Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by dougeey »

Can this help
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by getchasumairboats »

I may be wrong but i have always heard that most of those lockes are about 9 miles apart.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by Bodean »

ok skinny I'll talk to them :D
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by skinnypockets »

Dougeey, any information will help. I looked at some maps on SFWMD and FWC's websites also. It all helps but I think the best thing to do is make a run down the river and make our own map, that way it will be up to date and have important information about campgrounds and etc.

getcha, I have no idea about the distance between the locks and I think someone said one of them has been removed, here again a day trip will answer a lot of questions.

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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by getchasumairboats »

Yes the structure between pool b and c was removed years back.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by digginfool »

Using Google Earth and following the interesting flow path, I measured approximately 80 miles from Okeetantie to SR 60 lock. You would have to add at least 25% to that for wrong turns, which I'm pretty sure plenty will be made, especially around the area of Hickory Hammock (Micco Bluff?) near Lorida. It wouldn't hurt to have someone who is familiar with that area go along. Just my opinion, but this would make a great trip in the fall after temps start to come down and the water is still up. Biggest question would be stopping points, at least as far as improved campgrounds go. I suppose you could always just shoot for a river bank but then you run into the issue of private property. Looks like something my family and I would be up for, certainly the boy and I if not the wife, too.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by digginfool »

Looking at Google Earth a little closer, there does appear to be a campground that has an airboat trail leading to it on McArthur Road near Lorida and the area I was talking about. It is located in the Hickory Hammock WMA. It is the equestrian center but does not have any facilites as far as potable water goes. I would imagine vault toilets. Airboats and primitive camping allowed, according to the website http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal ... _cl_hickor. I think a phone call should be made to the Okeechobee Service Center to make sure stopping there overnight is okay. It would also be just about the halfway point. You could also use Westgate River Ranch at the northern end if you wanted to do the round trip; Okeetantie to Lorida to Westgate back to Lorida then home. You would have a 4 day/3 night trip.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by Rich Andrews »

I've made the run from the S65 to Max Lacy land a couple times when the water was high. When the water is low,its a bitch to say the least. Lots of swithchbacks,w sand bars, puddle jumpin and a rough ride. If the waters up in the summer time and you find those long stretches of barely wet dollar weed it too sux.

As a side note, some of the old lock tenders are not the friendliest to airboaters. I've had one bad experience where a guy flooded the chamber and I almost climbed the rope to get out. Let em know your in no rush,and maybe toss a water bottle with a 5 on it as a tip. I used to be at the s65 lock waiting on them some mornings when I hunted there.

I also have a pc of land that has a private boat ramp at the end of Lofton Rd on that map if ya'll decide to leave early or need a resting spot...S of it is really boring IMO, but a nice ride on a calm day down to lake O. You can also make a little detour down S if you can find the trail that hops out of the canal into some other state owned land,but you need to climb a bit of a hill to get to it. Wouldn't suggest it unless someone showed you. River acres on the W side offers a little marina,not sure what else they have now,but its another place S of the S65 to pull over at.

The cornwell campground used to have a guy who was there yr round,and he would watch out for your trucks but I think he's gone...a little further N on the E side of the river is Micco Bluff,but it's a crap shot leaving your stuff there as well. It's a dry launch,and sometimes a good long dry run to the river and gets real sticky unless you run the dew early or late.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by CarMotorBarge »

Another idea is that you could put in at the ramp off 98. It is on a canal that goes from Lake Istokpoga to the Kissimmee River and is about midway between River Ranch and Okeetantie. You could ride north to River Ranch for lunch and ride back to 98 the first day. On the second day you could ride south to Okeetantie for lunch and ride back to 98. You could keep gas in your truck to refill your boat. I am not sure if camping is allowed in this park. Not sure what the name is. Maybe one of the locals could tell everybody what it is called.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by getchasumairboats »

Car motor the ramp your talking about is on istokpoga canal It's right on 98
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by Scarecrow »

