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Looking to rent a kayak next Friday for my birthday getaway. I know Washington State Park rents them to float 7 miles on the Bog River. And Ozark Outfitters floats the Meramec. Looking for just a day out to try to figure out floating and fishing as it’s all new to me. Both are $35. Washington State Park is 30 minutes closer to me. 
 

What’s my best option for a successful day?

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Go fishing more than once a year would be my advice.    Sorry...      Umm  I'd go with the one closer to home.    Both are good floating rivers.     Enjoy your day!!!  

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22 minutes ago, Griffster said:

Go fishing more than once a year would be my advice.    Sorry...      Umm  I'd go with the one closer to home.    Both are good floating rivers.     Enjoy your day!!!  

Good to hear. I usually bank fish the Big in Byrnes Mill and hate it. So just wanted to make sure. 
 

And can you let my wife know the necessity of constant fishing, please?

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Every stretch is what you make of it. Concentrate on cover and don’t pass it up too quickly with your kayak. The water is probably very clear now, use smaller lures and be patient.

"Honor is a man's gift to himself" Rob Roy McGregor

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26 minutes ago, WannabeAngler said:

Good to know. Is that stretch of he Big tough or the Meramec is just that much better?

That stretch of the Meramec puts you in at what is called "The Bluffs", which is about 7 miles up from Onondaga and Ozark Outdoors.  They have an alternative which puts you in on the lower Courtois, you float about 1.5 miles of the Courtois, a mile of Huzzah and Courtois combined, and then three miles of the Meramec down to Ozark Outdoors.  Of the two, the Bluffs float, entirely on the Meramec, is usually a little better, but the other one is interesting in that you are fishing three very different rivers in one float.  But the Bluffs float means you're fishing two different rivers in one float, because the Meramec is a different animal above the Huzzah.  In low autumn water flows it is little more than half as big above the Huzzah as it is below it.  Right now, for instance, the Meramec is flowing 218 cfs at Steelville.  The Huzzah is flowing 113 cfs at Highway 8, well above the mouth of the Courtois, and the Courtois is pretty close to the same size as the Huzzah, so combined they are probably dumping around 200 cfs into the Meramec.  And there aren't any large creeks or springs coming into the Meramec between Steelville and the Huzzah, so I'd bet that the Meramec at the junction is flowing no more than 250 cfs.  It's flowing 491 cfs at the Sullivan gauge, well below the junction.  So in effect, right now the Huzzah is nearly doubling the size of the Meramec.

The Meramec is also often murkier above the Huzzah than below it.  So it's simply a different river.  Which means you can have good fishing above the Huzzah and bad fishing below...or occasionally the other way around.  But...since basically the river below the mouth of the Huzzah gets twice as much pressure as it does above it, the fishing below the Huzzah usually isn't as good.  However, the Meramec also gets a lot of jetboat fishing pressure, and that occurs above the Huzzah as well, so it can be a little tough at times.

Big River above Washington State Park...the park puts you in at Blackwell, which is 8 miles down to the lodge in the main part of the park, 5 miles to the access at Highway 21.  They also put in shorter floats at 21, so the part of the float from 21 to the main part of the park gets more pressure than the stretch from Blackwell to 21.  In comparison to the Meramec, Big River in that stretch is flowing around 75 cfs right now (it's flowing 61 cfs at the Bonne Terre gauge, which is well above Blackwell, and only a few small creeks come in between.  75 cfs is BARELY enough water for easy floating; you'll scrape bottom occasionally and may have to get out once or twice.  Compare that to the Meramec above the Huzzah at 250 cfs, easy floating and faster water.

So...the Meramec will be easier floating.  Big might be easier fishing because the river is smaller, slower, and the fish-holding areas are more limited and more obvious.  If you know what you're doing, the fishing is about the same on both, though.  One other thing to think about...the Meramec gets a LOT of gigging, especially between Onondaga and the Huzzah.  Big is often a little murkier, and not big enough for easy jet boat running during this part of the gigging season, so it gets less gigging.  That can make a difference this time of year.

 

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This is awesome info as always, Al. I floated the Little Piney from Newburg to the confluence of the Gasconade last weekend and it had some major low spots. I don't mind to get out, as I'm really just trying to learn how to fish and float (because a kayak is on the horizon for me). Sounds like there are pros and cons to both, but both can have some good results. 

I would say in many ways, I don't know what I'm doing with a ton of confidence. Threw the HD Craws last week on the Piney and caught one...but was fishing with three other guys who were ahead of me most of the float. If they're going to be equal for the most part, the Big will probably be it since it's closer.

Thanks again to both for the suggestions.

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My uncle, stepmom and friends of th family still own about 3 acres at the Bluffs. Caught my first big smaller there, as did my step-brother. P tax is about $10 a year so we kept it, Not sure if we can get to it. Meth heads and other vandals destroyed the place along time ago.

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