Zenfolio | April L. Gustetter | BRADEN RIVER - Bradenton, Fla.

26 photos
Manatee Ave E and 29H St E
Bradenton, FL 34208

Put-in is at the boat ramp on the southwest side of the State Road 64 bridge at the Braden River.

The Braden River is located in Manatee County between Bradenton and Sarasota. It is a slow moving river which may be easily paddled in either direction. Although the paddler will see increasingly more residential development along its banks, in sections the Braden paddler can get a glimpse in to old Florida. 

The largest tributary of the Manatee River, the Braden River is about a 21-mile long myriad of mangrove islands, featuring channels, creeks, flats and oxbows. In 1936, the city of Bradenton altered the river to form Ward Lake and create its primary source of drinking water.

This river offers excellent freshwater fishing for bass and bluegill. So shallow, the dorsal fins of mullet cut v-shape wakes through the surface (easy pickings for the bald eagles in the area). Wildlife includes alligators, birds, fish and even river otters. Winding through braided channels are remote islands studded with cabbage palms and lighter knot pine trees (the source of a handsome wood that Floridians, over the years, have harvested for use in paneling in their homes).
Right next to the boat rampA perfect day for paddlingThe one to the left just scarfed up a fish......look closely at the bill of the one in the foreground as he maneuvers his catch for swallowingStrike a pose ;-)Looking down the Braden RiverA serene Immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron undisturbed by my snapping cameraAmong the flock of Brown Pelicans were a very few WhitesReady...Set...Go!A great spot for fishing, these boys were about to pull in a very nice sized...SheepheadThis Tri-color Heron was on the hunt for breakfast......and just after this little stretching exercise, nabbed it!An unexpected treasureClearly abandoned some time ago, this dingy is now home to a colony of oystersThis Little Blue Heron was very gracious to allow me to photograph it......was able to get pretty close......we were together for many minutes...