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Everglades Backcountry Camping By Boat

Looking to plan a trip this winter taking 2 boats down to ENP.  Looking online it mentions that the Chickees on the water are a 1 night maximum?
Does this mean I would have to go back to NPS headquarters the next day to get a new site?  Seems counterproductive as the ride to some of these are 15+ miles.  Possible that one party (the other boat gets Thursday night) and I get (friday night)?

Worst case we will do a ground site that allows 2 nights but I know of people that do 2 nights during peak season with no issues.   We were planning on going for Everglades City (north side).  Any insight on reservations and chickees is much appreciated.  
"He who hoots with the owls at night will not soar with the eagles at dawn"

Replies

  • BK922BK922 Posts: 70 Deckhand
    edited July 2019 #2
    Hey man. It's Ben K. from Stetson. It is one night per chickee, (in peak season). When you check in at headquarters you tell them which ones (depending on availabiltity) you will stay at each night of your trip and you are good to go. Only one trip to headquarters required. Shoot me a message and I can tell you more about chickees and fishing opportunities around them . 
    <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • hunterjwhunterjw Posts: 440 Deckhand
    Awesome thanks!
    "He who hoots with the owls at night will not soar with the eagles at dawn"

  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,925 Captain
    Remember, winter is the season when camping is done in the 'glades so give some thought about which places you want to stay - and have a backup spot or two - just in case...

    In summer (when no one's even thinking about camping ) you'll hardly ever find an occupied chickee...  but all of them are very convenient when one of my anglers needs a toilet while on a day trip.. year 'round...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • hunterjwhunterjw Posts: 440 Deckhand
    Ha! Yes planning on winter - late january/February.   I grew up in south Florida hunting big cypress so I’m very familiar with the bug situation pre and post thermacell era :)
    "He who hoots with the owls at night will not soar with the eagles at dawn"

  • The Cat's EyeThe Cat's Eye Posts: 1,463 Officer
    edited July 2019 #6

    Bring along a face mask in case you drop something in the water at the chickee. The chickee platforms are constructed using wood planks so there are gaps between all the planks. Unless they changed something the so called ladders in front of the out houses have no rungs below the water line, so you will have to use your boat to climb back up onto the chickee unless you are very athletic. Watch out for gators. LOL


    Giimoozaabi
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,925 Captain
    edited July 2019 #7
    ... and everything else... the critters think they own those chickees.... I have two great stories about the hazards surrounding those nice, clean Porta-Potties... that I very carefully never mention when I have ladies aboard....

    Of course there's never a video camera running when you really need one...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • hunterjwhunterjw Posts: 440 Deckhand
    HA!  Good to know!  Contemplating on whether or not to go out of Everglades City or Flamingo.  Looks like there are more chickees by the Flamingo entrance.

    Anyone ever use a hammock to camp on them?  Curious if my ENO hammocks would work then I could set up big screen tent for general hang out.
    "He who hoots with the owls at night will not soar with the eagles at dawn"

  • BK922BK922 Posts: 70 Deckhand
    Hammock works for sure on the chickee between corner posts. Just make sure you have a layer between you and the skin of the hammock. The skeeters will bite right through the hammock material. 
    <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • hunterjwhunterjw Posts: 440 Deckhand
    Ha for sure.  I have the bug net and tarp.  Familiar with bug situations after camping mosquito lagoon and hunting down south.
    "He who hoots with the owls at night will not soar with the eagles at dawn"

  • southerntidesoutherntide Posts: 51 Greenhorn


    I would recommend one of these. Works great on the chickees
  • hunterjwhunterjw Posts: 440 Deckhand
    Yup those are similar to mine.  Mine also has tarp (eagles nest outfitter hammock)
    "He who hoots with the owls at night will not soar with the eagles at dawn"

  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,925 Captain
    that photo looks like Darwin's Place...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • southerntidesoutherntide Posts: 51 Greenhorn
    You are right Bob. Definitely not an overgrown Chickee! haha
  • The Cat's EyeThe Cat's Eye Posts: 1,463 Officer
    edited July 2019 #15
    i once spotted a huge diamond back rattlesnake swimming across a small lagoon not 150 yd's from the Hell's Bay chickee. It was easily 8 ft long and i counted 20 segments on its rattle just before it tried to climb into a flats boat. And like :the one Lemay spotted the in the post below it was 5 inches wide in its middle. It was so thick it seemed that the snake filled itself up with air to float better.
    Giimoozaabi
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,925 Captain
    I've seen a fair number of rattlesnakes swimming along from one place to another over the years (and that's after I wrongly claimed that where we fished you'd rarely ever see a snake of any kind..).   Who knew?  Most of the rattlers I've seen were small ones (both on the water and crossing the road down to Flamingo... with one exception...).

