Pickerel Park

Pickerel Park Sun Resort – July 2016


Site #109

We had planned on leaving home on the Friday night and staying at Fifty Point Conservation Area so that we could empty our tanks from the last weekend out and start out empty. We booked a site there for a quick stopover and as usual, it was a decent back in site with three way service. We didn’t really do anything at Fifty Point other than some last minute chores cleaning the truck and getting a few things in order. Of course we spent some time relaxing too! The skies looked menacing and the weather forecast was calling for some serious thunder storms, but we never got anything. Not a drop of rain and the brown grass surely needed it! Here are some photos of our site at Fifty Point.

We left Fifty Point headed for Pickerel Park on Saturday morning. I couldn’t believe the traffic heading into Toronto, so we took the ETR all the way to the new Hwy 412 which connects to the 401 East. I’m quite sure it saved us time and a lot of aggravation! After a fuel stop in Port Hope to top up, we continued on to Napanee where we took Hwy 41 South to the park. It was a beautiful drive south on County Rd 8.

Pickerel Park Resort is located right on beautiful Hay Bay which is part of the Bay of Quinte. We chose this park mainly for the opportunity to kayak and fish, hopefully catching some pickerel which the bay used to be renowned for! There were no photos of our campsite online, just a park map. I had talked to the owner early in February when I called to book a site and of the suggestions he made, this pull thru, #109 was my first choice. It had two way service, 30 amp and water and a nice level gravel pad. It was located on a corner and was very roomy and grassy. Of course there was no privacy to speak of, but we were okay with that. From our site, you could see and walk to the lake, walk to the laundry facilities, showers, washrooms, park office and pool. Everything was pretty central in this park.  Here are some more site photos:

From our site, a short walk took you to the docks and a boat launch. It wasn’t the launch we used. We locked our kayaks up at the beach and launched from the second boat launch located there. Here are some photos of the waterfront and launch close to our campsite.

It didn’t take long to meet some of the very friendly seasonal campers staying at Pickerel Park. We found everyone to be so friendly and not in an overpowering way. The first night we were there, a seasonal camper from upstate New York stopped by with some BBQ’d pickerel he’d caught earlier in the day. We were talking to him earlier while untying the kayaks and mentioned how we were hoping to catch some pickerel. So very friendly of him!

We were able to get out kayaking a few days at the beginning of our stay and enjoyed some beautiful paddles! We tried to get out in the morning as it became very hot on the water very quickly! Our depth finders showed the bay where we crossed to be only 14 feet deep. We found out later that there were some deeper spots further down the bay. Here are some photos of our time on the water!

The fishing was okay. Dave caught a couple small pickerel and both of us caught many sheephead and catfish. None of the fish were kept for a fish fry, but they were still fun to catch. Here are some photos of the fish we caught while kayaking:

While at Pickerel Park we golfed at Napanee Golf and Country Club, a cute little course in the town of Napanee. It was a hot day, but thankfully there was a breeze! Here are some photos!

Our first two nights at the park we were able to have campfires although there were bans in neighboring counties. By Monday night the township of Greater Napanee had issued a ban and extended it to campgrounds as well, so we were told no campfires! One morning we decided to go into Napanee and fish the river since it was too windy to fish on Hay Bay from our kayaks. There’s a nice park located along the river with a splash pad for kids and access to the river. Between the lack of fish and rain, we didn’t stay too long!

Once the rain started, there wasn’t a lot we could do other than go for a drive around Hay Bay and the peninsula. Our first stop along the way was the “Old Hay Bay Church”, the oldest surviving Methodist building in Canada! I took some photos then was treated to a tour by a volunteer tour guide. I tried my hand at dousing, something that honestly, I had my doubts about. It did work! Strange stuff!

Just down the road from the church was a cairn built using stone from the original home of Sir John A.MacDonald which was located at the site of the cairn.

Also at that same site was a boat launch into Hay Bay. The weather wasn’t nice and it wasn’t our intention to kayak, but for future reference, it was a nice spot to launch complete with ample parking and portable washrooms. We continued our drive along Hay Bay then turned up at South Shore Road to meet Hwy #33. Should you wish to take the Glenora Ferry Service, you’d take this highway to reach it. We followed Hwy 33, or the Loyalist Parkway along the south side of the peninsula with very nice views of the Bay of Quinte. We stopped at a pull of along the way to take some pictures. It was so pretty and it turns out as with much of the area, there was some historical significance at the pull off!

While the wind kept us from kayaking on Hay Bay from mid-week onward, we still spent some time fishing from the docks. Here are some photos of our “onshore” catches!

Sometimes we were graced with some marvelous skies while at Pickerel Park. The sunsets over the bay were spectacular and we were fishing one evening watching a storm across the bay, which never came our way. Beautiful!

Our time at Pickerel Park went so fast as is usually the case with holidays! We did so much and spent a fair bit of time just reading and relaxing. We really enjoyed our stay here, but it was truly the people who made this park and experience as nice as it was! One evening we were just finishing up our dinner and the couple across from us brought us birthday cake. She was celebrating her 33rd birthday! The gentlemen from upstate New York, Jim, took us out on his motorboat for a tour of Hay Bay and some fishing. Just wonderful, wonderful people. We met so many nice campers at the park.

Well, for a review – I was pleasantly surprised by Pickerel Park. We’ve only begun to visit more private parks this year and aren’t ever sure what to expect. As I mentioned earlier, the big attraction to this park for us was the opportunity to fish Hay Bay. We were pleasantly surprised. This park truly shines in customer service. Every time the park owner Brian,  or his wife drove their golf carts by patrolling, or on their way somewhere, they’d always stop and ask if we needed anything and how we were enjoying our stay. The pumped our tanks out twice over the course of the week and never charged us. Delivery of firewood was free and they threw in an extra bag upon arrival.

The park itself was very clean, well laid out, very well patrolled and fairly quiet. Saturday nights seem to be the loudest, but everything quiets down by 11pm. You can walk to everything in this park. The beach is a small area, but many people seemed to just swim from the docks. There is a fish cleaning station, many clean washrooms and showers located throughout the park, a pool, a pavilion, laundry and newly updated docks. The washrooms and showers beside us were cleaned twice a day, every day we were there. As a private park catering to families with younger children, there are always activities planned such as dances at the pavillion, horseshoe and fishing tournament and yes, even Christmas in July.

The campsite quality was great with the pad being gravel and very level. The site was grassy and large with lots of room. The only complaint some may have would be the lack of privacy. No, there are no treed barriers or brush between you and the road. All the sites are like this, but I won’t complain about that. The park added a few more pull thrus near ours with fresh new gravel pads that would accommodate larger rigs like ours. There are shade trees on all the sites, but they are cut back nicely and not interfering at all with the sites. They do provide shade on the site but again, not privacy.

Should we want to come back to Hay Bay, we would absolutely come back here. Pickerel Park was part of the Carefree Resorts chain which was just bought out by Sun Resorts. According to the campground owner, they are always investing money in their resorts to keep them to a certain standard and there are many more park improvements on the horizon. Honestly, I’m not sure how much more is needed here, it’s already a great park!

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If you’re looking for a nice clean, quiet park in the south Napanee area give Pickerel Park a try. You will be pleasantly surprised by the friendly campers and super customer service provided.