By: Mike Hammond
Several well-known creeks feed into the Caloosahatchee River: Hickey, Telegraph, Hancock and a few other popular paddle destinations. Most paddlers, however, are unfamiliar with Trout Creek. I have to admit, I would probably not have explored this little tributary if it was not for these articles and my desire to paddle the entire Calusa Blueway, lesser known creeks included.
We launched from Davis Boat Ramp early in the morning to see the sunrise over the Caloosahatchee. If you’ve never experienced this, I highly recommend it. Davis Boat Ramp has a concrete ramp and a fixed dock. Parking is limited, so it’s good to have a backup plan in case the lot is full. Manatee Park and the Franklin Locks are also options nearby.
After launching, it’s a short paddle down a canal to the Caloosahatchee River. Havens Island is just across the channel. Be cautious when crossing the channel because it is part of the Intracoastal Waterway. Very large boats that cannot slow down quickly may be traveling through.
After crossing, turn upriver and look for the large Owl Creek Boat Works sign. It is almost impossible to miss and will direct you behind Havens Island, which is a large oxbow island that is surrounded by slow zones.
Owl Creek is not an option for paddlers (a boat works operation was built at the mouth of this very short creek) so please do not get close. Instead, turn right and paddle under the small bridge and you will be on Trout Creek. One of the reasons many people probably haven’t heard of Trout Creek is that this bridge blocks anything larger than a kayak from passing underneath.
From the Davis Boat Ramp to this little bridge is about a 1.2 mile paddle. On a calm glassy boat free day, it is very pleasant. After passing under the bridge, we enjoyed another mile of paddling before it got a bit tight for a long kayak and SUP. Trout Creek lacked much of a canopy and is appreciably more open than Telegraph or Hickey Creek. It almost felt like we were paddling an open mangrove creek since there was a considerable amount of Brazilian pepper with native vegetation mixed in.
While I enjoyed the paddle, I would recommend a few other creek paddles in eastern Lee County before this one. But if you’re looking for a new paddle and access to a creek neglected by other anglers, Trout Creek may be the perfect option. I recommend going at sunrise.