Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Family-Outdoors Forum

Family-Outdoors has launched a new experiment on their site. They have put up a forum for outdoorsmen to share ideas, fishing reports, etc. According to the site owner, at this stage they are keeping it fairly simple until they have gauged user interest. He states, "We have in place the capability to rapidly enhance features if it appears that there is sufficient need."

When asked about some of the issues forum operators run into, such as spamming, rude behavior, and off-topic discussions (such as politics), the site owner went on to say, "We will be monitoring threads on the forum and deleting problematic posts, and in worst case scenarios, banning abusers. We want this forum to be suitable for not only adults, but also for kids, and will do what we can to ensure this can happen."

The forum can be found at Family-Outdoor Forum.

Spring and Fall Turkey Seasons

According to Jim Low from the MDC, the Spring Turkey season in Missouri has been set for youth on April 10 and 11 and for everyone else from April 19 to May 9th.

The Fall season has been set for October 1 to 31.

For additional information visit the MDC website. For info on hunting turkey on public land in Missouri visit Missouri Public Land Hunting.

For a great assortment of Wild Game Recipes visit our recipe site.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Missouri Public Lands Hunting

The MDC does such a great job in all respects and their website is also outstanding. We felt was a separate resource where hunters can access information organized by county might be a big help. This resource was developed as much as an aid to us as we do our research on hunting areas as for any other reason. We like to pick a county or two, and find conservation areas that have good species populations for that species.

Of course after choosing an area, we visit the MDC site for that area to check on special regs in place. We do not feel we want to include the regs as they change often and we don't want to mislead someone into a ticket.

This information can be accesses at Missouri Public Lands Hunting.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hunting Mark Twain National Forest

Mark Twain National ForestImage via Wikipedia

General Information

Mark Twain National Forest is divided into nine main areas spread across southern Missouri. These areas make up a total of approximately 1.5 million acres. Approximately 100,000 of these acres are roadless and/or Wilderness/National Scenic Riverways acreage. Hunting is regulated on these lands by the Missouri Department of Conservation, although wildlife habitat is mostly managed by the USFS. Because regulations change, and areas can be redesignated, it is vital to make certain that you know the regulation in the areas you will hunt. For example, some areas allow horseback and/or ATV travel and a few do not.

  • Cedar Creek
This area is approximately 15,000 acres and is the northernmost section of Mark Twain. It is also situated relatively closely to a sizable population center in Columbia and Jefferson City. Having said this, there are some good opportunities here. There are plenty of areas where a hunter can go here where they will not be overrun by others, but it does require some advanced scouting.

There are three accesses with facilities managed by the Forest Service in this section, but there are some other adjoining land public accesses with hunting opportunities. The three USFS accesses are Carrington Pits, Dry Fork, and Pine Ridge. Also in the area is a conservation area including and surrounding Little Dixie Lake and Earthquake Hollow Conservation Area.

The Carrington Pits area is open year round. For more information and maps, call 573-592-1400 (Fulton Office).

Another resource for great hunting opportunities in the area is the Cedar Creek Trail, a trail of total of 36 miles in length. Directions from Fulton, Missouri are: take Hwy. 54 south to Route H; west to Rt. J, south to Rt. Y, west to Pine Ridge Recreation Area. Horse users, travel to Dry Fork Campground, located 4 miles northeast on County Road 361. Or from Columbia MO, take Hwy 63 south to County Road AB (Barnes Chapel Road), left to Ginn Lane, right to Ginn Road Trail Head. A TRAIL MAP is available from the USFS.

Campgrounds include Pine Ridge Recreation Area (includes Cedar Creek Trailhead) and Dry Fork Recreation Area (alternative Cedar Creek Trailhead).
This section is comprised of approximately 190,000 acres. There are also multiple opportunities here. This is really getting into Ozark Country and is made up of hardwood forests spread across rolling hills. There are lots of deer, but they are spread out and scouting, as always, is critical. This area has some pressure, but there are plenty of off-the-beaten-path areas. A hunter willing to work a bit can really have a wilderness hunting experience here.

Included in this area is the Paddy Creek Wilderness Area (approx. 7019 acres) and the Big Piney Trail. Big Piney Trail is in Paddy Creek Wilderness. The total of the two sections of this trail are seventeen miles and provide many launching off points for a truly secluded hunting experience. There is a campground at Paddy Creek Recreation Area with 23 total sites. The Recreation area closes December 1. Also, keep in mind that the wilderness area is a Leave No Trace area. Please follow the tenets of this directive to keep others positive about the hunting community. Maps in various formats and in a variety of downloadable files can be found by following the link Paddy Creek Wilderness Maps. This is through Directions to the area are from Rolla, take Hwy 63 south about 35 miles to Hwy 32 and turn west. Drive 3.7 miles to Hwy N, which branches to the right. Drive 2.1 miles to Hwy AF, turn left. Hwy AF turns into Slabtown Road and passes close to a farmhouse, almost making the road look like a driveway. Continue driving for 7.5 miles until you see the sign for Big Piney Trail Camp, turn left. The trail is often used by horses/trailriders, so be cautious.

The main office for this district can be reached at 417-967-4194.

  • Potosi, Salem and Fredrictown Sections
These are actually managed as two sections of Mark Twain National Forest. They are in roughly the same area and I will look at opportunities in both areas. In the Potosi/Fredricktown section there are two designated wilderness areas. One is the Bell Mountain Wilderness and the other is the Rockpile Mountain Wilderness. The Bell Mountain Wilderness is approximately 9000 acres in size and is in the St. Francois Mountains, and contains some of the higher elevations in Missouri. A very nice brocuhre of Bell Mountain Wilderness area is available HERE (PDF Form). Camping is allowed in the area following the designated rules and the Leave No Trace ethic. There are two trailheads accessing the wilderness. Directions to each are from Potosi. To the FT 12 Trailhead, take Hwy 21 South 18 miles to Hwy 32. Take Hwy 32 West 8 miles to Hwy A. Take Hwy A South approx 1/4 mile to first Forest Road SE Go approx 1/4 mile SE to site. To the Hwy A Trailhead, take Hwy 8 one mile East to Hwy 21. Go South on Hwy 21 for 11 miles. Or take Hwy 21 South for 17 miles to Hwy 32. Take Hwy 32 West for 8 miles to Hwy A. Take Hwy A approx 5 miles South to site.

