January 17, 2010
This was one of the MLK weekend manatee tour trips hosted by Lisa Haskell and Vincent Payne.
Put in: Go past Chassahowitzka River Campground to the public boat ramp. There is a $3.00 parking fee per vehicle. You can also purchase a rough copy of the Chassahowizka NWR area for 10 cents. The put in and take out are the same so no shuttle is required.
Chassahowitzka River Campground address
8600 West Miss Maggie Drive
Homosassa, FL 34448-5307
West Miss Maggie Drive is appx 7 miles south of Homosassa Springs. It will be to the right when traveling south on US19 opposite US98/Toll Rd. that goes to Tampa Airport. Follow Miss Maggie Drive past the Campground to the boat ramp.
The Chassahowitzka River is a large wide shallow river fed by Chassahowitzka Springs and several other springs as it makes it’s way out to the gulf. Chssahowitzka Springs will be to your right about 100 feet when you put in at the boat ramp. Just past the main springs to the left is Unnamed Springs. The web link below gives a good description of all 6 springs and their location. If this is your first time, as was mine, I recommend touring the 3 springs closest to the boat ramp first.
This web link has a map of the Chassahowitzka WMA to get a better idea of the area you are paddling in.
The Chassahowitzka is affected by the tide but the day we were there the wind was a much bigger factor. I understand the depth of the water can also be a factor at very low tide. I was paddling solo in a tandem open canoe and was unable to make it much past the entrance to Salt Creek/Springs due to the wind. Other boaters in the group, one solo canoeist and others in kayaks, sea kayaks and sit on tops made it much farther out. I still had a great day on the river as we say. Being by myself for a while and paddling slow I saw quite a bit of wildlife including birds, fish and manatees. Spending time in and around the 3 springs in the boat ramp area, Chassahowitzka, Unnamed and Crab Springs was also very nice. Bird life seems to like and congregate in the area around the boat ramp.
The Chassahowitzka is another great paddling destination. I highly recommend it. Thanks to Allen Hedden for telling me about this trip and helping us put it together. Here is a link to some pictures taken on our trip.