What do ya do when circumstances temporarily take the 'Salt' out of life?...why ya grab a kayak, a paddle, a fishin' pole, purple, blue and watermelon red rubber worms and head to Salt Springs. The best of both flavors - blue crabs, mullet, catfish (the yummy kind), bald eagles and osprey, manatees and stripers (sometimes), shellcracker and blue gill...and voracious, acrobatic large mouth bass!...some of the best eatin' 'not in the sea'. :grin
I find my peace out on the sand...Beside the sea, not beyond or behind. R.A. Britt
Anyway, I asked mr gl which color worms he would use and he said the blue. The juveniles tore them up, right color, wrong size (too small). When I got to the darker water I switched to the longer watermelon...and it was popular with the bigger boys. Unfortunately for this fella, he inhaled it and I waited too long to set the hook :cry... won't go to waste tho' - got two nice filets and crab trap bait.
As Florida goes, it's not heavily populated, neither is the Forest - that's why domestic and commercial run-off doesn't quite explain it for me - unless the aquifer itself is polluted by such...and the pollution is coming from many, many miles away. The Silver River is in bad shape too - the springs flow (based on observation) is reduced, and downriver the bottom is mostly sand now and some kind of invasive fish - armored catfish perhaps? In the case of the Silver River the greatest damage is further from the headwaters.
That's so cool that you have memories of the area. You remember then the wooden cottages along the dirt road in? There used to be old white 2 story frame house with a summer kitchen out back right on the bank of the Springs - but I think it was moved or torn down a long time ago, some say it used to a be a hotel - was that your grandfathers place?
My grandfather's place was right next to "Cactus Jacks" bar in the tiny town of Salt Springs. Crappy location but my grandmother was friends with Cactus Jack himself for years. Somehow my grandmother never had a drivers license and just relied on friends from the VFW to get her around or take her grocery shopping and such. I can't even imagine, but it's a testament to how different things used to be. Raising 6 kids on the military stipend from a deceased husband didn't leave a lot of cash for anything frivolous whatsoever. That woman sure could cook too!
We lived at the old fire tower site on the hill where 316 and 19 intersect, for five years - back then there was Angel's Garage, a laundromat, and Salt Springs Restaurant. I would make the trip to town (30 miles) twice a month - yes, I did drive a car.
Fyi - 3 Kings Crab Traps makes very good and reasonably priced traps, for both stone and blue crab. We've bought several from them.
I want to try kayak fishing on Lake Kerr next - but they have special regulations for black bass so it will be difficult to catch a keeper. Which is fine.
Also if you haven't fish the Oklawaha since the draw down you are really missing something. We have been killing the specs, war mouth, and butter cats all winter long. Not to mention it's the most scenic river I've had the pleasure of navigating, beautiful part of Florida.
But if Rodman Dam was removed where would all those bass fisherman with their high $$ bass boats and bass tournaments go?
Way too much fresh water continues to be removed from the aquifer (permitting, including for bottled water). Greedy, unbridled development (residential housing, shopping malls, golf courses, etc.) with inadequate control of run-off sends a variety of pollutants into the waterways. Many studies have shown that agricultural operations are also contributors but are NOT the main culprit.
The abysmal lack of coordination and long-term planning amongst city, county, state (water management districts which have become a political farce) and federal agencies along with a horrendous lack of appropriate funding for abatement/correction is destroying one of Florida's greatest natural resources - along with our freshwater drinking supply.
And tourism is supposedly one of Florida's biggest industries?
I fished Rodman recently during the drawdown. Caught a six pound bass on a cane pole and a live well full of specks. I really like winter time fishing out there and even more so during a drawdown!
"Ironically (and sadly) when the dam was built to create Rodman Reservoir (for recreational fishing) was "the beginning of the end" of the quality of the springs and rivers in and near Ocala National Forest."
So...the dam affects all of the springs and rivers near ONF? - emotionally interesting, but where's the data...
Yes , we were in high $$ bass boats. All fish were released into the spring , several over 6lb.