Also in the Potosi/Fredricktown section is the Rockpile Mountain Wilderness. This area is a bit smaller, but still has plenty of room at approximately 4,000 acres. Trails are more limited (only about 2 miles of maintained trail), perhaps of benefit to the hunter attempting to escape the crowds. A brochure for the area is available HERE. The directions to the area are, from Fredericktown via Highway 67 :south to County Road C, then about 10 miles on C to County road 406. Follow 406 to Forest Road 2124.

The Salem area just south of the Potosi section, is a vast area of multiple hunting opportunities. There are numerous developed campgrounds as well as areas where the hunter can find solitiude. As in most areas of the Ozark Region, the hunter will benefit from a thorough effort at scouting with particular interest paid to water sources.

This section is approximately 150,000 acres in size. Lake Wappappello is on the eastern border of the section of forest and the Black River runs through the area between generally the northwest corner and the southeast corner. As with the other areas of Mark Twain National Forest, there are many private land inholdings within the broad boundaries of the forest. Maps and knowledge/scouting of the area are essential.

There are several forest service camping areas as well as a conservation area or two managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation. One such conservation area is Bradley A. Hammer Memeorial Conservation Area (PDF Format). As of the most recent regulations, it should be noted that regular firearms deer hunting was not permitted. As always, familiarize yourself thoroughly with the state and area regulations for each area you will hunt as they do vary. To access this area, from Williamsville take County Road 417 to County Road 419. Turn right and go .5 mile to County Road 424. Turn right again and go .25 mile to the entrance. It is relatively small in area, but allows primitive camping in designated areas and could be a good base camp area.

  • Eleven Point Section
The Eleven Point Ranger District of Mark Twain National Forest is around 180,000 acres and includes some of the most neautiful and rugged terrain in Missouri. Embedded in this section of forest is the Eleven Point Wild and Scenic River area and the Irish Wilderness. There are numerous methods by which the hunter can approach deer hunting in this area, including via canoe on the Eleven Point River. Should you choose this method, we strongly suggest getting familiar with the sections of the river that are at least mildly challenging. Canoe rentals are widely available in the area.

There are numerous trails and campgrounds in this section of forest. If you will be floating the river, there are several choices. One of our favorites is Greer Crossing. This campground is open year round.

More Hunting information can be found Here.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Winter Trout Fishing

Ok...yesterday did not have the feel of a winter trout fishing day. But, since the rifle deer season starts next week, we decided to hit one of the local non-park trout streams. We had a great time. I thought to inspire those who put the trout gear away when winter rolls around, I'd republish this article my son wrote on Winter Trout Fishing.

David Mann
Many trout fisherman choose to hang up their rods for the winter. That is a shame, because some of the best fishing of the year often occurs in the cool months. You will have to adapt to the conditions however, and that means some of your summertime methods will not w

Fly fishing in a riverImage via Wikipedia

ork very well.

The first thing to remember during in the wintertime is to fish slow. The fish do not need to eat a lot of food when the water is cold, so your lure, bait, or fly needs to appear to be easy to catch. Fast moving spinners, spoons, and streamers are not a good bet now. Generally, spin fisherman will do well with jigs, worms, and other live baits, and fly fisherman will do best with nymphs and wet flies fished deep, near the bottom.

Also, you need to look for different kinds of water. Fish generally vacate fast moving riffles and runs, and spend their days in deep, slow pools. This allows the fish to hold their positions without using too much energy. For this reason, you should focus on slow water, and move past water that has a high gradient. Also, winter fishing tends to be best on rivers and streams where water temperatures are relatively stable. The best waters are spring creeks, and tailwaters. The water temperatures in these areas generally stay comfortable even in the coldest weather, and you will catch more fish.

It is important to fish during the warmest part of the day. Although during the summer you probably spent most of your time fishing in the early mornings and late evenings, you should do the exact opposite now. Generally, the best fishing occurs from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. This is especially important on free-flowing rivers that get very cold in the winter, but it applies on any trout water during the winter.

Another important factor is to imitate what the fish are eating this time of year. Most of the fish will be feeding on nymphs or crustaceans near the bottom of the river. This means that dry fly fisherman tend to struggle. Beadhead nymphs fished deep are often the ticket. Also, this is spawning season on many trout waters, so flies imitating eggs often are best. Although worms and nightcrawlers do not occur naturally this time of year, you can still use them as bait with great success. Salmon eggs are also a top bait.

Although winter is not one of the most popular times to fish for trout, it may be one of the best. Just keep these tips in mind, and you should be able to catch fish even in the toughest conditions. So do not put away your rod this winter.

If you need some ideas on places to go, visit Ozark Trout Fishing for a fairly comprehensive rundown on opportunities in the area.
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Friday, October 16, 2009

One of out favorite places in the Missouri Ozarks is the Irish Wilderness and the Eleven Point River. One enhancement to a trip is a study of the history of the area. This short video will wet the taste and we are sure the book is a great addition to anyone's library.

For additional information on the area and book described visit this Review.

* We are in no way affiliated with the authors or publishers of this book and have no financial interest in the book sales.

Big Spring, a giant karst spring in The Ozarks...Image via Wikipedia

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Ozark Trout Fishing Resource

Probably with poor timing and even jumping the gun a bit, we have gotten off the ground a section at Family-Outdoors devoted to Trout Fishing in the Ozarks. The area will be broken into the sections titles Trout Parks, Freestone Rivers, Tailwaters, and Smaller Streams. We believe that this will be one of the few areas on the web where such a comprehensive treatment of these areas of Missouri and Arkansas and the trout fishing opportunities available. Comprehensive descriptions of the waters and the tackle and flies that will be effective will all be a part of this section.

We hope it will be a highly used and helpful resource!

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5 Keys to Whitetail Success

Regardless of where you are at in your whitetail deer hunting career, there are a few basic steps that you should know or perhaps review, prior to your hunting endeavors this year. If you are new to this sport, these ideas may be new to you. If you are experienced, perhaps reviewing these will be of benefit to you.

1. Scent Control

While this can be taken to any level of extremes, I guess you really cannot be too careful with regard to this matter. Some basic steps you can take include the following things.
• Do not wear the clothes you will be in while hunting until you are heading into field.
• Consider keeping your clothes in some form of scent proof bags until you get out of your vehicle (or camper, tent, cabin, etc.) and then slip them on just as you are ready to head out. Don’t get up and cook breakfast for example and then wear these clothes to the field.
• Remember this for sure; do not wear the boots you will wear in the field until heading out in the field. On that point, it is pretty well established that rubber boots carry the minimal scent of any other type of boots. If you are not in a cold place, cheap rubber boots are fine. More expensive lined (thinsulate is usually the material) boots may be required in colder climates.
• Scent-Lok materials are available for clothing and boots if you wish. Not required.
• Also, there are laundry detergents, deodorants, and scent-blocks available and these may be advisable, but again, are not absolutely necessary

2. Colors

When I began hunting I did not know very much about this and I really wondered. Here's what I have learned, and perhaps more importantly, have experienced in the field. First, do not wear blue jeans. Blue is the one color I know deer can really see. Second, blaze orange is not a problem. No matter what you wear (as long as not blue), deer will not see you if you remain still.

