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Need A Float Recommendation


  

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I am looking to plan a late summer float and camping trip. I have been on the Jack's Fork, Current, Meramec, Big, and Huzzah rivers so I am looking to try something else. I really like the blue, spring fed scenic rivers like the Jack's Fork. I was thinking about the Eleven Point, Buffalo, St. Francis, or Black rivers but would be open to other suggestions. Need good smallmouth fishing and a place to tent camp with showers and canoe rentals. Would like to keep it under a 4 hour drive.

Thanks

"Of all the liars among mankind, the fisherman is the most trustworthy."

"There's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot."

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If you want late summer bass action on a river, the St. Francois is great for that. Sam A Baker Park has the camping facilities. You will probably have to bring friends and make your own float and shuttles above the park. There is a canoe rental in the park but the shuttles are limited.

11 Point upper river gets really small in the summer so the float is not usually possible. From Whitten down it is good that time of the year for smallies and trout. Camping in Alton and Riverton with canoe rentals at both places.

You left out the Jack's Fork, Current River, and the North Fork rivers.

"Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously."

— Hunter S. Thompson

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It's not that I left them out. I have just floated the JF and Current several times. While I love the JF, I want to try another river.

"Of all the liars among mankind, the fisherman is the most trustworthy."

"There's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot."

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If you are looking for something blue, scenic, spring-fed, and generally great in every way that counts, by all means float the Eleven Point. For late summer, you'll want to stay below Greer Spring-but below the spring you should be fine, barring some drags through the shallower riffles. For a three day float I'd recommend Greer Crossing Recreation Area to the Riverton Bridge Access (approximately 20 miles.) To shorten that up to a two day float, take out at Whitten Access instead. Greer to Turner for a one day through what may well be the best trout water on the river. On that float you have great river camping, great trout fishing, decent smallmouth fishing, and some of the most beautiful scenery in the midwestern United States. Never mind, make that some of the prettiest scenery anywhere in the United States. The Big Piney is another one you may consider. The float from Slabtown to Ross (approximately 15 miles) actually reminds me a lot of the Eleven Point River-wild country, tall bluffs, beautiful scenery etc, except that it is all smallmouth bass and goggle-eye. And it is truly a great smallmouth river. Both of those rivers are big-time flashflooders, so watch out for that if you camp. I'm sure you are fully aware of that, but I had to say it anyway...

I forgot about canoe rentals: Eleven Point Canoe and Hufstedlers on the Eleven Point, and Rich's Last Resort on the Big Piney (there are probably others.) I have no personal experience with these canoe rentals as I have my own and arrange my own shuttles. I also missed the part about needing showers where you camped. I think there may be showers at Greer, but since I have spent most of my nights down there camping on gravel bars, I have not actually looked into that. You can probably find that on the forest service website though. Good luck on your trip-you ought to have a good time on any of those rivers you listed.

Wow, sorry about that. That was a really unnecessarily long, rambling post.

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North Fork of the White River should be fine below Rainbow Spring. River of Life or Sunburst Ranch have everything you want or need, I prefer during the week during the summer.... but have to fish deeper than most folks are used to. 11 pt. is excellent also]

g

“If a cluttered desk is a sign, of a cluttered mind, of what then, is an empty desk a sign?”- Albert Einstein

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I guess you could rank them by category...

Scenery

Buffalo

Eleven Point

Big Piney

Gasconade

Black

St. Francis

Fishing

St. Francis

Gasconade

Big Piney

Eleven Point (I'm biased toward smallmouth)

Buffalo

Black

Fun and ease of floating

Eleven Point

Big Piney

Buffalo

Black

Gasconade

St. Francis

Least amount of doofus people on the river (just reverse this ranking for availability of canoe outfitters)

St. Francis

Gasconade

Big Piney

Eleven Point

Buffalo

Black

Just one thing, though...you really owe it to yourself to do the Buffalo from Buffalo Point to the White River at least one time in your life. But that stretch may not fit your criteria at this point. So of the streams I have ranked (I didn't rank the Elk because I've never floated it), here are the locations I'd recommend:

Buffalo--Buffalo Point. Always enough water to float (barely), plenty of canoe rental opportunities, nice one day floats both above and below.

Eleven Point--both private and public campgrounds in the Greer/Riverton area. Lots of floating possibilities for both trout and smallmouth.

Big Piney--Several possibilities. The Piney is generally always floatable for a long way upstream. Good campgrounds at Boiling Spring, at Ross Bridge, and near Devils Elbow. Best scenery is above Ross Bridge but fishing is good everywhere.

Gasconade--I like the scenery best in the middle sections between Hazelgreen and Jerome, but the fishing is good farther upstream as well and you won't encounter a lot of jetboats farther upstream. Good campgrounds and canoe rentals aren't common but can be found throughout.

Black--I think I'd opt for camping around K Bridge, rather than up around Lesterville where it gets REALLY crowded. Only one or two days of good floating on the upper Black between Lesterville and K Bridge in summer water levels, so your floating options are a bit limited.

St. Francis--as was said above, only one canoe outfitter, and they aren't the most accommodating people in the world when it comes to the floats they offer. But Sam A. Baker is a nice state park and if you can do it yourself the stretch between the Hwy. C/N bridge and Sam A. Baker offers a couple of nice floats with scenery that is quite different from most other Ozark streams.

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Can you recommend a canoe/shuttle service for the Buffalo float? How's the camping at Buffalo Point?

"Of all the liars among mankind, the fisherman is the most trustworthy."

"There's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot."

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Need good smallmouth fishing and a place to tent camp with showers and canoe rentals.

This narrows the list and in my experience leaves you with the Buffalo, if you don't want to float the same water more than one day. Tyler Bend and Buffalo Point both have showers and you could do above one day and below the next.

Today's release is tomorrows gift to another fisherman.

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This narrows the list and in my experience leaves you with the Buffalo, if you don't want to float the same water more than one day. Tyler Bend and Buffalo Point both have showers and you could do above one day and below the next.

Good point on the showers, Wayne...however, I believe that Sam A. Baker Park on the St. Francis has showers. Also, I think Boiling Springs Campground on the Gasconade, and Gasconade Hills farther up on the Gasconade, also has showers. Most of the big private campgrounds have them. Don't know about Rich's Last Resort on the Piney, or whatever the other campground is at the same location, but I suspect they have showers as well.

However, I really don't know for sure about all those campgrounds and how good they are, since I very seldom stay in developed campgrounds because it seems like every time I do, there are loud-mouthed drunken doofuses coming in at all hours of the night. When I do stay at a campground it's usually a private one, since they tend to be slightly more diligent about quiet times.

What I'd do is Google the names of all the rivers you might be interested in, and you'll come across various private campgrounds on them. Investigate from there.

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