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north of the adirondacks – wildflowers & perennials that survive winters colder than my wife's feet

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Posted by WiseAcre on Aug 27th, 2010

Bass Fishing on the Grasse

Aug 27

Grasse River – Pyrites to Canton

The canoe launch at the bridge on County Road 21 (Pyrites – Hermon Rd) is usually more rock than river this late in the summer. For the first half mile or so the river is much too shallow to float your boat. Launching anything but a rubber duck here means wading in the shallow water and dragging your boat behind you over the rocks. But a heavy rain (over 3 inches) the other day raised the water level significantly making this section of river navigable to canoes and kayaks.

Grasse River near Pyrites   Grasse River near Pyrites
The current is swift but running the ‘rapids’ here is easy. The water depth was a good couple of feet. Standing waves marked the location of rocks just under the surface that you could easily get hung up on but were easily avoided.

Once around the first bend you’ll see the discontinued gauging station (04265000), the last records from this station are from 1977. The river settled down somewhat here, the current was still swift but there were few if any submerged boulders to worry about so I started casting about. Before I entered the first flat water section I had caught a couple small bass. Around 7 inch, they were nothing to write home about.

  gauging station on the Grasse River

Harrison Creek empties into the Grasse River just before the old bridge abutments where a road must have connected Barnes Rd with the Miner Street Rd long ago.

Harrison Creek discharge on the Grasse River
the canoe is pointing right at the creek entrance

Harrison Creek

A tree had recently fallen across the creek just above a beaver dam now topped by the high water.

  I could see two barriers as soon as I started paddling up the creek.

Harrison Creek

The creek turned out to be the hot spot of the day. I pulled in 4 bass within minutes of each other in this short section of the creek. The first was a 15 incher, the next was about 13 followed by two 10 inchers. The 5 inch monster got away.

smallmouth bass

After the creek my luck changed. I caught plenty of bass but most were in the 7 inch range with the largest pushing 9 inches. As luck would have it the big fish never took the bait on the Grasse. But that’s no big deal, fishing is only one excuse I use to go canoeing. (as if I needed any)

Canoeing the Grasse River

Owl   By the time I hit this section I still had a good 5 miles left to go before I reached Canton. I’d pause long enough to cast into likely spots, maybe catch a little bass and move on. If I fished the whole length I would not have made it to the takeout before dark. So I paddled easy and took in the sights, the scarlet red of Cardinal Flowers highlighted the yellow blooms of Sneezeweed along the entire trip. Other wildflowers such as Joe Pye-weed and Swamp Milkweed had gone by but the white flowers of Turtleheads were still hanging in there. All was silent including an owl but it’s movement when it did a Linda Blair on me caught my attention. After a couple of quick photos I continued my paddle.

One panorama after another comes into view as you round the numerous bends in the river.

Grasse River - Pyrites to Canton section

Sometimes a little rain must fall.

Grasse River upstream from Canton

This turtle has more climbing skills than I imagined possible. That stump was almost straight up. How that turtle managed to climb up there is beyond me.


The mouth of the Little River marked the last leg of my trip to the boat launch on County Rt 27 just outside the Village of Canton. A few minutes more and my 5 hour canoe journey would be over. I’m not sure how much time I spent fishing, drifting, hiding under overhanging trees to avoid the couple downpours that passed by or just plain goofing off. Even a little Muskrat Love kept me dawdling on the river.

Muskrat swimming

The little fur ball didn’t seem to mind my intrusion so I maneuvered closer for a more personal encounter.

Muskrat - Ondatra zibethicus

This was my last distraction, I did spot some ripe Jack in the Pulpit berries on the bank of the Little River as I paddled by but I didn’t let them stop me. I was wet as the muskrat and twice as hungry and just wanted to get home to some dry clothes and a hot meal.

Use the Google map to follow the course of the trip from the bridge on the Grasse River to the takeout on the Little River

View Larger Map

7 Responses

  1. Marguerite Says:

    Love the new photo in your header. Those fungus are a wonderful shape and colour. Sounds like you’ve had a lot of fun on that river, the muskrat is probably my favourite. I’ve never actually seen one before.

    The mushrooms are Turkey Tails.

    I paid my four bits to see the high diving act and I’m going to see the high diving act…Yosemite Sam

    who says I’m having fun 🙂
    I just paid 29 bucks for a fishing license that will expire at the end of Sept. and I’m planning on getting my moneys worth.

    Glad you like the muskrat. They’re cute once get past the rat tail.

  2. Benjamin Says:

    Ah, reminds me of growing up, taking my red old town canoe on to the Minnesota lake out back, an sitting as still as possible 30 feet from lily pads, hoping for a bass to strike when the lure hit the water. I want your life. Minus the rock hauling you seem to do often.

    I’m not sure you could afford even the basic package. But take some time off your life and I’ll take you fishing.

  3. Stone Art Blog Says:

    Looks like a fantastic day, im very envious!

  4. cindee Says:

    Beautiful(-: Love the owl watching you too(-: The muskrat was really cute too(-:

  5. Ratty Says:

    It looks like a fun trip and a fun day. That’s something I would love to do if the water was shallow enough. I’m a terrible swimmer, so I stay away from deep water.

  6. Lynn Says:

    ah what a wonderful day. We’re not paddlers but I aspire to it! For now I’m going to enjoy a forest hike with the dog.

  7. miss m Says:

    Dreamy !