3. Tree Stands

I hunt exclusively from a climbing stand and almost exclusively on public land. Here are the basics with regard to stand placement.

Wind direction is vital. Know the prevailing wind direction where you will place your stand, whether it is fixed or portable.

Always wear a safety all times from ground to ground.

Scout the area ahead of time. This is not optional. You can get lucky if you happen to be in an area with lots of deer, but you do not want to rely on luck. I will expand on scouting in a later section so will leave it at that for now.

Height is important, but you do not need to be 30 feet high to be successful. In fact, for the purpose of good shots, the higher you go, the harder it is to adjust for angle of shot. I often hunt between 12 and 20 feet and believe this is adequate in most all cases.

If you are stand hunting, stay in your stand. Many deer are taken mid-day by hunters who have the perseverance to stay in their stand. An unpleasant reality is that you may need to relieve yourself at some point. Bring a container with you for this purpose. I just use a water bottle.

4. Firearms/Bows

I can only be general here because this article is not designed to address in detail the issues of firearm or bow choice. There are too many variations to detail here. But here are a few commonsense items

Be very familiar with your weapon. Know how to fix minor problems that might arise in the field and deal with them in a safe manner. For example, if you are hunting with a firearm, you will eventually get dirt in your barrel. Have the resources to clean your weapon should this happen.

Put in the necessary time practicing at the range prior to hunting. It is unacceptable to hunt with a weapon not properly sighted in. If you are lucky enough to hit anything, you may very well injure a deer with little chance for recovery.

Practice every safety precaution you can. This is especially true in bringing your weapon into your stand. Do it the right way. Never carry any kind of a weapon as you climb the tree.

5. Scouting

This is not something you should just do if you get a chance. It is part of the hunting process and can be a lot of fun. Do it at least a week or so prior to when you will hunt so as not to disturb the area too much just before hunting.

Look for trails and sign. There is much to this as there are a variety of factors that can make an area look great, but then not yield any signs of life at the time of the hunt. One thing to keep in mind is that during the rut, many bucks do not follow their prior behavior. There is some evidence however, that some bucks do.

In regard to potential stand placement, keep wind direction in mind. Once you have chosen a spot, make sure you have adequate vision of trails and shooting lanes.

If you are hunting a deer trail, consider how deer are traveling the trail. Are you trying to catch deer as they enter or exit a food plot or are you trying to catch them as they enter or exit a bedding area?

Have an entry/exit plan to your stand sight planned out. Use reflective tacks you can see with a flashlight or headlamp, or use surveyors tape to mark your route. This part is critical as your approach may be the deciding factor on success or failure.

Use Google Earth as a staring point for your scouting endeavors. This does not in any way replace on the ground scouting, but it gives you a tremendous head start. Especially for those of us who are hunting public ground.

If hunting public ground, try and scout areas at least ¼ mile from any road, trail, or access point. Believe it or not, just this level of effort will separate you from the majority of hunting pressure. Also, try and have a heads up on the pressure level you will experience for the season you will hunt. As an example of this, there are areas that I will hunt in the Missouri antlerless season that I will not venture near during the regular firearms season.

These basic ideas are vitally important to your hunting success. There are clearly planning issues beyond these that are necessary. Knowing what gear to bring for example, is of critical importance. Knowing all pertinent regulations is vital. Most importantly, keep in mind that hunting is a sport that can be fulfilling without regard to whether you harvest a deer. I enjoy immensely that time I spend in the Fall woods. A deer is nothing more than a bonus.

Get more info at Family-Outdoors Hunting

White-tailed deerImage via Wikipedia

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Wild Trout Creeks of Missouri

By: David Mann

The littlest known trout fishery in the Ozark hills would definitely be the small wild trout streams that lace southern Missouri. These streams get very little pressure, and they provide excellent fishing. But they aren’t for everyone. It takes a lot of work, and a bit of skill to take these stream-bred trout. If you like easy fishing for hatchery raised trout, chances are you’ll only be frustrated. If you enjoy being on a quiet, natural stream, and catching trout on their own terms, you’ll really enjoy this type of fishing.

Tactics are pretty universal for catching the wild rainbows that inhabit these small streams. In short, you want to imitate the natural food base. For that reason, if there’s a hatch, fly fisherman that are “matching the hatch”, will generally take more fish than others. When fish aren’t rising, spin fisherman, or fly anglers tossing streamers or nymphs will do quite well. In short, you have to know what the trout are feeding on at that particular moment to be successful.

Stealth may be an even more important element of success. If you spook the trout before you begin fishing, it won’t matter how enticing your offering is. When you come up on a likely run, wade quietly (i.e. do not step heavily or crunch gravel), and try to keep your profile down. Some even approach on their hands and knees. Also, do not allow your lure of fly to make a loud splash when it hits the water. The more educated fish will be put off their feed by this. If your fly fishing, keep your false casts to a minimum. For fly fisherman, 7x tippet is often necessary, and spin fisherman should use line no heavier than four pound test.

Only fish the productive water. There is no point in wasting your time on water that is unlikely to hold fish. In short, if there is little or no current, you won’t find many or any trout. Pools are a good place to fish, provided they have a decent current, and a defined channel. Riffles are arguably even more productive, especially on the larger creeks. Any thing over 10” deep can, and probably does hold trout from time to time.

Enjoy fishing, even if it’s slow. The biggest part of the fun in this type of fishing is just being out in nature on a wild stream. If that’s not enough for you to have a good day, these streams probably aren’t for you anyway. Also, enjoy every fish you catch. Any fish you catch in one of these streams is a trophy. You have taken it on its terms, in the wild. It doesn’t get any better.

Here’s a few short lists to help you get started. First, is a list of wild trout streams, and the prime water in each of them. Note that the “prime water” that I highlight usually isn’t the entire area of stream managed for wild trout, just the stretch you’re mostly to find good populations of wild trout. Also, on all streams listed, artificial lures and flies only are allowed. You can keep one fish over 18”, but we encourage you release each one you catch. Next, I’ll list some lures and flies that are very successful on just about all the wild trout streams in the region. This is just a very general list, and there are no doubt many more that will get the job done.

