This was about my fifth trip on the Pearl River at Jackson. Put in at the Boat ramp at the spillway around 7am. Plenty of parking at that time and no fee required. Lots of bank fisherman fish along the spillway so unfortunately there is a lot of litter and the water is pretty nasty. Once you get a couple of hundred yards downstream you are out of it and when you finally dodge the last cork, you feel like you are finally underway.
Not long after you make the first bend in the river, it gets really scenic and peaceful. Saw both whitetail deer and raccoons at water's edge at different points. Really hard to believe that there are neighborhoods and strip malls just a few hundred yards from the western shore all along this stretch of river. Despite this proximity I have always been pleasantly surprised by how quiet it is on the river. Saw 5 gators in all, but the biggest was only about 6 feet, none getting any closer than 30 yards from my kayak. Water level that morning was officially 3.67ft. Dragged bottom only once, and that was only soft silt for you privileged composite/fiberglass kayakers. Current almost non-existent at that level so be prepared to paddle the whole way.
Lots of white sandbars at every turn, so you can plan your stops on time, instead of specific places. Very little shade on the river, so make sure you take plenty of sunscreen and water with you.
Took out at the boat ramp at LeFleur's Bluff state park, approximately 11 river miles. Took about 3 hours and 15 minutes with a couple of short breaks on sandbars. Really an enjoyable half day and would recommend to anyone who owns or could borrow a basic recreational kayak.
Spillway has a concrete boat ramp and free parking. Take out at LeFleur's Bluff has day park areas with bathroom facilities as well as overnight area with both primitive campground as well as full RV hookups and public bathrooms with showers. Minimal fees required.
None at Spillway. Minimum at state park.
Put in is at Ross Barnett Reservoir at Spillway Road, which is accessible from I-55 from the east and Highway 25 from the west.
Take out at at LeFleur's Bluff state park off Lakeland Drive close to I-55.
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)