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Big Piney Report


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I just got home from a two camp day trip on the special smallmouth management area on the Big Piney. I love this float. With massive bluffs towering over the river, fertile but cool water, and excellent smallmouth fishing, it's really one of my favorites. I took a trip with a couple of friends this time, and the ones that were seeing this stretch of the river for the first time they were really impressed. And the fishing was excellent.

We put in at 1 o'clock on Saturday after the long drive and putting a car at the take out first. We had Rebel Craws tied on and were ready for business. The first cast produced the first fish of the trip-a longear sunfish, small but colorful and about as pretty as they come. Within five minutes I also had my first smallie. From then on, the fishing was just silly. It wasn't a smallmouth on every cast, but I'm not sure ten minutes ever went by without a hook up. The fish mostly were anywhere from 8 to 15 inches, but there were some smaller and a few larger. The fish of the day was a 17 inch beauty that put up such a fight that I was sure I had a five pounder on. As I was paddling under bluffs that were hundreds of feet tall and catching more smallmouth than any human being has a right to, I thought to myself how happy I was to live with a couple hours of this good of scenery and fishing. On the first day, I saw not one other floater, although there was one other group camped on a gravel bar. We set up camp around 7 PM, and got the steaks and taters grilling. There is nothing quite like sitting around a campfire after a day of floating a beautiful Ozark river, listening to the stream, the frogs, the birds, and eating a great camp dinner. Nothing better. After dinner, it was just about completely dark, but I decided to take a few casts. Just standing in the river, with the moon and the stars reflecting off it, and just knowing that you're on a wild river, and catching the occasional fat goggle-eye that wanted an after dinner snack. Not a bad way to end the day.

The next morning my friend, who is a morning person (I'm not) woke me up around 6 AM for a little wade fishing before cooking breakfast and taking down camp. I was a little annoyed not to be able to sleep in, but it turned out to be well worth it. In the relative cool of the early morning, the bass were on. I was just standing in the riffle, casting down and across stream, and basically just keeping a tight line, and letting the current give the crankbait its action. It worked great. We were into one smallmouth after another, and I turned out to be happy I hadn't slept in. Then breakfast (cinnamon roll oatmeal and a couple of some kind of processed pastry thing from walmart that will shorten my life by at least five years), taking down camp, and launching for the second day.The fishing started off really good, and stayed that way until we got down to the access where the outfitters start putting people in in large numbers, about halfway through our float today. Then, as some on here predicted, the before nearly empty river filled up with the party crowd. The ambience and natural feel of the river took a severe downhill turn, and so did the fishing-although this lower part of the float actually has some of the best scenery. The crowds weren't like the Current or the Niangua would be on a weekend like this, but it really wasn't far off. And it was the full spectacle of a section of Ozark river that is serviced by canoe rentals-lots of drunk people who had no clue what they were doing having extreme difficulty in very mild class 1 riffles. I guess they were having fun too, just in kind of a different way, so I shouldn't criticize them. Still it can begin to get a little annoying.

The slower fishing on the lower end of the float might not have been as much due to the crowds as the heat. And it was hot today, no mistaking that. There was lots of getting out to the boat to swim, and were very glad multiple times throughout the day that the Big Piney is spring-fed and cool. It was a real life-saver today. We caught some fish right up to the take out though. The fishing didn't stop dead, it just slowed down quite a bit. All things together, it was a great trip on a great stretch of river, and whatever small downsides there may have been were well worth it.

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I'm in Rolla and have been wanting to fish the Big Piney for about 3 years now. Do you think I could pull off a single day float on this stretch, or would that not leave enough time for fishing? I think if I start around 7am where you put in and maybe take out at 6 crossings, it might be possible. Ideas?

I really want to get out on a decent smallmouth float while staying away from the crowds without using a shuttle service. I really need something to focus on instead of school, and planning a trip would be perfect.

Rob

WARNING!! Comments to be interpreted at own risk.

Time spent fishing is never wasted.

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The float from Slabtown to Six Crossings would be doable if you got an early start. The access at six crossings is privately owned, so they might charge you a small fee to use it since you're not going through a canoe rental. I don't know for sure. I've never used it before.

The float from 6x to Ross would be the easier one day float, but honestly I can't really recommend that due to the crowds at least on the weekends. You might well be the only one on the river between Slabtown and Six Crossings, but below there it really does kind of become your typical party river, even though the scenery is still really good.

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I think I'd like to try the slabtown to 6x. I've been past Slabtown before on my way to Paddy Creek Wilderness, but never stopped. How do you get to 6x?

Rob

WARNING!! Comments to be interpreted at own risk.

Time spent fishing is never wasted.