Wild Trout Streams

1. Barren Fork Creek

Prime Water- Twin Springs to mouth

Description: This stream has a pretty low population of wild trout. With that said, you can find a few in some of the better holes. This is not a destination stream, but if your in the area anyway, you may as well give it a try. Public access is from Twin Spring downstream for about ½ Mile.

2.Mill Creek

Prime Water- Wilkin Spring to mouth

Description: This creek has a pretty respectable population of wild trout in the first few miles below Wilkin Spring. It’s not the stream it once was, but it’s definitely worth the trip if you like a good challenge. The MDC provides access below Wilkin Spring, and the Forest Service has an access on the stream’s lower reaches.

3. Spring Creek

Prime Water- Relfe Spring to mouth

Description: This creek has a decent trout population, and is very pretty. Also, it’s nearby several other trout streams, including Mill and Little Piney Creek. It’s definitely worth a few hours. There is public access on a nice stretch of stream toward the lower end.

4. Little Piney Creek

Prime Water- Highway 63 Bridge to CR 7460 Bridge (Vida Slab)

Description: This is an awesome creek, with a very good wild trout population. It used to be managed as a put and take fishery, but they stopped stocking it a few years ago, and instituted a length limit. Sure enough, the trout began spawning, and the Little Piney became one of the best wild trout streams in the Ozarks. Access is at the Highway 63 Bridge, Lane Spring Recreation area, and Vida Slab. There is a lot of quality water here, about seven miles in all.

5. Crane Creek

Prime Water- City of Crane to Quail Spur Road

Description: Home to one of the last pure populations of McCloud Rainbow trout, Crane Creek is an excellent fishery. Trout numbers are high, and this little stream is known around the country for its excellent fishing. Public access is found at the Crane City Park, and the Lower Wire Road Access. Unfortunately, some short-sighted folks are currently conspiring to dam it up, and form a lake. God forbid!

6. Blue Spring Creek

Prime Water- Blue Spring to mouth

Description: This tiny little creek is home to a tremendous population of wild rainbow trout. With 290 trout per mile, you won’t find a trout creek in Missouri with more fish. The catch is, they are very spooky, and difficult to catch. Also, this is a very tiny creek, and backcasting room is virtually non-existant. All except for the first few hundred yards of the creek are publicly owned. Access isn’t a problem.


Pheasant Tail NymphImage via WikipediaFlies

1. Woolly Bugger, Olive, White, or Black #10
2. Prince Nymph #14-18
3. Pheasant Tail Nymph #14-18
4. Copper John #18
5. Hare’s Ear Nymph #14-18
6. Elk Hair Caddis #14-18
7. Don’s Crawdad #10


1. Panther Martin Spinner 1/24-1/32 ounce
2. Rooster Tail Spinner 1/24-1/32 ounce
3. Mepp’s Spinner #0
4. Little Cleo 1/16 ounce
5. Rebel Crawdad crankbait
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Fishing Missouri's Forgotten Trout River - The Niangua River

Fishing Missouri's Forgotten Trout River - The Niangua River
By Davidson Manning

Niangua River, MOImage by Kyro S via Flickr

The Niangua River may be the most overlooked trout stream in the state of Missouri. It is widely known across the state as an excellent river for floating and smallmouth bass fishing, but the trout fishery is little known. Most area trout anglers only fish in the Niangua River's tributary, Bennett Spring Branch.

Above Bennett Spring Branch, the Niangua is a typical warm-water fishery. Smallmouth bass fishing is very good, but few trout are present. It is the cooling flows from Bennett Spring that make the river into a true trout stream. For eleven miles, the water is cool enough to hold year-round populations of rainbow and brown trout. Both species are stocked regularly.

The Niangua River isn't like other trout streams in the Ozarks. First of all, it just doesn't look like a trout stream. The river is big, and it usually isn't very clear. Also, the water temperature is usually above 70 degrees for most of the summer. With that said, for some unknown reason, the Niangua River does fish well all summer long, even when water temperatures are quite high. It is not uncommon to catch trout when the water temperature is 75 degrees. In other words, it's hard to believe trout do well in the Niangua, but they do.

Rainbow trout are the most common catch in the Niangua. They are stocked every few weeks during the spring, summer, and fall, and a good number also escape from Bennett Spring Branch into the river. They are easy to catch on a Powerbait, worms, small spinners, and spoons. Brown trout are not quite as common, but a good number can be found in the river. They respond better to small crankbaits, nightcrawlers, minnows, and crayfish. Both species of trout can be caught on a variety of flies including Woolly Buggers, Prince Nymphs, Pheasant Tail Nymphs, and Caddis imitators.

Mist on the Niangua in MissouriImage by Kyro S via Flickr

You can access the Niangua River's trout water at three points. The first is the Bennett Spring Access, where Bennett Spring Branch meets the Niangua. This is probably the most popular access point, and fish are always plentiful. The next access point is at Barclay Conservation area. This is a few miles downstream from the Bennett Spring Access. Fishing is very good in this area, especially for brown trout. The final access point is at Prosperine. Trout populations are a bit lower in this area, but you can find some of the biggest brown trout in the river both up and downstream of this access. Smallmouth bass are also abundant. Fishing regulations on the Niangua allow for all baits, lures, and flies to be used. Four trout may be kept, and there is no minimum length limit on rainbow trout. There is a 15" length limit on browns. In addition, only one brown may be kept. There are many other fantastic Missouri Trout fishing opportunities, but don't neglect this gem of a river!

No matter where you access it, the Niangua is a great stream. It may not be popular to trout fisherman, the fishing is very good. You'll see lots of floaters, especially in summertime, but fisherman will be few. This river is certainly worth a trip. If you have trouble, you can always drown your sorrows by catching a few stockers over at Bennett Springs.

