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Good Friday float above Hwy 8

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I think I floated nearly every mile of the Meramec in my bachelor days. I've been married for almost 15 years and have been busy raising 4 boys - but as they are getting older, and prod me to fish almost every weekend, I am finally getting back to my beloved Missouri rivers. The boys have floated the entire Jacks Fork 3 times now and have experienced the Meramec, Huzzah, Courtois, Black, Big, and a few others. But the one section of heavenly smallmouth water that has forever eluded me is the upper-most Meramec. I've done Hwy 8 to Scott's Ford dozens of times - and looking upstream at put in (when there was daylight) always awakened an uneasy curiosity that only faded after shoving off and focusing on the float at hand.

In exactly 9 days my 13 year old and I hope to get on the water for some Spring-time bronzeback action - something I haven't seen since the Buffalo River in '98. We live in Maryland Heights but will be in Warrenton the night before our float. AS we’ll be close, my original plan was to hit the Bourbeuse for the first time in 12 years - but that section of the Meramec just keeps calling me. I need to put my son on some fish, that's a given, so I'm not opposed to floating a different section of the river – or a different river altogether - but I've often heard above Hwy 8 is typically most floatable in the spring. We'll be paddling kayaks and plan to put in at the low water bridge at Hwy U.

So, after that book I just typed....

Does anyone have an opinion on that upper stretch of water? Recommend any other stretch for this time of year? My inclination - should we not do that float is to do the Hwy 8 to Scott's and double up the fun with trout and smallies. But, like I said...I've been there - done that.

Also, can someone recommend an outfitter to shuttle my vehicle to Hwy 8 access?

Thanks in advance. I just joined the site yesterday - don't know what took me so long!

Pat Reddy

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Welcome to the forum. The upper river can get very low, habitat is often poor, fishing can be cyclical, poor some years a little better others.

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Hi Pat,

Although I cannot speculate on the condition of the fishing in that stretch I did want to give you a couple links to help you determine the floatability of that stretch as you get close to making your decision (if you haven't found this stuff already).

This is a great article giving you what the different CFS readings mean to how floatable the water is for that first stretch: http://www.ozarkanglers.com/meramec-river/river-sections/

Here is a link to the Cook Station USGS River Gauge for Cook Station, that can give you the real time CFS rating, which according to the article, is the gauge to use for evaluating that stretch: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?07010350

Using these two links you can get a pretty good idea of the conditions.

The only place I've ever dealt with is Adventure Outdoors at Scott's Ford, I don't remember the owner's name, but every time we've gone down there he's been very helpful and is a fisherman himself, so you may try to give them a call: http://adventureoutdoorcanoeing.com/

I live in St. James, I've done the Scott's Ford to Riverview stretch a few times and the Highway 8 to Scott's a time or two, but like you, I am hoping to give the stretch from Cedar Ford road to Highway 8 a try in search of smallies, my Jackson Coosa keeps begging to be taken down from it's mount in my garage and on the water. :) Hope that helps!

Josh

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Id worry about it being high more so than low this time of year.Dont be surprised if you still catch trout along with smallmouths.Theres at least one pay to play trout feeder stream still above hwy 8 where escapees get in the mac.

Streams thin and faster up by low water bridge and widens and slows as you near hwy 8......so save some energy to paddle last 3rd of float.

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There is actually a lot of floatable water above Hwy. 8, some good, some not so good. You can float at least three days above there. However, finding someone to shuttle you is difficult. Green's Canoe Rental used to do it for the stretch from Cedar Ford or Klein Ford down to Hwy. 8, but they were the only ones. I don't know if they are still in business. Other canoe rentals in the area might agree to do it on days when they are open but not busy; I don't know how busy they'd be on Good Friday.

Generally it will be floatable in the spring if it's not too high. It's more rugged up there, with the occasional log jam. Fishing depends a lot on river levels and conditions.

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Greens Canoe is still in business. Exactly nine days from now, you have absolutely no idea what the upper Meramec will look like. Or any other stream. Forget the Bourbeuse. Basically, at this time of year, water level and clarity dictate everything, on any stream. Sorry, but that is a stone cold fact.

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True...9 days from now 1/2 the rivers in the state could be out of their banks - but the other half...different story. I've never in my life cancelled a fishing trip for bad weather. Seriously. I'll pack up and drive to Arkansas, or even Tennessee if need be. I HOPE to float closer to home, but come hell or...high water...I will fish. ;)

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