Shepherd Spring

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garydroze
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Shepherd Spring

Post by garydroze » Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:01 pm

Here's a few questions that boldly reveal my ignorance:

Is Shepherd Spring actually fishable? Anybody fished all the way to it, or are you out of redfish environment well before you get there? Similarly, can Spring Creek produce now far enough up such that motorboats fear to venture?

You can tell I'm desperate to go someplace with warmer water or holes that doesn't also attract yahoos who nearly swamp me while ignoring "No Wake" signs on the upper St Marks. That was my introduction to river kayak fishing last month! Being routinely buzzbombed while pulling in scores of dink trout was aesthetically far less pleasant than getting blanked while wading my pet refuge creeks...in solitude...

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bk
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Re: Shepherd Spring

Post by bk » Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:06 pm

gary. i've never caught anything up near the spring itself, but i have caught some fish on the way there. too shallow up those creeks for boats, but not for airboats as i learned a couple weeks back.
"i said flotation is groovy and easy. Even a jellyfish would agree to that." - jimi

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ShallowMinded
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Re: Shepherd Spring

Post by ShallowMinded » Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:36 pm

About a month ago with almost no preparation, very poor weather, faulty GPS coordinates, one Snickers bar and tons of enthusiasm my brother (who wishes to remain annonymous because he has a real job) and I set out in search of the fabled spring. Launched from W.B. obviously and then paddled and paddled and paddled and paddled .... When it got too shallow we walked. when there were deadfalls blocking the way we went under over or around. We were brothers and determined. As the creek got more narrow we debated leaving our rods because of the risk of breaking them. The creek turned warmer and clearer and smaller. We eventually came upon a tree blocking the way that was so big there was just no way so we did what any intelligent person would do. We tied the yaks to the tree and started slogging. You know, weve come so far, it cant be much further, can it. We followed that stupid creek until I expected to see Interstate 10. When we finally came to a creek crossing our path good sense set in and we decided to declare victory and withdraw. I aint crossing water while "almost" lost in the woods. Especially those woods.
If and I say if we were on the trail to Shepard Spring then I can say with certainty that nobody has gotten there by canoe or kayak in several years. As far as the fishing goes.. well it was a hell of a trip, we must have seen fourty million mullet. Awesome wildlife experience. But hours before you give up it becomes what it is, a small shallow freshwater steam.
On a more positive note I am absolutely commited to walking in to the spring from the Fl trail just so I can see how close we really were. My honest guess is that we were within a couple of hunred yards AND that we did the right thing by getting the Hell out of there when we did. Does anyone have personal GPS on this? I mean "I've been there and this is it GPS.

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bk
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Re: Shepherd Spring

Post by bk » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:04 pm

great read, sm. thanks for taking the time to share the experience.
"i said flotation is groovy and easy. Even a jellyfish would agree to that." - jimi

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Charles
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Re: Shepherd Spring

Post by Charles » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:25 pm

I've been there lots of times, but never with a GPS. Sounds to me like you were almost to it, SM.

The easiest way I can tell you to get to Shepard Spring is park at the gate on Wakulla Beach Rd. pick up one of their maps (might have to go to the visitor center, sometimes they're out at the gates) then walk or bicycle west on Rd 200. Then turn left on Rd 210. 210 will turn left again and just follow it until you reach the Florida Trail. If you miss the FT, 210 ends not much further down. If you reach the end of the road you went too far. Turn right onto the FT. From there the spring is just a little ways down the trail. Stay to the left where the trail forks.

You can get there from the creek, but the creek becomes impassable; even for a canoe or kayak. You'll have to park your boat and walk in the rest of the way. I have caught bream and small bass out of the spring. I have also seen it packed slam full of mullet when the water turns cold.

When I was in my 'teens we used to take the boats and run from Live Oak Island up the creek, then walk through the woods to swim in the spring. We even backpacked in scuba gear a couple times and dove the cave, and used to squirrel hunt in that area during the small game season.

Take a compass.

Oh, here's a map:
http://www.fws.gov/saintmarks/images/pu ... akulla.pdf

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Charles
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Re: Shepherd Spring

Post by Charles » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:36 pm

Oh, and incidentally; as you're going up Shepard Spring Creek you'll probably run into another spring that's out in the marsh and where the creek dead ends. You should have turned left at the last fork.

