Hoosier Canoe & Kayak Club

The HCKC Sea Kayak Fleet organizes paddling trips and training for touring and sea kayaks.   We often do overnight or extended trips on Indiana lakes as well as the Great Lake and Atlantic Ocean.   However, we also try to have at least one day trip to a nearby lake every month.  In 2017, we took trips to South Carolina, the Chesapeake Bay, the Apostle Islands (Lake Superior), and Sleeping Bear Dunes (Lake Michigan).    So far in 2018, we have been to South Carolina and we have trips coming up to Lake Champlain in Vermont/New York, the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior, and South Manitou Island near Sleeping Bear Dunes in Lake Michigan.   We will revisit Grayson Lake this fall since that it usually a spectacular trip.    Click here to view a complete HCKC Sea Kayak Calendar

Think about sponsoring a trip.   If you haven't led a trip before, email or call one of the Sea Kayak co-chairs and we would be glad to work with you on your first trip.  We published a Sea Kayak Trip Sponsor's Guide this year to help you learn the ropes.

Anyone with a touring kayak or sea kayak is welcome to join us.  

Trip Requirements:

  • On all trips, paddlers must wear their life jackets at all times while paddling
  • Before joining a trip, paddlers must know how to wet exit from their kayaks.
  • For most trips, we pick locations where paddlers must wear spray skirts and must have fore and aft flotation (either sealed hatches or flotation bags).  
  • For "bigger water" trips (e.g., Great Lakes, Monroe, or the Atlantic), we may require that you have a sea kayak (>15 feet) and that you have participated in a open water rescue clinic before coming.  
  • For advanced trips, we may require participants to have a combat roll and big water experience.

Lake Fontana - 5-2016Eagle Creek Evening Paddles:  In 2018, we are planning to have paddles at Eagle Creek on Tuesday afternoons and evenings from May through the end of September.  Watch the May newsletter for details.

E-Mail List for Sea Kayaking News and Spontaneous Trips:  In addition to scheduled events, we have spontaneous events on some week ends.  We use the Bulletin Board and a Google E-mail list (IND_TOURING_KAYAKS) to let people know about upcoming events.  We also use this list to remind people of upcoming sea kayak events and to discuss touring questions.   Contact Jim Sprandel to be added to the E-Mail list.  

Training: This year we are planning the following classes.    

  • Intro to Paddling Class - this is a 4- to 6-hour class for new paddlers that covers paddling equipment, safety issues, and how to do your basic kayak strokes (forward, reverse, sideways, stop) correctly.  This provides a good foundation for new paddlers.   
  • Open Water Rescue Clinic - Everyone paddling lakes is encouraged to join us in this clinic every year.   This is a chance to learn or practice solo and assisted reentries that you need on open water (when you can't easily drag your boat to the bank).  This is necessary for experienced paddlers as well as newer ones since these skills have to be sharp when you get in a situation where they are needed.
  • Intermediate Paddling Classes - We will have an ACA Level 3 Stroke Refinement Class - this class is intended for paddlers with at least one-year experience since taking an Introductory class. This class will hone your turning skills, your forward stroke, and teach you maneuvers that you will need for handling big water conditions.
  • Rolling - Rolling is the safest and fastest form of Open Water Rescue.   Learning to roll is highly individual and I would encourage you to go to the pool to learn to roll.   It took me 3 weeks before I executed my first roll - some people are slower and some are faster.   Check the Pool Training Page for information.   

Contact Information:  For more information, contact the HCKC Sea Kayak Co-Chairs  Jim Sprandel or Linda Decker.

Upcoming Sea Kayak Events

Sea Kayak and Touring Kayak Trip Reports

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  • October 23, 2017 8:15 AM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    Rather than posting Trip Reports here.  People have started posting SK Trip Reports in the Sea Kayak Section of the HCKC Forum.

  • October 09, 2017 11:27 AM | Jeff (Administrator)

    Weather forecast forced moving up launch time to 4:15 pm.   Partly sunny with increasing clouds temp about 80 degrees and winds south at 20 mph.   Plenty of sailboats and wind surfers out enjoying the wind. Some half foot waves with some capping.  

    Eagle Creek Paddle Pictures

    Since everyone in the group was in sea kayaks with spray skirts and comfortable with the condition we paddled around the southern part of the reservoir. We launched from Dandy Trail ramp heading south towards the dam for a 6-mile paddle.

    The fall colors were starting to show in the trees.  We saw ducks, blue herons, gulls and one osprey out hunting.

    The rain and thunderstorms help off. The south wind help push us north towards 56 street with a few waves you could surf on briefly. Crossing and head back up wind had had a few waves breaking over the bow. Paddling into the wind gave you a good workout with a few gusts of wind slowing you down along the way.

