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Phil Lilley
Phil Lilley

Elevenpoint River

The Eleven Point River is one of the most diverse and beautiful fisheries in Missouri.  The Eleven Point is Missouri's only National Scenic and Wild Riverway and runs in large part through the Mark Twain National Forest.  Fed by numerous springs, the river abounds with wildlife not only below the water's surface but also along its banks.  The forested banks of the Eleven Point along with the many bluffs and some caves all make the Eleven Point probably the most pristine of the Missouri Ozark float streams.  By being a little off the beaten path, the Eleven Point does not get nearly the traffic as the other famous float rivers in Missouri.

As for fishing, the Eleven Point offers quality rainbow trout fishing for about 20 miles and boasts one of the only reproducing populations.  Other species of note are smallmouth bass, goggle-eye, chain pickerel, and walleye.

Trout fishing starts at the confluence of the Greer Spring branch and the river.  Greer is the world's 10th largest spring and doubles the size of the river while turning it into a cold water fishery.  This is the beginning of the blue ribbon trout section and it extends about six miles to Turner Mill Spring.  Flies and artificial lures are only are allowed (soft plastic and baits are prohibited); the limit is one fish at 18 inches or longer.  There is a strong population in this section of river.  The trout have taken hold and are very healthy.  The average trout caught are 12-14 inches, and there are plenty of trophy-sized fish that are just a lot tougher to catch.

The Eleven Point is deeper than most Ozarks trout streams and is difficult to wade for long stretches between shoals.  Therefore, watercraft is advisable.  You must be willing to go a little deeper for fish than in most rivers in this region.  Dry fly fishing is a rarity on the Eleven Point.  A 9-foot, 5- to 6-weight fly rod works best on this river.  The following is a list of recommended flies:

-Don's Crawdad --This is one of the most productive patterns on the Eleven Point.  There are tons of crawdads in the river and they are a major food source.  Fish this small crawdad under a strike indicator and look for takes on the dead drift and the swing.  As with most things you fish here, you need to get it to the bottom for the best results.

-M.O.A.T. (mother of all tungsten)- This is a stonefly like pattern with three tungsten beads, peacock dubbing, and rubber legs.  It really gets down and catches fish.  Use it as a lead fly and attach different smaller droppers.

  • bh peasant tail
  • soft hackle peasant tail
  • hare's ear  in tan, olive and black
  • in-cased caddis (mostly green pupae, but do have some cream-colored ones)
  • bh crackle back
  • egg in fall through December
  • midge pupae
  • copper johns (variety of colors)
  • san Juan worms, especially after a rain
  • stone flies in black or brown will work most of the year, although use gold from late August through the first part of November
  • leech patterns --Mohair and bunny leeches work well in tan, olive and black
  • wooly buggers (variety of sizes and colors)
  • sculpins and other streamer patterns, something to imitate a little rainbow trout

The 14 miles below Turner Mill to Riverton (Hwy 160 bridge) is stocked regularly and is designated as white ribbon.  The limit is four trout per day of any size and  any lures and baits are allowed.  All of the above flies and lures still apply to this area.  In addition many spin fishermen report good luck using little rubber grubs, minnows, worms and Power Bait.

Eleven Point River Trip - Fall 2015 from Focal Imaging LLC on Vimeo.

Floating the Elevenpoint River

To the experienced canoeist, the Eleven Point is a relatively easy river (Class I and Class II on the International Scale) requiring intermediate experience. Snags, trees and root wads still remain the most dangerous of all obstacles and, on occasion, may require scouting from shore. Although canoes are the time-tested means of travel through fast water, flat bottom jon boats are used on the river, primarily for fishing trips. You may encounter some boats with motors. Motor boats are restricted to a 25-horsepower limit.

Canoeists should learn to read the water ahead. Whitewater riffles mean that rocks lie very close to the water surface, and you are about to enter a "chute" where water flows faster. The safest course to follow is the smooth water, shaped like a "V" pointing downstream. Watch out for root wads! Water rushes under and through the exposed roots of fallen trees and creates  hazardous conditions. Learn to avoid obstructions. Back paddle as to change positions or use "draw" or "pry" strokes to move laterally.