Davdison Manning is an avid outdoorsman spending over 100 days per year pursuing his passion for fishing, many of them in the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. He details many of his favorite spots on his website Family-Outdoors. His other pursuits include many days spent in the field camping and hunting. Davidson loves to share his knowledge of the outdoors in the hope of helping others to find their own connection to the outdoors.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Trout Fishing in the Ozark Mountains

Trout Fishing in the Ozark Mountains
By Davidson Manning

Big Spring, a giant karst spring in The Ozarks...Image via Wikipedia

One thing is for sure. There is no shortage of trout streams in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas. Some are spring-fed rivers and creeks. These provide everything from daily stocked put and take fishing for gullible trout, to the pursuit of wild rainbows in a pretty spring creek. There are also trophy brown trout streams that can and do produce stream grown trout in the ten pound range. In all, there are eighteen spring-fed streams in the Ozarks that are managed for year-round trout fishing, seventeen of which are in Missouri. All have public access. Of these, the freestone section of the North Fork of the White is often considered to be the best, with trout populations in the thousands per mile, with the upper section holding lots of wild rainbows and some browns, and the lower section holding a lot of browns and some rainbows. Other streams that are well worth fishing are the Eleven Point, Little Piney, Current, Meramec, and Niangua Rivers in Missouri, and the Spring River in Arkansas.

The tailwaters of the Ozarks are a completely different animal. All of the Ozark tailwaters are part of the White River System. All of these tailwaters of bottom draw dams hold thousands of rainbow trout per mile, as well as the constant chance of catching a world record brown. Cutthroat and brook trout can be found as well. There are about 150 miles of year-round trout tailwaters in the Ozarks, and about 130 miles of these can be found in Arkansas. Access is ample. The White River below Bull Shoals Dam is the most well known, providing one hundred miles of quality trout water. The upper twenty miles is the most heavily fished of this tailwater, but there are year-round populations of trout all the way to Guion, which is 92 miles below Bull Shoals Dam, and trout range considerably further downstream in the winter. The reason why this tailwater can produce trout for such a long distance is due to the fact the North Fork River flows in about fifty miles below the dam. The North Fork River also provides world class tailwater trout fishing, and it gives the White River the shot of cold water it needs to extend its trout water by fifty miles. Every true trout fisherman should make a visit to the White River in their lifetime, because 100 fish days can, and regularly do happen. This article just scratches the surface of trout fishing in the Ozarks, and I will describe specific streams in detail in coming articles.

In short, there is something for every trout fisherman in the Ozarks. There are not as many streams as there are in the Appalachians or the Rockies, but the ones that we do have compare favorably to the trout streams anywhere else in the world. Come and give Ozark trout fishing a try.
Davdison Manning is an avid outdoorsman spending over 100 days per year pursuing his passion for fishing, many of them in the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. He details many of his favorite spots on his website His other pursuits include many days spent in the field camping and hunting. Davidson loves to share his knowledge of the outdoors in the hope of helping others to find their own connection to the outdoors.

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Missouri's Lake Taneycomo - Midwest Trout Fishing Mecca

Missouri's Lake Taneycomo - Midwest Trout Fishing Mecca
By Davidson Manning
Main Species Present: rainbow trout, brown trout, suckers, and largemouth bass

Lake Taneycomo as seen from an observation poi...Image via Wikipedia

Lake Taneycomo in southwestern Missouri might well be considered the world's finest trout fishery. Its popularity mostly relies on the approximately 700,000 rainbow trout stocked per year, which causes this twenty-two mile riverine lake to be positively loaded with dumb stockies at all times. They are stocked once a month, and even towards the end of each stocking period the lake holds many trout. Due to these easy to catch fish, few people come up empty handed here.

However, there are many fisheries around that hold lots of easy to catch rainbow trout. What sets Taneycomo apart is the enormous brown trout it produces. Twenty inch browns are routine, ten pound trout aren't at all out of place, and each year several larger than twenty pounds are pulled from its icy waters. All this was capped off when a Missouri Department of Conservation agent who was sampling the lake found a thirty six pound brown trout. There is little doubt that some day this lake will produce the world record brown trout to some lucky angler.

The lake can be effectively broken down into three sections. The first would be the section of lake from Table Rock Dam downstream to Fall Creek. Legal fishing begins a few hundred yards downstream from the dam. This section has special trophy regulations for both rainbows and browns, and this is where most of the largest trout in the lake live. Flies and lures only are allowed in this section. This part of the "lake" is for all intents and purposes a river, and can be waded if Table Rock Dam is not generating.

The next section of the lake worth mentioning is from Fall Creek to the Highway 65 Bridge. The upper part of this section looks like a river, but the further downstream you get, the more it becomes a lake. This entire part of the lake holds many trout, both rainbow and brown, and it can be effectively fished from the bank with bait, as that is legal below Fall Creek's mouth. Another popular method is to get a boat and troll spoons and spinners. Trophy regulations remain in effect for brown trout, but not rainbows.

The final section of the lake is from Highway 65 to Powersite Dam, which is the lake's lower boundary. This far downstream, Taneycomo is indeed a lake, although it is quite shallow. Effective bank fishing can be done with worms and Powerbait, but it is more of a boat fishery. Both rainbow and brown trout respond to the same trolling methods as above Highway 65, and that is probably the best way to fish. You won't need downriggers, or other special equipment due to the lake's shallow depth. This section also boasts some pretty good largemouth bass fishing in the creek arms, and gigging for non-game fish is quite popular in this part of the lake.

One item of caution is in order with regard to Taneycomo. Water levels can rise rapidly in some locations. Anglers are well-advised to do their homework on this matter ahead of time. Better yet, consider hiring a Tanycomo Guide to help you get on more fish and to help keep you safe.

Davdison Manning is an avid outdoorsman spending over 100 days per year pursuing his passion for fishing, many of them in the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. He details many of his favorite spots on his website His other pursuits include many days spent in the field camping and hunting. Davidson loves to share his knowledge of the outdoors in the hope of helping others to find their own connection to the outdoors.

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Bull Shoals Lake - Missouri and Arkansas Shared Fishing Treasure

Bull Shoals Lake - Missouri and Arkansas Shared Fishing Treasure
By Davidson Manning

Bull Shoals Lake -Image via Wikipedia

Main Species Present: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass, Walleye, White Bass, Channel Catfish, Blue Catfish, Crappie, Rainbow Trout, Striped Bass, Carp, Suckers, Bluegill, Yellow Perch, Rock Bass

Bull Shoals Lake in southwestern Missouri and northern Arkansas is a world class fishery by every standard. It offers great fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, trout, white bass, bluegill, catfish, and countless other fish species. The upper section of the lake from Powersite Dam to Beaver Creek is the place to go if you're looking to get a taste of everything the lake has to offer. Walleye, white bass, rainbow trout, crappie, and spotted bass are the most sought after species in this part of the lake, but there are many others. Just below Powersite Dam is a popular area that is easily accessible by boat or by foot called the Pothole. This pool in actuality reaches a short length below the dam, but the section of the lake for several miles below the dam usually goes by this name.

