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Big River Info?


moguy1973

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I've always wanted to fish the mid to upper parts Big River but never really knew much about it. The only place I've really ever fished it is at the Byrnes Mill access.

Are there places to wade fish further up, and if so where are the best access points for that? I've heard that Moorse Mill is a good place to start. Any info is appreciated!

-- Jim

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles. -- Doug Larson

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I've always wanted to fish the mid to upper parts Big River but never really knew much about it. The only place I've really ever fished it is at the Byrnes Mill access.

Are there places to wade fish further up, and if so where are the best access points for that? I've heard that Moorse Mill is a good place to start. Any info is appreciated!

Search Al Agnew's threads about Big River. He's pretty much covered it here from top to bottom. The MDC Paddler's Guide will give you the basic access points, and there are more if you research them.

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Ditto to searching for Al's posts, especially one about two weeks ago in a thread titled 200 Mo Smallmouth Adventures. In that he lists several great resources and the local branch of the St L County Library can get "200 Mo Smallmouth Adventures" for you. I'm reading it now and it has far more detail, especially upstream from the MDC Paddlers book.

As one of the newest of the new guys, I can't tell you fishy answers yet, though I expect to be out learning some of those this coming week. :D

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Big River is fairly shallow upstream from Washington State Park. Below, there are lots of pools that are too deep to conveniently wade. You'll find deep pools all the way up to St. Francois State Park as well, but wading is at least somewhat doable between St. Francois Park and Washington Park.

Upstream from St. Francois Park, you're in the water that has been most affected by erosion of mine tailings into the river. It's shallow and wadeable nearly everywhere between Desloge and St. Francois Park, but often you'll encounter loose tailings where your feet sink a foot into the gravel at every step, so it can be tiring to wade in that section.

Above Desloge, the water gets better with a lot of deeper pools, but it's still decent wading. You can fish it all the way up to the Bootleg MDC Access on Hwy. 21 south of Potosi.

Good public accesses where you can reach wading water would include Washington State Park (although you'll encounter some deep water both upstream and downstream that might force you to the banks in some places), the Hwy. 21 Washington Park boat ramp (deep water right around the ramp but once you get below that pool you have a mile or so of good wading water--upstream there is a pool right above the bridge that might cause problems for the wading angler).

St. Francois State Park--lots of good wading water within the park and upstream.

The old Hwy. 67 bridge (right next to the present 67 bridges, reached from the Desloge exit)--good wading water both upstream and downstream, although if you go downstream you'll come to an armpit deep pool in less than a half mile.

Leadwood MDC access--about a half mile of wadeable water downstream, big deep pools upstream.

Bridge just upstream from the Hwy. 8 bridge where there's a big gravel operation--decent but tricky wading downstream, good wading on bedrock bottom, lots of shallow water but holds some fish, upstream.

Bootleg Access--good wading upstream and downstream.

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  • 1 month later...
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Waded the river today at Cedar Hill Park. Not much happening, nice stretch of river but not real good for wading. I caught one little pumpkinseed and hooked something "bassy" that spit the hook before I landed him. I will have to come back with a canoe and a wider lure selection. And I will be back!

"Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing." John 21:3 KJV

If you don't catch 'em at night, try again in the morning.

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