Dallas Downriver Club

Date: January 23-24, 2021 Sponsor: DDRC
River: Caddo Lake  Trip Leader: Bryan Jackson
Reach: Goat Island area Phone: 972-979-2519
Difficulty: Flatwater - no rapids * (See scale below) E-mail: FCO@down-river.com

Rendezvous: Caddo WMA Boat Launch 10 AM Saturday

Campground: Goat Island  

Polar Paddle on Caddo Lake


Trip Description:

We will be paddling Caddo Lake and camping on Goat Island. We will meet at the Caddo Lake WMA Boat Launch at 10 am. If you know how to get over to Goat Island, you can join us any time. 

 Anyone interested in this trip should e-mail Bryan or RSVP on Meetup so that that a head count can be taken and appropriate planning can be done in advance of the trip date.


Everyone will be responsible for their own food, although if the fishing is good the chances of a fish feast breaking out are likely. Bring plenty of beverages, but remember - NO GLASS OR FOAM POLYSTYRENE STYROFOAM CONTAINERS!

Directions to the Caddo Lake WMA Boat launch

To Caddo Lake, Texas:

From Dallas:  Take IH-20 East to Marshall. Exit onto US Hwy 59, and then turn LEFT (North). Follow US Highway 59 north to Marshall past US Highway 80. Turn RIGHT on Hwy 43 East toward Karnack / Caddo Lake.  Stay on Hwy 43 until you see the CR 3222 /FM 805  intersection. (about 18 miles) Turn RIGHT on FM 805.  Follow FM 805 to the intersection of CR 3414 and turn RIGHT on Fr Camp Rd. (You will see the sign for the WMA canoe launch). Follow to the Canoe launch. We will be parking at the launch area and will provide more instruction about that closer in.  

Goat Island is about a one mile paddle from the WMA launch. The paddle trail will be marked with reflective markers and we will run hourly guide trips after  between 8 and 11 pm Friday to assist you in reaching the island. 

Goat Island is in the Caddo Lake WMA, so everyone over the age of 17 needs to purchase a Limited USE permit from Texas Parks and Wildlife. It allows you non -hunting access to WMA camping areas. They are available anywhere Hunting and Fishing Licenses are sold or you can buy them on line. 

IMPORTANT - No not purchase your Limited Use Permit until AFTER September 1, 2020. They are effective 9/1 to 8/31 each year, so it would expire before you need it if you did. 

Camping on Goat Island is PRIMATIVE. There is no water or electric. DDRC will provide latrines, but you will need to bring everything else you need with you and most importantly TAKE EVERYTHING when you leave. We want to keep the island as unspoiled as it is when we arrive, just as we have done for the last 30 odd years when we have been there for Caddoween

There will be no charge for camping on Goat Island other than the Limited USE Permit, BUT all attendee groups will be asked to bring  5 or 6 pieces of firewood for the group bonfire. 


Map to Caddo Lake Launch

* International Scale of River Difficulty

Class I: Easy. Fast moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight, self-rescue is easy.

Class II: Novice. Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed.

Class III: Intermediate. Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid and which can swamp an open canoe. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers. Scouting is advisable for inexperienced parties. Injuries while swimming are rare; self-rescue is usually easy but group assistance may be required to avoid long swims.

Class IV: Advanced. Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. A fast, reliable eddy turn may be needed to initiate maneuvers, scout rapids, or rest. Rapids may require "must" moves above dangerous hazards. Scouting is necessary the first time down. Risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self-rescue difficult. Group assistance for rescue is often essential but requires practiced skills. A strong eskimo roll is highly recommended.

Class V: Expert. Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to above average endangerment. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is mandatory but often difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is difficult even for experts. A very reliable eskimo roll, proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essential for survival.

Class VI: Extreme. One grade more difficult than Class V. These runs often exemplify the extremes of difficulty, unpredictability and danger. The consequences of errors are very severe and rescue may be impossible. For teams of experts only, at favorable water levels, after close personal inspection and taking all precautions. This class does not represent drops thought to be unrunnable, but may include rapids which are only occasionally run.


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Last updated November 3, 2020