March through June is prime time here, with great numbers of walleye, white bass, and trout, and crappie stacked up in this riverine area below Powersite Dam. 1/32 ounce white jigs are very popular here, as they work very well for all of the species listed above. Nightcrawlers are also popular for those seeking all species. By late June, most of the Walleye and White Bass have moved for deeper waters, but the area just below Powersite fishes quite well for black bass and rainbow trout in from Late June through mid- October, providing you fish early or late in the day.

At Beaver Creek, the classic bass fishing waters of Bull Shoals Lake begin. There are some true hogs in the middle and lower lake, and the current Missouri state record largemouth was caught here. During the summertime, the bass tend to hold in the 10 to 25 foot range during the day, and often fall victim to drop shot or Carolina rigged soft plastics. Even during the dog days of summer, bass come in shallow in the early morning just after dawn, and can be caught by bank fisherman, often on top water lures.

Keep in mind that Bull Shoals Lake is usually ultra-clear, so light lines are best. Walleye fishing is also very good in the lower lake. Walleye fishing is very different than in the upper lake, but it is arguably as good or better. Daytime fishing during the summer will pretty much require a boat. Some troll, and some fish the deep water with a slip bobber rig using nightrcwlers or minnows as bait. Night fishing is by far best in the summer. The most effective technique is to fish anywhere a light shines upon the water, especially around docks. Shad are attracted to these areas, and walleye follow. Minnows and night- crawlers are best in this situation. Trout fishing can also be had in the lower lake, near Bull Shoals Dam. This is purely a boat fishery, and nighttime fishing is best. Most people fish nightcrawlers or corn thirty to fifty feet deep.

This is a relatively untapped fishery, but it is very productive, as 30,000 rainbow trout are stocked into the lake each spring. Many survive for many years after stocking and grow quite large. Catfish abound. Most are channel catfish in the two to fifteen pound range, but there are some blue catfish in the lake as well, some of which reach the fifty pound mark. White Bass, Crappie, and Bluegill also are often targeted.

Davdison Manning is an avid outdoorsman spending over 100 days per year pursuing his passion for fishing, many of them in the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. He details many of his favorite spots on his website

His other pursuits include many days spent in the field camping and hunting. Davidson loves to share his knowledge of the outdoors in the hope of helping others to find their own connection to the outdoors.

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Fishing - Table Rock Lake

Fishing - Table Rock Lake
By Davidson Manning

Fishing at Table Rock LakeImage by matneym via Flickr

Main Species Present: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass, Channel Catfish, Blue Catfish, Walleye, Rainbow Trout, White Bass, Crappie, Bluegill, Carp

Missouri's Table Rock Lake is certainly famous. The lake plays host to everything from important Bassmaster Tournaments to Cable Television Shows. There is a reason for this. It is one of the best bass fishing lakes in the United States. The lake holds almost equal numbers of largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass. During the summertime, look for large mouth in five to ten feet of water, and smallmouth and spotted bass in ten to thirty feet of water. The lake's water is gin clear; it is common to be able to see the bottom in fifteen feet of water. This necessitates two things. The first is light line. Eight pound line is the norm, and you shouldn't use anything a whole lot larger than ten pound test mono filament. The second thing this clear water means is that you must approach the bass as stealthily as possible. This means not waving your rod unnecessarily, not banging your tackle box on the boat, and not motoring too close to the structure you are planning to cast to. Soft plastics such as tube baits and Carolina Rigged soft plastics are the most popular way to fish the lake. Casting crankbaits and spinnerbaits is also a popular way to fish.

There are other species in the lake besides black bass that are worth casting a line to. Walleye are stocked heavily in the lake, and can be taken by trolling crankbaits, as well as casting jigs and live bait such as minnows or nightcrawlers. Walleye tend to hold in fifteen to twenty-five feet of water in the summer. Night time fishing is best during the warm months. Another popular species in the lake is White Bass. The best time to fish for these feisty fish is in the spring when they make their annual spawning runs. During the rest of the year, they can be caught in water that is approximately twenty feet deep. Catfish are also abundant everywhere in the lake. Channel Catfish are most common, but large blue catfish can also be caught. Rainbow trout can be found in deep water in the upper lake in the White River Arm and Roaring River arms. Trolling is the best method for trout fishing in Table Rock Lake, but there aren't enough to make fishing for them truly worthwhile. If you want to catch trout, it's best to take the time to drive to either the White River or Roaring River themselves.

The clear waters of Table Rock Lake hold some of the best fishing to be had in the Midwest. Whether you like smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, or catfish, this is a great lake for you.

Davdison Manning is an avid outdoorsman spending over 100 days per year pursuing his passion for fishing, many of them in the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. He details many of his favorite spots on his website Check out his assessment of many fishing areas around the U.S. at His other pursuits include many days spent in the field camping and hunting. Davidson loves to share his knowledge of the outdoors in the hope of helping others to find their own connection to the outdoors.

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Fishing the Eleven Point - A Crown Jewel of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Fishing the Eleven Point
By Davidson Manning

Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)Image via Wikipedia

There is no other river like the Eleven Point. Its wilderness atmosphere, combined with blue ribbon trout and smallmouth bass populations make this one of the true jewels of the Ozarks. The river is situated in south-central Missouri, and north central Arkansas. The forty miles of river between the Thomasville, and the Narrows Access to the river is part of the National Scenic Riverways system. This means there is little or no commercial activity, or private land along the river. This helps keep the habitat, water quality, and beauty at a level unsurpassed in the Midwest.

The Eleven Point begins as a small stream high in the Ozark Mountains. From the headwaters to Thomasville, the river is lightly fished, but can produce very well for smallmouth bass. Almost no one floats this section. Below Thomasville, the river becomes a national river, and fishing becomes better. The area of river between Thomasville and Greer Spring is known for producing some of the biggest stream smallmouth anywhere. Trophy regulations help maintain this world class fishery. Shadow bass (also known as rock bass or goggle-eye) also are abundant, as well as several other species of sunfish.

