Grin and Big Bear It!

Canoeing Big Bear Lake

Summer in Big Bear means only one thing: Get out on the lake! The best way, of course, is to rent a canoe, so you can paddle, sightsee, and rekindle summer camp memories all at the same time. If you pick up your canoe at Captain John’s Marina in Grout Bay, you’re near Stanfield Marsh Wildlife and Waterfowl Preserve, a prime birding spot. Loons, geese, ducks, coots, gulls, herons, and egrets all call this section of the lake home, and getting out on the water puts you right in the avian action.

The majestic San Bernardino Mountains will tower above you, their still-lingering snow a reminder of how cold the water beneath you is. At about 60 degrees, it is, to say the least, refreshing. The earlier you get out on the lake, the better. Winds start to pick up between 10 and 11 a.m., making the water choppier. The harder you have to paddle, the more you’ll feel the 6,700-foot elevation. Going in the morning makes for better wildlife viewing anyway. Your best bet at any time of day is to stay close to the marshy shore and in protected coves. With 22 miles of shoreline, Big Bear offers plenty of places to explore! Watch for waterfowl gracefully landing on the water while hunting for their next meal. Look beneath the surface for trout, bass, catfish, and carp. It’s a whole different world out there!

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Captain John’s Marina is at 39369 N. Shore Dr. in Fawnskin on the north shore of Big Bear Lake. From Rim of the World Hwy. (Hwy. 18), turn north on N. Shore Dr. (Hwy. 38) and follow it around the lake for 4 miles. Captain John’s Marina will be on your right. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends. Two-hour minimum on boat rentals.

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