Thursday, July 30, 2009

Eleven Point River Trip: July 2009

We left our home 50 miles West of St. Louis on a Tuesday afternoon and arrived at Greer Crossing Campground that evening. The route to the area is one of the more scenic drives you can take in Missouri, taking us through the Ozark National Scenic Riverways and miles and miles of Mark Twain National Forest, as well as thousands of acres of state Conservation lands. It really hit me as to how fortunate we are in Missouri to have so many acres of public land in so beautiful and area.

We set up camp on Tuesday evening, and my two boys did a little fishing and then swimming. Let me tell you, that water was envigorating, as I found over the next few days as we made our trip. The river is fed from a steady diet of cold spring inflows, but perhaps the coolest section is there at Greer Crossing.

We got up the next morning and shuttled vehicles so that the truck would be there when we arrived at Riverton in a few days where our float would end. We got on the river mid-morning and were on our way. Our first day was full of great fishing (rainbow trout) and a mix of slow moving water, mildly entertaining riffles, and Mary Decker Rapid where one must pay attention to what he is doing if to accomplish the goal of staying dry. The advice of staying to the right was heeded and turned out to be wise. The left line of the river looks tempting at Mary Decker, but after going through an inspection upstream will make clear that it is not the way to go.

Though we planned to stay in one of the river campgrounds for the evening, we apparently missed the spot and instead found a beautiful and secluded sandbar for our camp. It was perfect.

On the topic of seclusion, I do not wish to leave the impression that one will encounter no one, but during the week as we were doing, the traffic was few and far between. Most of the time there was not another human in sight. Further, over our three days of floating we saw not one dwelling of any type.

Day two was equally beautiful, though without the excitement of a Mary Decker style rapid to provide entertainment. We again did well fishing, in this section picking up more in the way of bronzebacks (smallmouth bass). We put in this time at one of the river campgrounds. The campground was primitive (as expected). It was however, not well maintained. The pit toilets had been used as a dumpster by some very disrespectful campers and the area was kind of a mess.

As we prepared to shove off the next morning, a USFS cleaning crew arrived and explained they had been diverted to other tasks and had not been in for three weeks. Therefore, I felt the condition of the site was understandable. Based on the efficiency this crew displayed in their work cleaning up, I can say that they were a hard working bunch and took pride in their efforts.

Our final day was the only one in which we had so much as a sprinkle. The only real dampening effect this rain had was on the air temperature and actually was much appreciated. On our final day we went through Halls Bay Rapid, which was a lot of fun. The john boat my youngest son and I were in was heavily laden and hung up on one of the boulders in this ledge style rapid.

We stayed upright, but he volunteered to disenbark which allowed the boat to float free down the rest of the rapid.

We took out at Riverton and headed back to Alton, Missouri and enjoyed a great meal as there are several decent places to eat as well as good grocery stores, etc. All-in-all, this trip was all and more we had hoped for. We grew as a family as we worked together and enjoyed some of the most beautiful scenery the state has to offer, not to mention some great fishing!

Read more at Family-Outdoors Fishing.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Upcoming Float Trip and Another Contraption

Here in a few days, we are headed on a float trip to one of Missouri's less traveled I am not talking about the Meramec or Current Rivers. There will be a party of five in a 12 foot jon boat and a 14' canoe. We are also bringing an inflatable kayak. That's about all the details I will give right now about the actual trip logistics, but I'll report all the happenings after we return.

What I will say is that I built a pretty cool rack to carry our canoe and jon boat down to the river. Since I cannot weld and am way too cheap to buy a ready made rack, it is built from wood. I will include some pics after our trip is over. I constantly am given grief by my wife and kids about the hoosier contraptions I build for these types of trips.

Several years ago, we took a trip to Montana, Wyoming, and a few other places out West. I built the most outrageous contraption to stow out gear in my crew cab Chevy S-10. My kids would not be seen in it in our home town, but admitted after the trip it was pretty cool.
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Friday, July 3, 2009

Missouri Wildlife Code Changes

Several days ago, I wrote about a couple of reminders pertaining to hunting permits (youth permit changes and managed hunt applications). I thought I probably ought to mention that there were quite a few other changes as well.

There are changes in antler-point restrictions, urban deer hunt areas, and quite a few others. An article summarizing some of the changes can be found at Wildlife Code changes take effect July 1, and the agencies website can be found at MDC. It might be advisable to take a look and avoid any surprises that might negatively affect your outdoor plans
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Thursday, July 2, 2009

So You Think You Caught a Record Fish?

If you catch what you think is a state record fish it will be an easy matter to prove it, right?

Not so fast...

The MDC has a set of criteria that must be met for this to happen. If you think there's a chance you will ever catch a record fish and try to get it in the state record books, you might want to know this stuff'll kind of dictate what you do after catching your monster fish.

There are 7 criteria listed on the State Record Form published by the MDC. Most are pretty straight forward, like you have to have caught the fish in Missouri waters. The one that I think you should know up front is that the fish will have to be weighed on certified scales in the presence of a Conservation Agent. That means that after you have made your catch you will have to be able to get to a certified scale AND get a Conservation Agent there before the fish goes below the record weight. If you didn't know this, fish begin to lose weight after they are caught.

It is clear, at least it seems that way to me, that all the rules serve a vital purpose, but not knowing them ahead of time could result in not getting a deserving fish listed.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Meramec River: Miracles and Milestones

This documentary is worth a look! I have posted a clip from YouTube to give you a taste:

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