The river changes dramatically at the mouth of Greer Spring. This massive, cold and very wild spring immediately transform an easy going, warm smallmouth stream into a large river with deep and rushing flows. Most notably, it makes the Eleven Point an excellent trout stream. From the mouth of the spring branch downstream to Turner Mill Access the stream is managed under Blue Ribbon trout regulations. This means an 18" length limit, and artificial lures and flies only. This beautiful and interesting stretch of trout water relies on both stocking and natural spawning to keep fish populations up. About 5000 rainbow trout are stocked each year in this five and one half mile portion of the river. You can access this part the Eleven Point at the Greer Crossing Access at the upper end, and the Turner Mill Access at the lower end. You can expect 300 to 500 trout per mile. Wading anglers do well wading up, or downstream of these public access areas. Most people float it.

Below the Blue Ribbon trout area, you will find the White Ribbon Area. This is managed a lot differently. It is stocked every few weeks from April through September, but you will find trout here all year-long. The White Ribbon area allows four trout to be kept, with no length limit, and no bait restrictions. Most people think of this trout water as a put and take area, but there is only limited truth to this. Fish populations do decrease rather significantly between stockings, especially in the winter when no fish are stocked. However, even at times when fish populations are at the very lowest, (which is usually during February or March) trout can be caught, and good catches can be made consistently, if you know how to read the water. The best fishing generally is in June, July, and August when fish populations are really built up. About 15,000 rainbow trout are stocked per year in this fourteen mile section of river each year.. Wading and floating access will be found at Turner Mill, Whitten, McDowell Access, and Riverton. The best trout fishing will be found between the Turner Mill and McDowell Access, but trout can be found in fair numbers all the way downstream to the Riverton Access, and sometimes even significantly further downstream. Below Riverton, the river transforms back into a smallmouth bass stream, typical of the Ozarks. It is now a large river, and species such as largemouth bass, spotted bass, and even walleye can be found. The river slowly warms, and by the time it reaches the Black River in Arkansas it appears very little like the upper section.

The Eleven Point is certainly special. This is one of the best rainbow trout streams in the Ozarks, as well as an excellent smallmouth bass river. It is however, rather undiscovered. It is not used nearly so much as nearby streams such as the Current River, Buffalo River, or the Black River. Come out and give it a try.

Davdison Manning is an avid outdoorsman spending over 100 days per year pursuing his passion for fishing, many of them in the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. He details many of his favorite spots on his website which is a good resource for general fishing, hunting, and camping information. His website area on Missouri Trout Streams and techniques can be located at and covers some amazing opportunities.

His other pursuits include many days spent in the field camping and hunting. Davidson loves to share his knowledge of the outdoors in the hope of helping others to find their own connection to the outdoors.

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Fishing the Current River of Missouri's Ozarks

Fishing the Current River of Missouri's Ozarks

By Davidson Manning

There is no doubt that the Current River is the most diverse stream in Missouri. It begins as a spring creek style trout river, and slowly transforms into one of the best smallmouth bass streams in the nation. Besides these species, there are also populations of Rock Bass, Walleye, and of course Bluegill.

The first twenty miles of the river make up the classic trout water. The river begins where Montauk Spring rises in the streambed of Pigeon Creek. For three miles below this point, the stream is stocked once a day with rainbow trout from March 1 through October 31. The upper part of this stretch which flows through Montauk State Park is managed for flies only. Artificial lures such as marabou jigs and single hooked rooster tail spinners fished on a spinning rod are perfectly legal, along with traditional fly gear. The rest of the river in the park allows all lures and baits. Montauk Spring Branch also flows through the park. The first quarter mile is catch and release only with flies only .Below there, all baits are allowed until it reaches the Current River, and fish may be kept. This area is also stocked daily.

Below Montauk State Park for nine miles, the river is managed for trophy rainbow and brown trout. The trout population varies from year, but you can count on there being between 250 and 700 trout per mile, which is a respectable number. Most are browns, but there are quite a few rainbows as well, including a number of wild trout. This is a great area to float, but there is wading access at the lower end of Montauk State Park, Tan Vat, Baptist Camp, Parker Hollow, and Cedar Grove. This is a year-round fishery, with the best fishing in the seven miles between Montauk State Park and the Parker Hollow Access. Between Parker Hollow and Cedar Grove there are certainly trout, but wading can be tough, and the fish numbers are not terribly high. Artificial lures and flies only are allowed, and there is a restrictive length limit in place.

The eight miles between Cedar Grove and Akers Ferry is managed as a put and take trout fishery. It is heavily stocked with rainbow trout between March and September. In the four miles between Cedar Grove and Welch Spring the best trout fishing will be in the spring and fall, as that is the only time trout are stocked. Below Welch Spring until Akers Ferry, the water is significantly cooler, and trout are stocked all summer long. The best fishing is generally near the mouth of Welch Spring, where trout are stocked extensively. Below Akers Ferry, there are pockets of trout all the way to Pulltite Spring seven miles further downstream, but numbers drop significantly the further below Akers Ferry you get.

Between Akers Ferry and Round Spring, the fishing is spotty for both smallmouth bass and trout. There are decent rainbow trout numbers in the upper half, and decent smallmouth bass numbers in the lower half, but the fishing will be marginal. Smallmouth bass fishing picks up in earnest at the mouth of Round Spring. Between this point and Doniphan, Missouri lies some of the finest smallmouth water in the state. Fish in the one to three pound range abound, and larger fish are not uncommon at all. Rock Bass and Bluegill can also be found in great numbers. Around Van Buren, walleye enter the scene. This is one of the best stream walleye fisheries in the nation, and big Ozark strain walleyes abound. The next world record could come from the Current River. Jigging, trolling, and live bait fishing are all popular to catch these big walleye.

Every fisherman in Missouri should try fishing the beautiful Current River. Its crystal clear waters are home to some of the best fishing to be found in the United States. Whether you like smallmouth bass, trout, walleye, or just a big stringer of bluegill or suckers, this is a great place to go.

Davdison Manning is an avid outdoorsman spending over 100 days per year pursuing his passion for fishing, many of them in the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. He details many of his favorite spots on his website He has devoted a section of his site strictly to Missouri's trout streams at

His other pursuits include many days spent in the field camping and hunting. Davidson loves to share his knowledge of the outdoors in the hope of helping others to find their own connection to the outdoors.

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Trophy Bass Fishing in Missouri - Locations and Techniques

Trophy Bass Fishing in Missouri - Locations and Techniques

By Davidson Manning

While Missouri may not be known for its trophy bass fishing, there are plenty of large bass around to keep an angler busy for a lifetime. In order to catch them, you will probably have to use different techniques than you use to catch smaller bass. If you are willing to catch a few less fish in search of that wall hanger, then this article is for you. First, I will share some of my favorite big bass techniques. Then I will choose a few of the best lakes and rivers in the state to find the bass of a lifetime.
Live Baitfish
This is personally my favorite way to catch big largemouth bass. The setup is very simple. I use a 2/0 plastic worm hook, a split shot, and a large bobber. I hook the bait (I prefer a green sunfish between two and five inches) in the back, just under the spine. The depth I fish depends on where I am, but generally two to four feet is best. It is important to wait several seconds after the bass strikes to set the hook. When you do set the hook, do it firmly, but not excessively. Besides green sunfish, live shad, shiners, suckers, and various other minnows work very well, fished the same way.

