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H20 Dawg

Spring lures for Jacks Fork

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Thanks everyone for your advice!  It looks like it might be pretty challenging this weekend with the river running a bit low, and I'm assuming clear, for early spring, IMO.  It looks to be relatively rain-free most of the weekend, though, which is great.  Its really a crapshoot to be picking a date less than a week out around planned around spring weather in the Midwest. It appears that the wind will be around 20 mph for Friday and Sunday. Hopefully it doesn't knock around the canoe too badly.  I was expecting the river to be up at least a bit from the thunderstorms that moved through down there yesterday, but the gauge barely budged.  It being a relatively dry spring so far, the rain they did get must have soaked right in. The storms did bump the water temperature down a bit, but I think it might rebound pretty quickly after a couple of sunny days.  At the very least, I get be on an Ozark river  while the redbuds and dogwoods are blooming surrounded by great scenery.  Will do a write-up post trip. Have a great weekend!

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Well guys, it was pretty tough on the Jacks Fork this weekend fishing-wise.  The winds made it all but impossible to travel downriver in a canoe loaded with gear for 2 people and a dog for 3 days and expect to fish much unless riding all day in the bow of the boat, which I unfortunately was not.  There were a few smallies and google-eye to be seen.  After talking with one of the locals at the site of a former deep hole that is now filled with gravel, he indicated that the flooding this past winter had filled in a lot of formerly productive areas full of gravel.  There were a few good holes to be sure, but you could tell the river had dramatically changed recently with brush and new additions/subtractions to gravel bars.  We did, however, have the luxury of being the only campers on the bar across from Jam Up Cave on Friday night and Chalk Bluff on Saturday.  I can not believe how low the river is for this time of year.  115 CFS when we were on it.  Had to drag in a few places and water was gin-clear.  I  only saw  a couple of spawning beds all weekend, so I suppose they are just starting to spawn.   I am sure I could have fished it hard and pulled up a few had I been on a shorter float and devoted the time needed to properly fish each run and hole.  However, as I noted earlier, with the dogwoods and redbuds blooming, and the trees still not leafed out, the scenery was absolutely spectacular.  I saw many rock formations, bluffs, and caves that would have gone unseen in another month once the trees are leafed out.    Fishing aside, it was a beautiful spring float on an Ozark river. 

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Two of the prettiest camp sites in the Ozarks. I never camped on the Jam Up Cave bar because I've usually been by myself and I don't like the fact that there's an ATV trail leading onto it; I hate the thoughts of being awakened in the night by some local party people. But I've spent the night on the Chalk Bluff bar more than once.

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3 hours ago, Mark said:

Seems like the December floods changed rivers in many places. Any areas of concern on the JF for floating?

Mark,

From Buck Hollow down to Bay Creek didn't have anything an intermediate canoer on Ozark rivers couldn't handle. Its the usual root-wads, boulders, and sweepers, some just have  shifted after the flooding.  If you haven't been on it yet since last year's floods, then situations and locations of hazards  might be a little different.  I personally walked our loaded canoe through 4 spots that I didn't like the look of going into, but that was more caution on my part in deference to the 34 degree nights we had while on our float.  The thought of getting some of our gear as well as ourselves wet when temperatures get that low is not appealing.  Personally, I would have rather had around 150 CFS or a little more to run that section again.  We go pretty light, but there just was not quite enough water for optimal floating with that set-up, IMO.

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