    Then one day in Buttonwood Canal between the bridge and the boat ramp coming back in from a day on the water I spotted a good sized snake swimming across the canal about 300 yards from the ramp and told my anglers "get you cameras - you might get a photo of a young python..."   It was only as we got close that I saw I was mistaken -it was the biggest, most perfect specimen of an Eastern diamond back rattler... I've ever seen.  It was about 8 feet long and nearly five inches across in the middle... My first thought was how much money it might be worth alive- my second thought was how much venom a rattler that size might hit you with on a bite.... so I left the critter alone...

    It was last seen on the lower bank, ramp side, heading towards the boat ramp... To this day I make a point of looking around me carefully whenever I'm there... like I was today... Day before yesterday at the ramp (my skiff was the only one there... in the afternoon) I had a big crocodile surface within four feet of me.... How big ? Nearly 12 to 13 feet long...  The Park really has to get that fish cutting station back up and running... I'm seeing a bunch of crocs at the ramp every day now.... 



    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • johns986johns986 Evergreen CO and Ruskin FL.Posts: 26 Deckhand
    hunterjw, Something to consider, do you really have to be inside the national park? Plenty of good fishing outside and all around the park without having to pay entry fees and get a boating permit etc...
    If that is ok with you I would recommend camping at some of the Keys on the gulf side just north of Everglades City where you will be outside the ENP boundaries.  I will be glad to share some specifics with you if this is something you want to do.  Sent me a message if interested.
    1998 Hewes Bayfisher 16 with Tohatsu 90. Ascend H12 Kayak.
  • hunterjwhunterjw Posts: 440 Deckhand
    Sorry for the delay @johns986

    I would prefer to be in the ENP and camp on chickee.  More so a bucket list destination trip with fishing being an added bonus.
    "He who hoots with the owls at night will not soar with the eagles at dawn"

  • seawoodsseawoods Posts: 6 Greenhorn
    I like to go down for a winter camping trip to ENP.  I prefer the Flamingo side in the Winter for 2 reasons.  1. The Shark River and environs are awesome to my eye.  2.  Navigating is a lot easier than Choko on Winter low tides.  Where you stay might be governed by how much space you need and what is available.  Will you all fit on a single chickee?  I prefer the chickees and have liked all the chickees I've stayed at except Oyster Bay due to noseeums.  Middle Cape is a good beach site if its calm and Canepatch is interesting.  Make sure you have enough gas.  
  • hunterjwhunterjw Posts: 440 Deckhand
    Thanks!  Going in February and we have 2 boats including mine 4 ppl.  Looking to stay at hells bay or nearby chickees.  I have eno hammocks and tent so we will  be fine with space.  

    Familiar with camping via boat & bugs since I do on mosquito lagoon.  Thanks again for the help and advice from everyone
    "He who hoots with the owls at night will not soar with the eagles at dawn"

  • hunterjwhunterjw Posts: 440 Deckhand
    Thank you all for the tips and advice.  We ended up staying at the campground as I needed to move the trip to the weekend and also the weather was quite windy. 
    Campground was full friday at 3pm (I did not know you could put a reservation in) so we ended up camping in the open field by Florida bay which worked out fine.   One good thing about the wind was the bugs were non existent.  

    Ran to the backcountry on Saturday and went to hells bay (which was more of a bucket list item to see) then worked way back in the creeks and ponds.  Amazing how remote you can get!  Fishing was slow back there which I expected with the lack of birds and bait.  We stopped and had lunch on the hells bay chickee and then decided to run back and put in it at Florida bay in the afternoon.

    What a difference!  Birds and bait everywhere.  Ended up catching some snook/jacks/snapper and lost a big redfish.  
    "He who hoots with the owls at night will not soar with the eagles at dawn"

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