Carmotorbarge, that's Hickory Hammock boat ramp, if I remember you were there when Bishop led the group from Unity weekend on a ride. :salute:
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by Swamp Parrot »

Rich Andrews wrote: River acres on the W side offers a little marina,not sure what else they have now,but its another place S of the S65 to pull over at.
We rented a place at River Acres from a pilot Friend of mine for 38 days last year, I know the ramp is private, but I might can find the number for the pres. of the HOA there if ya'll need it. everyone I met there was pretty nice.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by Birddog247 »

CarMotorBarge wrote:Another idea is that you could put in at the ramp off 98. It is on a canal that goes from Lake Istokpoga to the Kissimmee River and is about midway between River Ranch and Okeetantie. You could ride north to River Ranch for lunch and ride back to 98 the first day. On the second day you could ride south to Okeetantie for lunch and ride back to 98. You could keep gas in your truck to refill your boat. I am not sure if camping is allowed in this park. Not sure what the name is. Maybe one of the locals could tell everybody what it is called.
That sounds like the ideal way to do this trip.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by CarMotorBarge »

Scarecrow wrote:Carmotorbarge, that's Hickory Hammock boat ramp, if I remember you were there when Bishop led the group from Unity weekend on a ride. :salute:
Yes, I was. Just couldn't remember the name of the ramp. Thanks.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by skinnypockets »

The Hickory Hammock boat ramp sounds like a good idea. Does anyone know if there's any security or camping allowed there? That would solve the problem about having someone meet us with the truck and trailer at the destination point.

If not, I see from the map diggin posted there are several other boat ramps in the general area.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by ffjpowell »

The one day trip with a boat sounds like a great plan. Can mark potential camp sites and possibly safe havens if needed. Emergency boat ramps for the just in case. A chase boat for trip is also a great idea. Sound's like things are coming together.
As far as dates: I am in any time just need ample time to get off shift. June, July gotta tend with heat and after noon rain and wind's, but I don't melt and love the heat, wind not so much. Lol
August is gator season: if we get drawn, but only for a week or so.
September, October: weather will be great but not sure on water levels, not even sure if that is a concern with others due to just a great enjoyable trip.
Either way I am in and looking forward to it.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by BANANA BOAT »

I was near the bombing range when about 25+ jet ski's came down the river. They were moving fast.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by skinnypockets »

I've been looking at the maps at the SFWMD website diggin posted. (maps are at the bottom of their page). Not being familiar with the area it's a little difficult to make sense of the maps, however there's a airboat ramp marked at Starvation Slew Trailhead that looks promising. I'll try to call the Okeechobee Service Center and find out if there is camping there.

When I started this thread I was thinking about a casual run down the length of the river and I would still like to do that sometime. After looking at the maps and google earth, the idea of camping somewhere in the middle and running each direction from there sounds more appealing.

The canals would get boring unless you get into the old river but it looks like some good slews to ride in the area that has been restored, when the water is up.
If anyone knows about the Starvation Slew Trailhead and Airboat Ramp I would like to hear what you know about it.

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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by Bodean »

been pretty busy haven't had chance to get on here but I did talk briefly with my buddy that done the trip and he said he done the trip in about 8hrs down there and back from the locks at 60 I will call him today, and I have put in at the starvation slough ramp and hunted, its a nice ramp but not sure on the camping part? and ill tell you this that if the river is down its very sticky in those switchbacks but its got some beautiful hammocks in certain areas and other areas its not very far to private property, ill have an update later today as far as the trip from 60 to Okeechobee goes
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by skinnypockets »

I called the Okeechobee Service center today and talked with a young lady named Kim Willis and found her to be the one to go to for information on the Kissimmee river. I enjoyed talking to her and learned a lot about the area campsites and ramps.

