Quiet Water Maine: Canoe and Kayak Guide, 2nd Edition
by John Hayes & Alex Wilson (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
© John Hayes & Alex Wilson/Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.
Fourth Machias is a truly wild place. Although the lake is enormous, there are only 7 hunting cabins on it. The paddling on the lake can be tough if there are big winds. If this happens to you, it’s worthwhile to take a hike, or just hang out in one of the bogs and watch for wildlife. The lake generally settles down toward the end of the day. There are four brooks that branch off the lake. Dead stream is wide to start out, and meanders through a grassy area where you might see some moose. It narrows to a part that is chock full of beaver dams. Once you hit the first beaver dam, it's not worth it to go any further (you just hit more). There's a stream on the other side of the lake from Dead that also runs through a large, grassy area. This is much easier to navigate, as it stays pretty wide. It's a good stream to duck into if the winds kick up. Pennaman's brook is largely impassible. The water level's just too low, even for my kayak. It's not worth a detour. 5th Lake Stream is my favorite. In the spring, the water can be somewhat big, and there are plenty of rocks. There were some downed trees last spring that you had to be careful of, but the water wasn't big enough that it was dangerous (in fact, we bottomed out in our kayaks a few times--you couldn't have made it through with a canoe). It's a gorgeous paddle through wooded area. It has some gravel-bottomed portions, and I suspect the fishing is probably excellent. Even in relatively low water, it has some quickwater parts that are easily managed, and fun. Where the stream meets Fourth Lake, it widens out and loops through a marshy area. There's a camping spot with a fire grate down the end of the pond that has 5th Lake Stream, on the right hand side of the lake as 5th Lake Stream is ahead of you, just after you pass through "the narrows" of the lake. You can expect to see moose, deer and bald eagles (there’s at least one nesting pair in the area).
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