    Jeff Stejskal

  • September 29, 2017 10:03 AM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    On Saturday, Sept. 23, the HCKC explored the Ohio RIver again.   We put in at Tanner's Creek and paddled down stream past Aurora.   My pictures are at:

    After leaving Tanner's Creek ramp, we saw a large barge come by but there was almost no wake since the navigation channel was across the river.  We then paddled down towards Aurora and explored North Hogan Creek which is just east of Aurora.   Paddling the creek was enjoyable since there were several bridges to paddle under.    Part way up the creek, we passed cows who were wading into it to counter the unseasonably warm weather (not a good place to practice rolling for any number of reasons).     

    We found a reasonable beach and had lunch before paddling downstream to the Ohio again.   We then paddled  downstream past Aurora.  However, we headed back after a mile or two because we were no longer protected from the 90 degree weather like we were in the creek.   Fortunately, we had the wind in our face heading back up to Tanner's Creek so everyone felt cooler.  

    I measured the current to be around 0.6-0.7 mph so it was not an issue.   We ended up with about an 11 mile paddle in an area that I've never explored before.   Many thanks to Robert Moore for scouting the trip and leading us on this adventure.

  • July 04, 2017 10:21 AM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    The weather was beautiful for our Lake Michigan with paddlers from Northwest Indiana Paddlers Association (NWIPA) and Western Michigan Coastal Kayak Assoc., The weather was warm, skies clear, some wind, and waves about 1'. 26 paddlers made the trip from New Buffalo down toward Michigan City on Saturday, July 1.

    Many thanks to Dan Plath and NWIPA for organizating the trip and providing us with such a great camping space near Michigan. Thanks to Kayak Kenneth for planning the paddle and weather.

    On Sunday morning, 8 HCKCers launched from Dunbar Beach and paddled out-and-back along the Dunes for about 8 miles near Indiana Dunes State Park. Fun weekend and a good paddling experience. Can't wait til next year.

    Pictures at:  


  • June 29, 2017 8:25 AM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    Trip Report by Jim Sprandel

    10 HCKC paddlers joined us for a paddle on Lake Monroe.  It was a beautiful with blue skies and winds between 10 and 15 mph.   This meant that we could have waves up to 1 foot or so.

    Since the lake level was up, we paddled from Cutright down to Patton Cave where most of the group got out and explored the cave.   After that we paddle up the along the Deam Wilderness peninsula where we had lunch at one of the many campsites there.    We then paddled up to the tip of the peninsula and then about a mile or two into the Middle Fork of Salt Creek.   

    The trip back to Cutright was interesting since we had 12 mph front-quartering wind/waves coming back.    A great day - we saw eagles, an osprey, and the rest of your usual suspects.

  • June 29, 2017 8:23 AM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    Trip Report by Trip Sponsor - Robert Moore 

    Maryland sea kayaking opportunities are numerous.  This first HCC trip to the region was a sampler of a few places along the Potomac River; and several sites in the Delmarva region including Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, Pocomoke River and Janes Island area on Tangier Sound of the Chesapeake Bay.   Eight club members paddled on the Potomac and seven went on to the Eastern Shore.

    The group met at Smallwood State Park near DC on Sunday afternoon.  First day of paddling was at Mallows Bay on the Potomac River.  It is home to numerous shipwrecks, most of which were WW I era wood hull steamers, a steel hull car ferry and various other vessels.  Today the inlet is a marine sanctuary watched over by osprey, eagles and herons.

    Second day we launched from the ramp at Smallwood for a windy morning paddle on Mattawoman Creek.  Later that afternoon the group paddled up river from Marshall Hall to Mt. Vernon.  In George Washington’s era, Marshall family would have offered a ferry service across the Potomac.

    The group drove to the Eastern Shore (Delmarva region) and stopped at Blackwater Wildlife refuge on the way to Janes Island State Park which was the base camp for the remainder of the trip.  First day was cold and windy so we went to the Pocomoke River.  The Pocomoke is one of the northern most cypress.  We paddled from Shad Landing State park and up Nassawango Creek.

    The remaining paddling was launched from Janes Island State Park.  The kayak launch ramp was within kayak carrying distance of some of the campsites.   The state park campground is separated from Janes Island by a canal.  Paddling trails run through and around the island.  The nearby town of Crisfield, Maryland has traditionally made a living off of the water.  People were catching blue crabs and an occasional stripe bass.  We ran across a couple of dolphin pods on Tangier Sound just off shore from Janes Island. 

    No trip to the region would be complete without hitting a local seafood market for dinner and a taste of the land of pleasant living.  Dave Ellis, Mariann Davis, Deb Wilson, Alan Jung and Karen Kyle joined Jill and I on the trip.  

  • May 30, 2017 1:37 PM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    Six HCKC paddlers headed down to Wooster Ramp at Hardy Lake.   Hardy Lake is just north of Scottsburg, In and about 1h40m from Indianapolis.   