Kayak elitist....angry at everyone...only their carbon doesn't stink...:thumbsup
Rodman Dam on the Ocklawaha River is the only dam in the nation without even an alleged purpose. It is a 44-year-old vestigial appendage of what, in the words of Carl Buchheister, Audubon’s president from 1959 to 1967, would have been “one of the greatest boondoggles ever perpetrated.”
Like most manmade impoundments in the South, the reservoir exploded with bass in its early years, then started dying, choking on the rich biomass of decaying timber and forest duff. In 1985 the oxygen-swilling stew of bacteria and rotting vegetation killed an estimated 8.5 million fish; three years later it killed an estimated 2.5 million. Rodman defenders tell me major fish kills don’t happen anymore, but Karen Ahlers says they’re just not reported. “Two years ago we [the Putnam County Environmental Council] discovered a big gizzard-shad kill,” she told me. “The lock tenders wouldn’t let our guy take photos.”
Since 1971 the sole justification for the dam has been bass-boat traffic and bass tournaments—not bass fishing itself. It’s all about going fast in absurdly overpowered boats. The dam and lock shut out most endangered manatees, and if they get back into the system in big numbers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service might insist on speed limits. If all you want to do is catch bass, you’ll have better luck floating the Ocklawaha or St. Johns or driving to some of the 200,000 acres of natural lakes within 25 miles of the reservoir. “The impoundment duplicates something we have a tremendous amount of,” says Audubon’s Charles Lee. “And the dead river under it is something that’s comparatively scarce.”
While the reservoir has provided additional habitat for some very common fish (including such aliens as tilapia and armored catfish), it has eliminated or harmed many more species than it has helped. In the middle of the reservoir we saw a mullet leap. A few make it through the lock, but they’ve basically been shut out of the system. They used to swarm up into Silver Springs, grazing on algae and surface scum, thereby removing some of the nutrients that now degrade water quality there and in the river.
The dam also blocks the migration of American eels, American shad, channel catfish, white catfish, Atlantic sturgeon, and endangered shortnose sturgeon. And it has extirpated most Florida-strain striped bass from the state by denying them access to their primary spawning habitat—the Ocklawaha and Silver rivers. Now the only stripers in the entire St. Johns system are non-reproducing, northern-strain hatchery fish.
Blue Spring is one of at least 20 springs destroyed by the dam. Not only are they inundated but the weight of water suppresses the flow that used to maintain water quality in the St. Johns system. These springs and Silver Springs provided important cold-weather refuge to manatees, now endangered. All but a few that slip through the lock are eliminated from the reservoir and upper river. Springs still accessible to manatees elsewhere in Florida are drying up as groundwater is diverted for human use. So manatees increasingly depend on heated outfall from power plants. But some of these sources are drying up, too, as plants shift to closed cooling systems. According to Katie Tripp, director of science and conservation for Save the Manatee, a restored Ocklawaha would “provide hundreds and hundreds of manatees with winter habitat and get them away from artificial, unreliable sources of warm water.”
Always weird to see Ft McCoy mentioned in the world. My Gf's Family has a lake house down 315 about 7 miles. We watched the movie "The Purge" one night and Ft McCoy is where the fake CNN broadcast was comin from. Talk about surreal....
20th Annual Save Rodman Reservoir Tournament - April 16th, 2016
A partial restoration scenario, proposed by DEP and endorsed by the environmental community, involves…
The focus of management efforts and funding will be shifted from having to maintain the dam and lock structures and control aquatic weeds, to creating and enhancing recreation facilities and nature-based tourism opportunities. New recreation and boating facilities are proposed by the state. Recreation opportunities in the restored area will expand from just boat fishing to include bank fishing, canoeing, camping, hunting, and hiking.
Restoration will provide increased black bear habitat and a more direct north-south corridor through Ocala National Forest to forests north of the Ocklawaha all the way to Osceola National Forest and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
For the first year or two, the river will have excellent fishing because of the many fish that will move into the channel as the pool is slowly drained. The river will then return to pre-impoundment conditions, and will continue to provide the excellent fishing for which it has long been famous. Migratory fish will again be able to move freely upstream, increasing the diversity of fish in the Ocklawaha.
