Anybody fish between noel MO and ginger blue lately? we spent a few vacations there about thirty yrs ago and the small mouth fishing was Great.but I haven't been in that area since,just wondering if the fishing was still any good.
The Elk River still fishes pretty well for smallmouth and goggle-eye, and the high water the past few seasons should mean fishing will just get better in five years or so. There's been lots of downed timber though, with the ice-storms that area's been getting the past few winters. Most canoe outfitters get it cut before Memorial Day, but there should be some excellent in-stream structure to fish.
I haven't heard anyone refer to Ginger Blue in years! I only floated the Elk a couple of times as a kid, but floated and fished the Big Sugar at least a couple of times a year while growing up.
Several paternal uncles and near-relative's families started out staying at Wylies, then moved to Crag O'Lea, and finally settled on Mack's Big Rock Camp. For a fish crazy kid, it was a blast. Smallies, goggle-eyes, and pumpkinseeds could keep me entertained all day long.
Now, I drive right by Pineville - the new highway passed it by - on my way home to Kansas from the Louisiana coast or somewhere else salty and tell my fishing buddy we ought to come down and float the Sugar some time. But, we haven't done it yet. He, like my family, was friends with Mack and Bea back when they owned the camp.
Thanks for bringing back a little nostalgia in the name of a long forgotten tiny town in SW Missouri!
I haven't fished it in awhile, but the area in general has high water now. I do know that. Generally speaking, that's good for fishing around there compared to the past decade of drought.
If you haven't fished that area in several years, though, you're going to notice right away that turbidity is way up...mostly increase in algae blooms as a result of massive corp ag consolidated animal feeding operations (mostly poultry) in the watershed allowed to expand unbridled by the MO Dept of Natural Resources...which is so in the tank to MO Farm Bureau that the situation is hopeless. Flatslandercp will be happy to know that carp populations are soaring in those streams and the lake coves in that part of the watershed as a direct result. LOL
One might think at first blush that all the rainfall would help flush things out and improve water quality, but that would be wrong. Karst topography doesn't filter ground water or surface runoff effectively. And heavy rains just carry all the ****, fertilizer, hormones, pesticides, herbicides, and antibiotics right to the streams and then into the lakes. So you get algae, hormones, dead insect populations, and dead micro-organisms that "scrub" the water clean. Thank you MO DNR! The state of OK has already been sueing (and winning) the state of AR and has been threatening to sue MO over water quality issues in this region for the past several years because of waters that flow out of AR and MO and into OK being below Clean Water Act standards. If you haven't floated or fished these streams in a decade, you probably find that hard to believe.
I sort of "starred" in an award-winning documentary titled, "We All Live Downstream" in 2008 on this very subject in this very watershed. The title is even a quote from something I said in the movie. So this thread hit sort of close to "home." Sorry for the sermon on fisheries conservation and water quality environmental activism.
If I were you, I'd go ready to fish for bass and carp. The fishing there is still pretty darned excellent! So don't think I'm saying it sucks. I'm saying it isn't what it once was, and that it will suck in another decade if folks don't change their ways.
Thanks for the info.believe it or not, as redneck as it seems, I spent my honeymoon camped on the elk fly fishing! that was 37 yrs ago,went back once since.I was so disgusted with all the graffiti painted on every rock I stayed about a hour.(what a needless bunch of ****!).I need to get back up that way, , had some really good times there as a kid,and when someone mentions smallmouth fishing thats the place i still think of first.
the mo ozarks was largely taken over by biker types in the 1970s. their kids and their kid's kids have little respect for the environment, natural beauty, that sort of stuff. they love things like crystal meth, everclear punch, jello shots, spray paint, heavy metal blaring in a campsite through the night, and leaving their trash behind when the orgy is over.
I don't want to get too political, but that's an awfully broad brush-stroke. The Ozarks are an economically depressed region, and suffer many of the issues and blights of economically depressed regions throughout the US.
I haven't spent much time in the Elk River watershed, but did do some work on the Spring River watershed, and Shoal Creek, up near Joplin. A pretty stream, lots of fish, but severely impacted by past lead and zinc mining, as well as urbanization. Definitely saw some gross stuff...
One of my favorite encounters was talking with a landowner/rancher who worked several hundred acres at the Missouri/Kansas state line. A few years before this encounter a new sewage treatment facility had been installed just upstream of his property. He artificially inseminated his cows, and the pregnancy percentage went from the high 80% to around 30%, I believe. NRCS came out and said the fertility loss was the result of hormones being emitted from the upstream sewage treatment plant. He switched to well water, and the pregnancy rate jumped back up to the high 80's....
Another- we spent a week in the area knocking on doors, looking for landowners who would allow access to the streams running through their property. We were getting lots of cold shoulders and stern looks- no one wanted the gubbmint on their property. Until Wednesday, when everyone was friendly and cordial and more than willing to have you come take a look at the stream...
It turned out the Department of Natural Resources had closed the stream to bodily contact due to the level of e. coli in the water.
i'm not suggesting everyone in the ozarks is like that. far from it! i'm saying that you used to never see that sort of stuff, but that's the element that moved in and is responsible for it.
fyi, my family roots are in the ozarks back to the mid-1800s when they were first settled. and my wife and i lived in branson/springfield from 1998-2008. i've lived in or vacationed in the ozarks all my life from the banks of the meramec river to the spring river in arkansas and over to lake taneycomo in branson. my knowledge of the ozarks is both highly personal and informed by the fact that i have a degree in history and am a professional journalist. but on re-reading what i posted, i could see how someone might think i was saying that only that type of people lived in the ozarks. so i wanted to clarify that.
sorry if I inavertantly started a squabble here.but i'm sorry , Bubba loves lu-lu ,swastikas,joe blow was here, painted on everything is not a sign of economic depression,it pure idiodic vandalism! and believe me ,having spent enough time in a dirt floored shack ,I know those folks care as much about their land as anyone.And they also understand very well that one tourist/fisherman will spend more money in a week than they will see in 3 months.My comment was about the practice in general. That being said ,as far as the pollution issues go ,being involved in ranching and farming all my life,as well as being involved in hunting and fishing ive saw both sides of the story first hand.I understand the farmers trying to make a living from their land haveing to use the fertilizer and pesticides to make a crop.And ive seen first hand literally hundreds of bass ,crappie, and bluegill,some trophy size floating dead in a runoff lake from the misuse of them.Not to mention sick cattle aborting calves,dead wildlife and all the other terrible things.Its a real problem that has no easy,fast answers.I have been very lucky/blessed in my life to have fished and hunted in lots of wonderful areas of this country.But i was raised up in it as a natural part of our lives,when we was just small kids dad would take us hunting and fishing as often as possible,we practically grew up outdoors.But he had a couple of concrete rules that you never broke even fifty years ago.(1)never start a campfire below the high water line,it was his firm belief even then that someone cooking on a open fire would pour their cooking grease in the fire and that would eventually get into the water(2)on the day we left,whether we were on the yellowstone,the elk river ,a private lake,or any of the hundreds of unnamed creeks we fished around this country ,every bit of trash would be picked up as far up and down the river/lake as he could see.it was his unquestionable belief that this was "OUR"country and it was "OUR" responsibility to keep it up.It kills my poor old soul to see a bunch of idiots marking it up for the simple sake of their amusement.I dont mean to offend anyone but thats just the way I believe,we have all seen the decline of the natural places in our country in our short lifetimes( and thanks to folks like you and others its restoration in places),to think of someone spray painting it all makes me want to throw up.keep up the good work!