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Oh, how I love the Piney.... just not the crowds on the weekends. I always go on Tuesdayshave-a-nice-day.png Great report and it's sounds like a great camp on the river to me. There really isn't anything like waking up deep in the river valley to rouse the soul.

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Guest P. owensby

I just got home from a two camp day trip on the special smallmouth management area on the Big Piney. I love this float. With massive bluffs towering over the river, fertile but cool water, and excellent smallmouth fishing, it's really one of my favorites. I took a trip with a couple of friends this time, and the ones that were seeing this stretch of the river for the first time they were really impressed. And the fishing was excellent.

We put in at 1 o'clock on Saturday after the long drive and putting a car at the take out first. We had Rebel Craws tied on and were ready for business. The first cast produced the first fish of the trip-a longear sunfish, small but colorful and about as pretty as they come. Within five minutes I also had my first smallie. From then on, the fishing was just silly. It wasn't a smallmouth on every cast, but I'm not sure ten minutes ever went by without a hook up. The fish mostly were anywhere from 8 to 15 inches, but there were some smaller and a few larger. The fish of the day was a 17 beauty that put up such a fight that I was sure I had a five pounder on. As I was paddling under bluffs that were hundreds of feet tall and catching more smallmouth than any human being has a right to, I thought to myself how happy I was to live with a couple hours of this good of scenery and fishing. On the first day, I saw not one other floater, although there was one other group camped on a gravel bar. We set up camp around 7 PM, and got the steaks and taters grilling. There is nothing quite like sitting around a campfire after a day of floating a beautiful Ozark river, listening to the stream, the frogs, the birds, and eating a great camp dinner. Nothing better. After dinner, it was just about completely dark, but I decided to take a few casts. Just standing in the river, with the moon and the stars reflecting off it, and just knowing that you're on a wild river, and catching the occasional fat goggle-eye that wanted an after dinner snack. Not a bad way to end the day.

The next morning my friend, who is a morning person (I'm not) woke me up around 6 AM for a little wade fishing before cooking breakfast and taking down camp. I was a little annoyed not to be able to sleep in, but it turned out to be well worth it. In the relative cool of the early morning, the bass were on. I was just standing in the riffle, casting down and across stream, and basically just keeping a tight line, and letting the current give the crankbait its action. It worked great. We were into one smallmouth after another, and I turned out to be happy I hadn't slept in. Then breakfast (cinnamon roll oatmeal and a couple of some kind of processed pastry thing from walmart that will shorten my life by at least five years), taking down camp, and launching for the second day.The fishing started off really good, and stayed that way until we got down to the access where the outfitters start putting people in in large numbers, about halfway through our float today. Then, as some on here predicted, the before nearly empty river filled up with the party crowd. The ambience and natural feel of the river took a severe downhill turn, and so did the fishing-although this lower part of the float actually has some of the best scenery. The crowds weren't like the Current or the Niangua would be on a weekend like this, but it really wasn't far off. And it was the full spectacle of a section of Ozark river that is serviced by canoe rentals-lots of drunk people who had no clue what they were doing having extreme difficulty in very mild class 1 riffles. I guess they were having fun too, just in kind of a different way, so I shouldn't criticize them. Still it can begin to get a little annoying.

The slower fishing on the lower end of the float might not have been as much due to the crowds as the heat. And it was hot today, no mistaking that. There was lots of getting out to the boat to swim, and were very glad multiple times throughout the day that the Big Piney is spring-fed and cool. It was a real life-saver today. We caught some fish right up to the take out though. The fishing didn't stop dead, it just slowed down quite a bit. All things together, it was a great trip on a great stretch of river, and whatever small downsides there may have been were well worth it.

Digged the report. First day sounded like perfection (or as close as you can get to it!) and the camping and fishin' on the gravel bar capped off the great day, nice summary!!!!
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Steller report OTF!!! That story is what the Ozarks are all about.

Was that a Rebel Craw or a Wee Craw that you used?????

Chief Grey Bear

Living is dangerous to your health

Owner Ozark Fishing Expeditions

Co-Owner, Chief Executive Product Development Team Jerm Werm

Executive Pro Staff Team Agnew

Executive Pro Staff Paul Dallas Productions

Executive Pro Staff Team Heddon, River Division

Chief Primary Consultant Missouri Smallmouth Alliance

Executive Vice President Ronnie Moore Outdoors

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Steller report OTF!!! That story is what the Ozarks are all about.

Was that a Rebel Craw or a Wee Craw that you used?????

Glad you enjoyed the report. We used Rebel Wee Craws for the most part, but also did pretty well on the larger Rebel Craws.
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