Manatees are also expected to travel their historic pathway up the Ocklawaha River. They will have free access to significant sources of warm water, such as the Silver River, and better access to potential warm water refuge sites, including Blue Springs, long hidden under Rodman Reservoir. Removal of Rodman Dam and closure of Buckman Lock will also eliminate the greatest known sources of manatee mortality in this area.
The combined efforts of river preservation and restoration will make the Ocklawaha River a self-sustaining natural resource once again. The resource will be all the more valuable because it will require no large inputs of money for maintenance.
Numerous state and federal studies of the restoration issue have been conducted and all support restoring the Ocklawaha River by draining Rodman Reservoir. As the population of Florida continues to increase, the Ocklawaha River will become ever more valuable as a recreational and ecological resource.
Whenever I start to brood about the seemingly never-ending battle to restore the Ocklawaha River, I have to remind myself of the inevitability of water.
Water is the ultimate irresistible force. A tiny bit of frozen water will crack a mighty granite boulder like a walnut. The relentlessness of moving water reduces mountains to canyons.
Water always wins in the end.
And so, the Rodman Reservoir doesn't stand a chance in the long run.
The Ocklawaha River will run wild and free again one day.
To join with the St. Johns River.
On its way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Given time. And patience.
But really, who has that kind of patience?
Half a century ago the Ocklawaha was bottled up to make a navigable passage for barge traffic that never arrived.
Four decades ago, Richard Nixon pulled the plug on one of the great economic and environmental boondoggles of modern times — the Cross Florida Barge Canal.
To this day, the reservoir — really a wide, shallow dish of stagnating water — serves no useful purpose other than as a tax-supported fishing hole for bass fishermen who don't know or don't care that the Ocklawaha was itself an angler's paradise before it was imprisoned.
Congress long ago washed its hands of the matter. The barge canal's original supporters are mostly dead and gone.
Since Reubin Askew, Florida governors have urged the state Legislature to stop squandering taxpayer money on a structure that continues to deprive the ailing St. Johns River of a healing infusion of fresh water.
But it is a tribute to the political prowess of the recreational fishing lobby — and perhaps the Palatka Chamber of Commerce — that normally tight-fisted lawmakers continue to throw money at the Rodman.
The reservoir exists in violation of the Endangered Species Act. It illegally sits on federal land. The state has no permit to operate it. Litigation has sought to force the feds to get off their duffs, follow the law and evict the Rodman.
And still, no politician, no bureaucrat, no judge has stepped up to end this environmental and economic farce.
So, maybe it's time to give the “bidness” folks a crack at it.
Last week, it was announced that the Jacksonville Port Authority, the city of Jacksonville and the JAX Chamber of Commerce have all agreed to push for the defunding of the Rodman Reservoir and the breaching of its Kirkpatrick Dam.
To be sure, hard-headed business types and politicos in that big city at the mouth of the St. Johns have not suddenly become environmental crusaders. These are the same folks whose relentless overpumping has all but drained the Suwannee River Valley.
Rather, this is an act of pragmatism writ large.
Jacksonville wants to deepen its port to accommodate more and bigger shipping traffic. But the advocacy group St. Johns Riverkeeper is threatening to fight the dredging in court. To try to keep that from happening, Jacksonville is willing to lobby to breach a dam located far upriver — out of sight and out of mind.
And who knows, it might even work.
“The fact that the chamber of commerce is stepping up and taking a proactive view of the St. Johns River's health is a really, really important piece of this conversation,” Mark Middlebrook, of the St. Johns River Alliance, told the Florida Times Union earlier this month. “When you look at all the efforts in the past, we had agencies, we had nonprofits, we had stakeholders, but we never really had the business community engaged in the health of the river.”
