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Got out today after work for a bit at a Eureka area Boat ramp and found the river up just a tad with a little color. Hooked a couple of smallmouth though so I was pretty satisfied! Where’s the furthest south on this river you have caught smallmouth? Below 141? The Eureka boat ramps are where they stop for me. 
 

Also, found a ton of stinging nettle. Luckily getting in the water quickly after being pricked diminishes the effects quickly. I don’t remember this plant ever being around when I was a little kid and spent a whole lot more time in the woods. Is this new to the area? Looks like it’s indigenous to Europe.

 

 

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There's an entire trail at Castlewood SP called the Stinging Nettle trail and the trail has been around for a while so...

My biggest smallie came from the area you were fishing.  Stories have been told that the area just north of 44 near the mini train station at Glencoe used to be one of the best places for big smallies on the Meramec, but not so much anymore.

-- 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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2 hours ago, jfrith said:

Hmmmm, that’s interesting. Wonder why it’s changed. Pollution, more large flooding events, spotted bass?

I’m sure Spotted Bass, Asian Carp, loss of habitat all play a factor. 25 years ago a well known guide once said “the closer you are to STL, the bigger the smallmouth get” doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

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

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16 hours ago, jfrith said:

Hmmmm, that’s interesting. Wonder why it’s changed. Pollution, more large flooding events, spotted bass?

All of that plus more unstable river dynamics due to runoff and urban growth. Plus what Mitch said. 

-- 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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All the factors mentioned, but in my opinion spotted bass were the worst thing to happen to the smallmouth on the lower Meramec.  You can still find some pretty decent smallmouth habitat here and there, but usually all you'll catch in that habitat these days will be spotted bass.  I caught some big smallmouth back in the 1970s on the river around Pacific and Eureka, when spotted bass were completely absent.  It's the same with lower Big River...I floated it back when you would catch plenty of smallmouth in any moving water area all the way to the mouth of the river.  Now all you'll catch in those same areas is spotted bass, with a very few exceptions.

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That’s a shame to hear. Is there any way to eradicate a species of fish from a stream? Doesn’t seem likely other than just killing all that are caught and even then I would imagine they would come back up from the Mississippi. I know it’s been talked about to death on here before but why are the spots just now (relatively recently) establishing themselves in the Meramec and other Missouri streams?

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