Kim gave me several options for campsites but the one she recommend is the Istokpoga Ramp and Campsite. It's all new with pavilions, toilets, campsites, paved parking and "host" so we won't have to worry about the vehicles. The only negative is the boats have to be pulled out at night and if I understood her correctly, no dry loading.

Another option is the S-65C ramp and campsite with similar facilities.

The Starvation Slew trail head and airboat ramp requires a permit, (accessible on line), that gives you a access code to a gate. Not sure about the camping there but will find out. If I understand correctly it is primitive camping.

As for the locks, the hours of operation are: week days year round, 7:AM until 6:PM, Weekends, Mar. 1-Oct 31, 5:30AM / 7:30PM, Nov.1-Feb.20, 5:30AM / 6:30PM
and are operated by the Corp of Engineers.

Next week my wife and I will take a day trip by car to visit the different ramps and campsites to see for ourselves what they have to offer. After that a one day boat trip will be next to scout the river. With the information gathered from the two trips we can plan a 3 or 4 day stay in the restoration area.

Thanks to everyone who offered information and would welcome anything anyone can add. I will update as I learn more. Thanks, Rich

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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by Bodean »

istokpoga ramp is a very nice and well lit no dry loading allowed but I have put in all hours of the night without any problems, keep us updated :D
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by skinnypockets »

Bodean wrote:istokpoga ramp is a very nice and well lit no dry loading allowed but I have put in all hours of the night without any problems, keep us updated :D
Bodean, What does the camping facilities look like?
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by Bodean »

its similar to coleman landing the ramp is nice plenty of lights at night also
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by skinnypockets »

Took a road trip yesterday to check out the ramp and camping facilities around the restored portion of the Kissimmee River. Had to do a little arm twisting when I asked Steve Reid to go along but after two seconds he agreed to go so we took the girls and headed south.

The first place we looked at was the Starvation Slew airboat ramp which is primitive and the camp area is 2 /10th of a mile from the ramp and you need a permit and lock conbination to enter. There is a small pavilion and a air boat trail into the slew.

The second place we looked at was similar, (Oak Creek North). A 4x4 is recommended to access the area, (with good reason), and is located right on Oak Creek. The only facilities is the oak trees. A permit is also required to enter.

The third place we looked at was the ramp and camping area at the S-65C lock. Nice place with a single concrete boat ramp and a unimproved launch site for air boats. There's a camping area with a single portable toilet and it's on a section of the old river right off the s-65 canal just north of the locks. There is also host onsite. No permit or gate.

The forth place we checked out was the Istokpoga Ramp and camp area. Best place as far as lighted, paved parking and ramps like Bodean said. There is a double concrete ramp for boats and a separate wood airboat ramp. There's also a camping area with a on-site host about 100 yards from the ramps. A separate picnic area is closer to the ramps with a decent looking bathroom building, (from the outside)! I did not go inside but the girls said it was bad. No lights, no sink or water to wash your hands and dirty! Other than that the place looked good and it's located on a canal not far from river. No permit required here either. Bottom line, if you camp at any of these locations it will be just that, camping!

All the slews and marshes visible from the ramps are rough with lots of willow and heavy growth but looks like a beautiful place to ride and get lost.

I guess the next thing to do is get a look at it from the river.

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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by plumcrazy »

ive been running the river since before they ditched it.. in skiffs & airboats i made a trip with a friend from key largo to river ranch resort when i was 16 one summer in a 60 ft sale boat .. big steam paddle boats used to navagate it over a hundred years ago back before they had roads to get supplys .. got quite a few kin folk laid to rest at ft kissimee cemetary in the bombing range . ft kissimee ft bassinger and other forts were scattered up and down the river and many battles were won and lost with the siminole tribe there. some of my fondest memories as a youngin were camping with my grandpa my uncles and cousins setting trot lines . making smokers out of palmetto frons and smoking turtle gator and fish not to mention hunting along that river.. but like the song says progress came and took its toll and in the name of flood control.... :(
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