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OzarkRiverCamper

Float Report - May 26 - 28

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We floated from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon.  We started at the Y Bridge and pulled out at Bay Creek.  Water levels were running about 400 CFS at the 17 bridge gage until the rain hit Saturday night.  It peaked up to about 900 CFS on Sunday when I checked the gage after trip.  Water was clear until Sunday, although still not too bad then.

Fishing was great all weekend, even after the hard thunderstorms Saturday night.  Lot's of smallmouth with many juveniles so it seemed like it was a good spawn.  The river is just as pretty as always.  There are plenty of downed and semi-downed trees along the entire float but that was to be expected.  However, the upper part seemed shallower than we expected as we had to drag quite a few times even with the water running at such high levels.  We were in fully loaded canoes and kayaks, but that is nothing new.  Having done this float a few times now, it sure seemed to me that the river was a bit wider up top, the riffles didn't have any defined shoots to hit so you were forced to drag.  At 400CFS, we should have been flying...but we weren't and had to paddle quite a bit until Sunday.

Maybe the river needs some more minor flooding events to dig a new smaller channel.  We had lots of debates on what happened, it seems that the smaller channel you float in the low waters was filled in and needs time to re-trench.  so if like me you have floated in as little as 75cfs, it might be a bit more difficult to do that right now. I'd really be interested to hear from others who have been before and after the floods this spring.

Oh yeah...to all those who cleaned up the trees jamming the river...THANK YOU! 

 

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To be honest, I can't track that much detail on a 25 mile run from float to float anyway, my memory just doesn't work like that :-)  I will say that the large rock(s) that were laying around in the deeper parts of the bend at Jam Up cave are all now part of the rock pile at the entrance of the cave.  I have pictures of my son jumping off those rocks from last year so that is one specific change I noticed.

There was no shortage of sandbars, that is for sure.  Even at 400cfs, plenty of bars to pull over or camp.

Some other things I noticed were a few large landslides along the route, although it was rock and not mud that did the sliding. There was visible tree damage along the entire route from the recent floods as well.  I think it will bounce back quickly, though, and due to the surrounding national park it didn't detract from the scenery at all.  There were plenty of uprooted trees stuck in the top of still standing trees as well...an interesting sight.

I am interested to see if other feedback on floatability at lower levels as the river drops.

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Quick Update...I just took a look at the USGS site and they did a manual measurement recently which caused them to adjust the CFS number downward...significantly.  So where it said we were floating at 400CFS+, it now shows less than 200CFS for 5/26 and 5/27.  That actually makes me feel a lot better about the condition of the river as it makes more sense that we were dragging a lot. 

So now I am really eager to hear about anyone else that floats over the weekend to see what their experience is.

Carry on...

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