Kayaking on Lower Mystic Lake & Mystic River


We recently bought an inflatable 2 person kayak, and have really gotten some good use out of it in the past few weeks. For our first trip, we launched it onto the Lower Mystic Lake.

The Sea Weasel
A view from the middle of the lake, towards the Medford Boat Club (building on the left), the spillway of the dam, fish ladder, and overflow. Our launch point was at the very right of the picture.
Closer Look
A closer look. Spillway is in the very center.

I watched the water pouring out of the spillway for a while, and I was pretty surprised to see that the birds here have such an easy life. Herring get sucked out into the spillway by the dozens, along with a very shallow sheet of water, and end up laying out on the cement of the spillway, frantically trying to reach the edge. Once they fall into the water they will be safe, but the seagulls seem in no rush to eat their fill. Each herring ends up laying out on the cement for at least a solid minute.

Swans on the water.

We headed further down on the lake, approaching the mouth of the Mystic River, where we saw a lot of herring spawning, causing an incredible effect in the water, as if it were boiling.

Approaching a bridge on the Mystic.

This was our first time on the kayak, and honestly, we were a little nervous about what it could withstand. So, we got as far as this bridge, and a little beyond, and then decided to turn back around. We also decided to go without the skeg, which stabilizes the boat. This turned out to be a mistake, because we were all over the place while paddling.

Under the bridge at High Street on the Mystic.

I’ve never gone under a bridge on water before, but I have to say, it was a lot less spooky than I assumed it was, and a lot more relaxing. A welcome break from the afternoon sun.

Ripple reflections on the underside of the bridge.
Bluegill spawning beds.

Once done kayaking, we decided to walk along the Upper Mystic Lake, and came across a lot of bluegill spawning beds. It was very interesting to see that these fish make such an effort in scooping out gravel and sand to create their nests. Beyond this, we saw something even more interesting. We aren’t sure what kind of fish these were, but I did take a video to document it. Fish Behavior in Mystic Lake

Overall, a great day out on the water.


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