    Hardy Lake is not a flood control lake so that it's level is relatively constant  and the shore is more natural that some other state reservoirs.   Parts of the lake have idle restrictions while others do not so that you can play in waves at times.   The lake has a lot of deep fingers where play tree slalom in areas where forest was flooded.     

    We also found a quiet bay and Tony practiced rolling for 15-20 minutes.   A good trip and the weather turned out very nicely despite the forecast.   

  • May 17, 2017 11:59 AM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    Trip Report - Cagles Mill (Cataract Falls) High-Water Trip                                    

    Saturday, May 13, 2017

    On Saturday May 13, 10 paddlers set out from Lieber SRA and paddled up the headwaters of Cagles Mill Lake to the base of the Upper Cataract Falls.    Cagles Mill Lake is a flood control lake and the water level varies throughout the year.   After the rains of the past weeks, the lake stage was at 675’ about 40’ over its normal summer stage.   

    We launched from the road down to the beach since the beach was under water.   The high lake stage makes for an interesting paddle since paddlers can “short cut” all the way up the falls – paddling over the peninsulas that form the channel near the beach and bee-lining where we normally have to follow the bends in the creek.    Most people on the trip had paddled to the Falls several times before and the lake has a very different feel at this level.

    We stopped at the Lower Falls long enough to look around.  Normally, the paddle from Lieber to the Lower Falls is a 6-7 mile trip and we got there in 5.5 miles due to short-cuts. 

    Once there, we paddled upstream another mile to the base of the Upper Falls.   The bulk of the water comes down the Upper Falls on one side and there is a lighter veil across the rest of the falls.   Several people paddled behind the veil away from peak flow – you just had to be willing to get a little wet.  There was even enough room behind the veil to turn around and paddle out where you came in.

    The trip back was uneventful and we had a 12-13 mile day.    Cagles Mill Lake is one of my favorite places to paddle for several reasons.

    • ·         First, it’s only an hour from Indianapolis so it makes a great day trip.
    • ·         Second, the Falls are spectacular.  Most people launch from the Cunot Public Access Ramp off of Indiana 42 and it’s only a 3.5 mile paddle up to the falls from there.    An easy day’s paddle.   However, you have to park along the side of the road when the lake stage exceeds 750 feet. 
    • ·         Third, the lake is a fun place to explore.  There are a lot of fingers and inlets to explore all around the lake.
    The club will have a Moonlight Paddle up to Cataracts Falls from Cunot Public Access Site (if the water goes down by then) on Saturday, July 10.   Watch the July newsletter for details.

  • May 07, 2017 10:39 AM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    Note:  Mariann has done a more complete trip report in the July issue ot the HCKC Newsletter.

    In April, Mariann and Dave lead us down to South Carolina for a week of paddling in the Charleston area.   Dave and I scouted Lake Jocassee on our way to Charleston – Jocassee is an interesting lake about the size of Lake Monroe but located in a much hillier area.   There were 6-8 significant waterfalls scattered about the lake.       

    In South Carolina, we paddled a mixture of salt and fresh water.   One really interesting paddle was going to Fort Sumter at the mouth of Charleston harbor – an educational paddle since there was history, big water conditions, tidal currents, and cargo ships to think about.     We also visited Lake Marion – a fresh lake that is 10 times bigger than Lake Monroe and has alligators!   This lake was neat because we paddled through cypress groves around a series of islands.   Osprey also nested in the tops of cypress trees so they were only 15 feet off of the water when we paddled by.   A great trip – look for a full write up in a future newsletter.    To view pictures for this trip, go to:
          https://www.flickr.com/photos/creekfreak/sets/72157681701392011 (Dave Ellis)
          https://www.flickr.com/photos/merlin3d/albums/72157680135376224   (Mine)
          https://www.flickr.com/photos/96668759@N02/albums/72157681614686521 (Duane Garloch)

    There is a brief overview in the trip in the descriptions of the merlin-3d pictures.

  • April 17, 2017 7:15 AM | Jim Sprandel (Administrator)

    Westwood Park Lake, New Castle, IN
    Trip Report and Photos by Jim Eckerty, Trip Sponsor

    Twelve paddlers took to the water and twelve paddlers returned…always a good thing.  

    While the winds were constantly  gusting to 20 mph, the 80 degree sunny weather ruled the day.  Another plus of the day was FREE park entrance, apparently they start charging Monday! 

    We paddled the perimeter of this small lake and returned to our launch point for lunch and conversation. Doing this trip in the Fall was discussed as we all agreed this is a very pretty lake, especially in the Fall. 

    Several newer members came on trip, with Bob & Kathy earing the distance award as the came from near Cincinnati to join in.  After lunch, three of us decided a second lap was in order so we paddled again in what seemed ever increasing winds.

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Hoosier Canoe & Kayak Club

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