From OA Forum by Bob Steffen:

Short 2 Day, trout intensive trek - Greer to Whitten 11.5 mi:

  • Camp night before at Greer Access (NE intersection of MO-19 @ River).  Allow 1 hour to visit Greer Spring (drive to the Spring Trail, S of river, W of MO-19 - then hike 1 mile down plus one mile back up).  Or, allow 1 more hour to drive up to see the old mill at Falling Spring.  Fish under the MO-19 bridge, upstream, and wherever you can cast to the south bank.  Turn in early and get a good night sleep.
  • See Eleven Point Canoe Rental for canoe and logistics.  Get latest fishing conditions from Brian.  Get on the river as early as possible.
  • Spend lots of time fishing the side waters of the 1st island and below.  Be heavy, get down, get deep.  Stop and fish a lot.  Great spots consecutively appear.
  • Stop immediately below Mary Decker shoals and throw heavy stuff at the pigs that live beneath those boulders.
  • Stop at Turner Mill north access and hike up to see the old mill wheel and the spring.
  • Camp at Stinking Pond (5 mi and not smelly in the springtime) or Horseshoe Bend (9 mi) Forest Service Float camps.  (Fish channel immediately upstream and waters across river from either Float camp).  Stay up late.  Enjoy the solitude.  Watch the eagles and bats hunt.  Keep an eye out for bears.
  • Leisurely morning.  Fish to Whitten.  This is only 5 miles from Stinking Pond and even closer to Horseshoe Bend.  More great fishing, so take your time and enjoy.  All the way, you will need a strategy to keep the river from pulling you downstream faster than you want/need to go.
  • Take out at Whitten

Long 2 Day, fishing/exploration trek - Greer to Riverton 19 mi:

  • All of the above, plus:
  • Start catching 50-50 rainbows and smallmouth below Horseshoe Bend.  Don's crawdad fly and Rebel Craw lure are hard to beat.
  • Camp at Horseshoe Bend (9 mi), Barnhollow (10 mi), Whites Creek (12 mi), or Greenbriar (14 mi).  Note:  Each of these float camps is a short distance up an inlet/feeder creek.  Some are not marked well.  They all have flat tent space, fire rings, nice latrines, and decent fishing nearby; making them good campsite options.
  • Be sure to check out the Boze Mill Spring on right, about 2 miles upstream from Riverton.  Throw something meaty and deep downstream of the spring outlet, north shore.
  • Take out at Riverton, US-160.  If early, fish west side of river bank.

Long 3 Day, trout & smallmouth trek - Greer to The Narrows 30 miles:

  • It doesn't get any better than this, unless you've got all week.
  • 90% smallmouth downstream of US-160.  Rooster tail spinners (slower retrieve than trout).

River Levels


Elevenpoint River Levels near Ravenden Springs, AR


Elevenpoint River Levels near Bardley, MO


Access and Campsites-

Fishing Regulations


5.5 miles Oregon County Greer Spring Branch junction to Turner Mill Access At least 18 inches

Daily Limit 1

Artificial lures and flies only
No Red Ribbon Area on the Eleven Point
14.2 miles Oregon County Downstream from Turner Mill Access Rainbow trout - none.
Brown trout - at least 15 inches.
Daily limit- 4 trout. No bait restrictions

*Limits: 4 trout daily. 8 possession. (no size restriction)

*Brown trout state-wide limit is 15 inches.


Smallmouth Bass: They are found throughout the system.  Statewide season on bass in rivers and streams is open from the 4th Saturday of May till the last day in February annually.

From Thomasville Access to the Arkansas line:
Goggle-eye—8 inch minimum length limit.  15 daily. 30 possession.
Smallmouth bass—15 inch minimum length limit. The daily limit of 6 black bass may include only 1 smallmouth bass.

Walleye and Sauger: These fish are found closer to the Arkansas border. The better walleye fishing is in Arkansas.

4 daily, 8 possession. 18-inch minimum length.

Chain Pickerel: 6 daily, 12 possession

Fishing Licenses -

Residents - those fishing of the ages of 16 and older and 65 are required to have on their person a valid Missouri fishing license. Those 65 and older do not need a fishing license.

Proof of residency - Valid Missouri Drivers License.

Non-residents - those fishing of the ages of 16 and older are required to have on their person a valid Missouri fishing license.

A Missouri TROUT STAMP is required for ANYONE who fishes the trophy or Blue Ribbon area on the Current River, regardless if the angler is keeping or releasing their catch. (New March 1, 2005)

Cost- (prior to 3/31/20)

Resident - $12 annual (March 1 thru last day of February)
Border Permit - $10
Non-Resident - $42 annual (March 1 thru last day of February)
Daily Permit - $7 (midnight to midnight)

Buy Missouri Fishing Licenses Online!

Report Violations - Poachers

In cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Operation Game Theft works to stop the illegal taking of fish and wildlife that includes trophy animals and rare and endangered species.



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I love this kind of terrain that Southeastern Missouri has to offer. In my youth I used to do a lot a backpacking in and around Johnson Shut-ins, that was before the Tom Sauk reservoir broke, very similar looking terrain, well it used to be.

I am not a trout/ fly fisher man, but that 1st video makes me think I should explore the sport.

Great article !  

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Hi all - Wondering at what level the Eleven Point is OK to fish? Currently after some rain last week (November 2019) it looks like it is high 500+ cfs, 1.2 height... Is this fishable? Thanks in advance!

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