There is a certain historical irony at work here. Back in the day, business interests in Florida's “Bold New City of the South” were enthusiastic backers of the Barge Canal.
Indeed, it might even be argued that the boondoggle was sired in the board room of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.
But that was then. This is now.
Strange bedfellows to be sure. But maybe this unlikely alliance will finally be able to swing enough weight to force the dam to give way.
Not as irresistible as the weight of water, perhaps. But maybe a tad faster.
Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca, who strives for accuracy and honesty, worships zealously a more natural Ocklawaha River Valley that includes the restoration of the 56 river miles from Silver Springs to the St. Johns as a free-flowing stream. He is a member of NO environmental organization but volunteers his Ocklawaha experience, observations, research, & sources to groups that share his zeal for this old crooked river. Ocklawahaman has fished, hunted, & explored the Florida outdoors since 1962. More of his outdoor time has been spent in the Ocklawaha River Basin than anywhere else.
It could very well be the saddest sign in all of Florida.
Small and attached to a tall, nondescript pole, it tilts at an angle as it marks what’s about 15 feet below.
It simply reads: “Historic Ocklawaha River Channel.”
The Ocklawaha was once one of the most beautiful rivers in Florida.
It attracted residents and people from far away, including celebrities and dignitaries, as it twisted and turned through a lush, forested floodplain.
Then we humans destroyed 16 miles of that hallowed river and flooded 10,000 acres that once stood at the pinnacle of Florida’s natural beauty.
The Rodman dam was built as part of the Cross Florida Barge Canal, an economic boondoggle and potential environmental disaster of epic proportions.
The canal was never completed, but the dam and the pool it created has remained for more than four decades, continuing to drown that section of the Ocklawaha while serving no legitimate purpose.
The river’s channel can be seen now because the pool has been lowered as part of drawdowns every three or four years that are necessary to control the aquatic vegetation that can choke part of the pool and leave a stinking mess.
But this month, the drawdown, which began in November, will end, and the pool will begin filling back up.
The river’s channel will be lost to the pool once again, marked only by the single sign that no longer will be so high above the water as it heralds its sad message.
It’s difficult to grasp what’s beneath that pool of water if one hasn’t been there during a drawdown.
I first saw it in 2012, and I visited again in January, both times with Karen Chadwick and Karen Ahlers, long-time advocates for breaching the dam and restoring the Ocklawaha to its glory.
Most startling even after two trips there are the miles of ghost trees — the remnants of giant cypress trees and palms — that emerge as the water level is lowered and stand as haunting testimony to what was destroyed.
Some of the cypress were so large that several people can huddle in their now hollowed out trunks.
Then there are the springs, perhaps as many as 20, that were covered by the pool, some of them now flowing clear and beautiful, recreating the spring runs that fed the Ocklawaha, which will be lost once again as the pool is refilled.
Just as overwhelming is the wildlife that flocks to the re-emerging wetlands of the drained pool — ibis, wood storks, herons, egrets, bald eagles.
And nature proves it can quickly heal itself as vegetation and trees begin to rejuvenate in the few months that the pool is drawn down, only to be drowned again by the rising water.
As Chadwick navigated her boat along the twisting channel, it wasn’t just the cold January wind that took one’s breath away, so did the startling images of beauty lost and beauty that could be reborn if given the chance.
Florida is making a massive effort to restore the Everglades, another of the state’s natural wonders that has been treated so shabbily in the name of progress and profits.
The Kissimmee River, its winding, natural course straightened in the name of flood control, is being restored.
Breaching the Rodman dam and making the Ocklawaha River whole again is a prize that would equal if not surpass both of these worthy projects.
There should be no more excuses.
Neither the bass anglers who complain the loudest about restoring the Ocklawaha nor the elected officials in Putnam County who cater to them have the right to deprive Florida of the treasure the Ocklawaha can become once again.
The drawdown shouldn’t happen just every three or four years.
Make it permanent and render that sad sign obsolete.
Found this to be interesting though...
My posts are my opinion only.
Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for. Will Rogers