I finally made it onto the water. After receiving and placing on our boats the non-motorized lake permits covered in earlier articles, we headed out to Cagles Mill Lake with the goal of a long-delayed trip to Cataract Falls. Unfortunately, sometimes a trip just doesn’t go like you expect. (Although, this time it was not due to my lack of planning). Fortunately we had a really nice afternoon of paddling anyway. Due to a late start and some other issues we didn’t make it to the falls, but that leaves me with an additional good reason to go back.
The ramp that is the best option is north of SR 42 on the appropriately named Boat Dock Road. There are three large boat ramps, and parking for a whole lot of vehicles, so access is very easy. Not having been there before I was a little unsure about power boat traffic in the area, but the majority of the power boats were evidently off in the main part of the lake, because we only saw a few meandering around at low speed.
Once we got some distance from the SR 42 bridge and near the channel of Mill Creek it was really calm and quiet. We spotted several herons, numerous fish were jumping, and we could hear a large variety of birds calling around us. We paddled out about 2.5 miles, about 1.5 miles short of the falls, but the setting, nice weather and scenery made for a nice trip.
Speaking of things not going as planned, please remember to secure your gear to your boat whenever it’s practical. A friend came across someone recently who had tipped over and lost her paddle, fishing gear, boat cart and pretty much everything else she had with her. Unexpected things happen, and while you can’t prepare for everything it’s a lot easier to secure your gear ahead of time than to have to fish it off of the bottom of the lake…especially when you’ve lost your fishing rod.