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Revisions for Big River in the new edition of the Paddler's Guide...


Al Agnew

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So I was contacted by MDC a year or more ago to ask me to write some revisions on Big River for the new edition of the Missouri Paddler's Guide, the book that replaced Missouri Ozark Waterways.  The edition is now out.  In all previous editions, mile 0.0 was the road just off Highway 67 north of Bonne Terre, and there hasn't been an access there for many years.  Plus, there are plenty of miles on Big River above there that are floatable.  So I wrote up the descriptions of the river upstream.  Mile 0.0 is now what has always been called Mounts, from the company that once had a gravel operation there, at the bridge on the Benny Meyer Road, almost 30 miles above the old mile 0.0.  That bridge has always been a popular access, but is now a private fee access.  The first public access is the Leadwood MDC Access at mile 7.8.
Big River suffers these days from poor accesses and in places non-existent accesses, compared to what it once had.  For instance, there are no good public accesses between the new mile 11.1, what was once known as Bone Hole and is now Owl Creek County Park, and St. Francois State Park at mile 26.8, and from the lower park access at mile 28 to the Washington State Park boat ramp off Highway 21 at mile 48.6.  Some of us know people or are willing to use very inconvenient and questionable accesses in between, and the Cherokee Landing fee access is usable and Steve has an in to a private access for upstream floats, but for the most part access to upper Big is difficult.   

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18 minutes ago, Al Agnew said:

So I was contacted by MDC a year or more ago to ask me to write some revisions on Big River for the new edition of the Missouri Paddler's Guide, the book that replaced Missouri Ozark Waterways.  The edition is now out.  In all previous editions, mile 0.0 was the road just off Highway 67 north of Bonne Terre, and there hasn't been an access there for many years.  Plus, there are plenty of miles on Big River above there that are floatable.  So I wrote up the descriptions of the river upstream.  Mile 0.0 is now what has always been called Mounts, from the company that once had a gravel operation there, at the bridge on the Benny Meyer Road, almost 30 miles above the old mile 0.0.  That bridge has always been a popular access, but is now a private fee access.  The first public access is the Leadwood MDC Access at mile 7.8.
Big River suffers these days from poor accesses and in places non-existent accesses, compared to what it once had.  For instance, there are no good public accesses between the new mile 11.1, what was once known as Bone Hole and is now Owl Creek County Park, and St. Francois State Park at mile 26.8, and from the lower park access at mile 28 to the Washington State Park boat ramp off Highway 21 at mile 48.6.  Some of us know people or are willing to use very inconvenient and questionable accesses in between, and the Cherokee Landing fee access is usable and Steve has an in to a private access for upstream floats, but for the most part access to upper Big is difficult.   

Didn’t you take me on a float at the 0.0 mark a few years back?

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

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My mile 0.0 is usually Bootleg off 21.  We did Terre Du Lac to Leadwood Sat.  Fishing was slow, about 4 hour float.  Lots of mine vents or tunes in that part.

Best part is Irondale to Mounts.  Never been past Leadwood until down at St Francois State Park.

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

Hunter S. Thompson

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When we were kids, we would watch my Grandpa and Uncle Nip hand fish in the upper stretches where he was raised at Enough. Wasn't any chance I was sticking my hand under rocks and logs to fish. Wife Susie caught an 18" smallmouth just below the dam at Council Bluff when we were first dating. Never knew what mile post marker any of the stream was listed as. 

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24 minutes ago, tjm said:

What is the point of a mile marker on a map anyway, if I have no way to measure the water. None of my boats or canoes came with an odometer. 

I’ve always used them for planning trips. That way I know how many miles we will do in a day. And if you spend a little time with a map you can easily figure out where you are. If you have cell service it makes it much easier but that’s not always possible. But either way it’s good information to know if there is some kind of emergency. 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, tjm said:

What is the point of a mile marker on a map anyway, if I have no way to measure the water. None of my boats or canoes came with an odometer. 

I’ve always used them for planning trips. That way I know how many miles we will do in a day. And if you spend a little time with a map you can easily figure out where you are. If you have cell service it makes it much easier but that’s not always possible. But either way it’s good information to know if there is some kind of emergency. 
 

I’ve seen this happen on numerous multiple day floats. Mile markers were great for that. 
 

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Obviously you are smarter than I, I'd have no idea how many miles I could drift in a day or an hour on an unknown stream. I could count the road crossings and feeder streams  and make a guess of where on the map I was, maybe.

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I use a magellan topo gps system.  Helps keep track of where I am to see how much longer I have to go.  A person can get tied up in good fishing and forget that darkness comes every day.  The topo map on the gps I have shows the long holes and ones to paddle thru to make time for fishing the best water.  The magellan system is outdated, but still works on 2 double AA batteries all day.

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

Hunter S. Thompson

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