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Re: Shepherd Spring

Post by wbass24 » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:51 pm

I have biked there from the info center on WB Road. The Florida Trail runs into this main road. I was up for an adventure and biked my way in on the Florida Trail. Needless to say I was sore for a few days. I also biked to one of the roads where you could see the creeks. I saw three gators from the end of the road where it dead ends at the creek. One of the gators was every bit of 12 + feet. If you do try to yak up there, be careful.

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WannaDoDat
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Re: Shepherd Spring

Post by WannaDoDat » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:28 pm

First of all, gotta say welcome, Gary!! Always loved talking to you up in the wilds of SMWR. Hope to see you out in the kayak sometime! Lots of great areas to explore that are not Grand Central Station!
Thanks to all for the nice write-ups on this very cool area. ShallowMinded, I had been wondering how you and your determined brother did at WB last month. Sounds like it was an adventure and an impetus for further exploration. When I wasn't stupidly chasing down wild piglets through those woods, I would be hiking back to Shepard Springs the way that Charles described. Just an incredibly beautiful hike through a cathedral of palms to the pretty spring.
Last Saturday, I paddled up there with fishbaitbilly and found the same tangle of logs and twisty turns, millions of mullet pouring out of the warm creek, a pelican frozen in the last dive of his life, the deadend creek to the right (where the pelican tree is). We also got out and tromped around a bit and came to the same conclusion as you. Late in the day was not a good time to be getting ourselves lost back up in there. Maybe another day.
Here's a few pictures from last Saturday.....see ya out there! Jean
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By wannadodat at 2011-02-09
By wannadodat at 2011-02-09
By wannadodat at 2011-02-09
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By wannadodat at 2011-02-09
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By wannadodat at 2011-02-06
Last edited by WannaDoDat on Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bk
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Re: Shepherd Spring

Post by bk » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:37 pm

doesn't look like a place you'd want to venture in to without an ample supply of deet. :D
"i said flotation is groovy and easy. Even a jellyfish would agree to that." - jimi

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Charles
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Re: Shepherd Spring

Post by Charles » Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:27 am

Two other things come to mind:

I have found that the spelling of "Shepherd" or "Shepard" depends on whose map you're looking at. I have seen it spelled at least three different ways.

Gander Creek is also a spring creek. It's been quite a few years since I've been up to the head of Gander, but as I recall there were multiple springs. All much smaller than Shepard.

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Re: Shepherd Spring

Post by H_luciae » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:19 am

According to the "Official Florida Geological Survey, Springs of Florida, Bulletin No. 66; 2004. page 313", Sheppard Spring is located at Lat 30 07 31.07993 Lon 84 17 07.80000

garydroze
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Re: Shepherd Spring

Post by garydroze » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:52 am

Wow...amazing story, SM, and cool pix, Jean (and great to hear from you again!). Charles & BK, you gave me just enough info to retool the approach plan. I also went on CaveAtlas.com to confirm the WB route. Looks fairly straightforward. On Sunday, gonna jerryrig a homemade yaktrailer to my bike, cycle as far as I can with it, then try to drag the kayak (just a 38 pounder) the rest of the way if the bike craps out.

Even if the plan fails, this should make for a decent workout. If you don't see a report here Monday, it means the 12+ gator got a meal. First one to find my 10' Loon Angler can keep it.

I'm so excited I just can't hide it...

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JT
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Re: Shepherd Spring

Post by JT » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:31 pm

Great read...

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WannaDoDat
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Re: Shepherd Spring

Post by WannaDoDat » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:00 pm

Gary, have a blast out there on your adventure. You're gonna love it! Let us know all about it, ok?

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Charles
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Re: Shepherd Spring

Post by Charles » Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:29 am

garydroze wrote:Wow...amazing story, SM, and cool pix, Jean (and great to hear from you again!). Charles & BK, you gave me just enough info to retool the approach plan. I also went on CaveAtlas.com to confirm the WB route. Looks fairly straightforward. On Sunday, gonna jerryrig a homemade yaktrailer to my bike, cycle as far as I can with it, then try to drag the kayak (just a 38 pounder) the rest of the way if the bike craps out.

Even if the plan fails, this should make for a decent workout. If you don't see a report here Monday, it means the 12+ gator got a meal. First one to find my 10' Loon Angler can keep it.

I'm so excited I just can't hide it...
I suggest doing a reconnaissance trip first. Just the bike and a short spinning rod, without the kayak. Shepard Spring isn't very big. I think you'll find you can cover pretty much all of it fishing from the bank. Might want to wear shoes that you don't mind getting muddy.

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