt to traverse even the slow pine streams and go upstream What I do is study charts. that have many listings for brackish areas without having to do the + or - calculations. I ride the current downstream during the ebb and putt back upstream to my launch site during the flood tide which renders these parts of the river virtually motionless, and no doubt a breeze to paddle The Wading river below Beaver Branch is almost inaccessible all the way to the Mullica, except for Chips Folly (Nancy will let u launch for a bottle of San Gria:)) But from Beaver Branch u can use the tides to virtually travel the whole river to the Mullica. Same thing from The Forks.And from boat launch at Manantico . The water between the ponds RIPS at dead low though. AND if u are a fisher person....AYE YI YI Monster Toothy Critters, white perch, even striped bass
My best friends dad caught the state record bass in menantico Ponds in 1980 https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/reclmbass.htm it still stands
 
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NJChileHead

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Dec 22, 2011
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Thank you all very much for the recommendations!

46er, that's a gorgeous canoe. 37 lb sounds like a dream. I won't ask the price tag!

Al, I'd like to give Menantico Ponds a shot one day. Let me know if you'd like to join.

Tanton, that is a really generous offer and I appreciate it very much. It speaks to how good the people are on this forum (something I've been saying for a very long time). I actually ended up in a kayak yesterday and it's brought me to reconsider whether I want a tandem kayak or a canoe at this point. We're not going to be doing any very long trips for right now, no canoe camping and no need to carry a lot of gear, and I'm thinking no serious portages on our outings, so I may opt for the tandem kayak at least for now. I'm going to give it some thought this week and if I decide to take you up on it I'll pm you. Thanks again!

Any comments from anyone on ease of storing kayaks vs. canoes? I understand that canoes must be stored specially supported to prevent warping-is it the same with kayaks? I was originally going to put mine on sawhorses in the garage until finding out about the risk with the canoe.
 

46er

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I was originally going to put mine on sawhorses in the garage until finding out about the risk with the canoe.
I have always stored my canoes on a 2x4 bracket I built on the wall of the garage. You can buy them that fold up when not needed that work the same way. Boat is stored upside down on the gunnels, keeps the dirt out and gear, paddles & lifejackets, are stored inside it. You can see it in the picture. A sawhorse would work fine. Never owned a kayak, but most I have seen are stored on a web strap that conforms to the hull shape.



Some good info on both types of boats;

https://www.rei.com/learn/c/paddling
 
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manumuskin

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I"ve always just flipped my canoe over against a tree and have had it since the age of sixteen but then again it's aluminum and has proven indestructible.had it wrapped around a rock once.took it home and jumped up and down in it and it's good as knew.Wish someone could do that to my back.Jump up and down on me and I"d be good as new!Not Happening:-(
 

Zach McGarvey

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Little known fact but the Menantico Ponds used to have a rail spur, and small switching/loading yard for sand cars. It teed into the main line slightly southeast of the boat launch and ran northwest, crossing what is now the access road and terminating just south of 49. You can see its remnants, now just a straight dirt road. Just east, another rail spur at one time ran north, actually crossing 49 and ending at a gravel pit, now operated by Dunrite, off Mays Landing Rd. Not much left of that one, except a guardrail installed as a gate where it crosses 49, and an obvious former railroad right of way on the property parcel maps.
 

Teegate

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