Paddling Inland: Redfish Lake!


Courtney on Redfish Lake in a skin-on-frame kayak

Courtney on Redfish Lake in a skin-on-frame kayak

Redfish Lake is the farthest inland that the Pacific salmon reach in their annual migrations. It only feels appropriate that in my migrations I come and paddle on this pristine and amazing mountain lake, captured by enormous peaks. My friend Courtney Samway froze with me on this excursion…

So it being about 38 degrees didn’t stop us from setting out over this glacial lake near Stanley, Idaho. At high elevation (6500 ft), the weather hits it hard up there, and indeed it was lightly snowing when we arrived. Fortunately, Courtney donned Goretex snowboarding gloves (my new favorite winter paddling gear), and we had insulated pads to sit on and drytops/suits to cut the wind.

It was worth the paddle. Our kayaks cruised so quickly across the entire length of the lake that Courtney was quite surprised at how fast we made it, having done it previously in a two-man canoe and having dragged it out all day. We did have about a fifteen mile per hour wind, kicking up some decent wind chop, but the Selkie sea kayaks resisted weathercocking well. Arriving at the base of the peaks as we rounded the corner really was something. Those are some craggy impressive mountains!

On return we darted into the lee of the wind on the opposite shore, and paddled in beautiful serene waters. Despite having a short amount of time to paddle, it’s always nice to get out in the winter. Though I can’t paddle every day as I do from May to October, it reconnects me to the water, the land, and ultimately what’s important for my soul!