Flipping Jigs

This is one of the best techniques for big springtime largemouth and smallmouth bass. Cast the jig into heavy cover, or near docks, let the jig sink, and jig it up and down slowly as you reel. Set the hook as soon as you feel resistance. This works well into the summer as well, but it particularly shines between March and June. My favorite jig for the method is mini-Strike King Jigs, in green and brown colors.

Plastic Worms

Plastic worms are good big bass bait from April until early November. The general rule is the bigger the bait, the bigger the bass. I prefer to Texas rig the bait, and reel in very slowly, but there are countless ways to successfully fish plastic worms, including the Carolina Rig, the Wacky Rig, and the weightless rig. My favorite big bass worm is a 7 inch Black Berkeley Power Worm. It works well for largemouth bass between two and five pounds, especially at night.

Lakes and Rivers:

Table Rock Lake

Table Rock Lake ShoreImage by FreeWine via Flickr

Most people would consider Table Rock the best trophy bass lake in the state. This approximately 40,000 acre reservoir is exceptionally clear and deep. The deep water is home to many smallmouth and spotted bass, and the shallower water holds mostly largemouth. Probably the number one trophy bass technique here is free lining three to five inch shiners. Other successful offerings are spinnerbaits, tube baits, crankbaits, and plastic worms. The main channel near the dam, the James River arm, and the Kings River arm are all great spots to find trophies, but the entire lake holds bass.

Lake of the Ozarks

This 55,000 acre lake in Central Missouri is very heavily fished, but somehow the trophy bass fishery remains one of the best in the state. Largemouth bass reign supreme here, although limited populations of smallmouth and spotted bass do exist in some river arms. The best trophy baits tend to be flipping jigs, spinnerbaits, and various plugs. The key to success here is to fish the many docks lining the lake, because the lake offers very little other cover. The Niangua Arm, Grand Glaize Arm, and the Osage River Channel are all good places to find big largemouth.

Gasconade River

The Gasconade River is a world class trophy bass river. From its humble beginnings near Springfield all the way through the town of Vienna, the river is almost entirely dominated by smallmouth bass. Between Vienna and the mouth at the Missouri River, largemouth bass take there place alongside the smallmouth. Live minnows, crankbaits, tube baits, flipping jigs, and spinnerbaits work well for both species of bass found in the river.

James River

You may have noticed in the section of this article about Table Rock Lake, I mentioned the James River arm was an excellent place to catch big bass. The fishing does not end upstream of the lake, however. All the way from upstream of Springfield downstream to where it becomes Table Rock Lake, the James River is an excellent float fishing river for huge smallmouth and spotted bass. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, live minnows, and soft plastics are all popular.

Hopefully this article helps you learn the techniques and places to catch trophy bass here in Missouri. It may not be likely that you will catch a world record bass in Missouri, but that does not mean that fishing for them is not an exciting or heart throbbing experience.

Davidson Manning is an avid outdoorsman spending over 100 days per year pursuing his passion for fishing, many of them in the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. He details many of his favorite spots on his website Family-Outdoors where he writes articles not only on fishing, but also camping and hunting. Looking for recipes for wild fish and game? Visit his recipe section at Wild Game and Fish Recipes for recipes for venison, trout, as well as most other game and fish species.

His other pursuits include many days spent in the field camping and hunting. Davidson loves to share his knowledge of the outdoors in the hope of helping others to find their own connection to the outdoors.

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Smallmouth Fishing's Best Kept Secret - The Gasconade River of Missouri

Gasconade River

By Davidson Manning

The Gasconade River that flows through the northern Ozarks of Missouri is a fisherman's paradise in every sense of the expression. It is widely considered to be one of the nations best smallmouth bass streams. It is both a good place to catch and release twenty Bronzebacks, or specifically target lunker bass in the three to four pound range. The smallmouth fishing is best from the river's humble beginnings in Wright County until Jerome. There are a lot of big bass in this part of the river, and the overall numbers are ample.

:en:Smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu). Ar...Image via Wikipedia

The entire river also holds catfish, rock bass, and bluegill. It is a great floating stream, and has many springs that flow into it that cause it to be navigable all year. The upper river is a medium sized or even small stream, but because of the streams such as the Osage Fork River, the Woods Fork River, the Big Piney River, Little Piney Creek, and Roubidoux Creek, the river is quite large by Ozark stream standards by the time it reaches the Missouri in Gasconade County.

The river is quite different below Jerome. It slowly becomes a largemouth bass river, probably the best stream largemouth fishery in the region, with five to seven pound bass relatively routine. Largemouths tend to hold in the warmer backwaters. There are also smallmouths in the lower river. They tend to stay in the main current where the water is colder and there is more oxygen. Catfish, rock bass, and bluegill can be found nearly anywhere. Because it has so many tributaries, the lower river can be silty at times, but it usually runs clear and is pretty. The Gasconade has far too many access points to begin naming them, but suffice it to say you will have no trouble finding a place to fish.

If you go to the Gasconade, you should also think of fishing the Woods Fork, Osage Fork, and Big Piney River for Smallmouth. If you want trout, hit Little Piney Creek, Mill Creek, Spring Creek, or Roubidoux Creek, all of which flow into the middle Gasconade directly or indirectly. In all, the Gasconade is well worth the trip if you like to catch smallmouth bass. If you need to get a canoe shuttle on the middle Gasconade or the Big Piney River, the Route 66 Canoe Rental can help you.

Davdison Manning is an avid outdoorsman spending over 100 days per year pursuing his passion for fishing, many of them in the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. He details many of his favorite spots on his website Family-Outdoors where he has information on camping and hunting as well as fishing. Specifically, he has articles on a myriad of places and techniques. Consider reading his article Smallmouth Bass Fishing in Missouri where he provides additional tips on places and techniques for bornzebacks in the Show-Me state.

His other pursuits include many days spent in the field camping and hunting. Davidson loves to share his knowledge of the outdoors in the hope of helping others to find their own connection to the outdoors.

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