August 26, 2012

Paddling and fishing the historic Seven Carries

One of the most popular canoe/kayak trips in the Adirondacks lies within the 18,400-acre St. Regis Canoe Area in Franklin County.

It is the historic and very fishable Seven Carries: an approximately 9- to-10-mile pond-hopping adventure that can be done in a day or turned into an overnight camping excursion.

Depending on where you start and end, you’ll visit at the very least seven ponds and endure six carries (most paddlers forgo the last one) that total a little more than a mile.

You’ll also have the chance to try your angling hand on multiple fish species. Brook trout, browns, rainbows, lake trout and splake are all prevalent in different waters of the canoe area. Others serve up some fine bass fishing, as well. A pre-trip suggestion is to visit the fish-stocking pages on the state Department of Environmental Conservation website:

On a recent excursion my wife, Adrienne, and I chose the most common route, which begins at Paul Smith’s College on Lower St. Regis Lake and ends on Little Lake Clear near the state fish hatchery. This is the roughly 10-mile route with six caries. Number seven would be a very short carry from Little Lake Clear to Little Green Pond at the end of the trip. Both of these waters are off limits to fishing because of the brood-stock role they play for the fish hatchery.

We launched at the college around 8:15 a.m. and, after crossing the lake, headed south into the boggy channel and emerged in Spitfire Lake, an entirely private body of water with some classic Adirondack style decor along the shorelines. Ditto for Upper St. Regis Lake, which is connected to Spitfire.

These first three lakes are worth seeing for that Adirondack decor and I was able to catch a few smallmouth bass along the way. However, they are larger bodies of water and have their share of boat traffic. For those who wish to bypass these bigger waters there is a launch at the southeast corner of Upper St. Regis Lake, which cuts more than 2 miles off the trip.

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