The Beautiful Big River

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Big River near the Leadwood Access

“The river flows at its own sweet will, but the flood is bound in the two banks.  If it were not thus bound, its freedom would be wasted. “-Vinoba Bhave

One of Missouri’s scenic river ways is located in east-central Missouri.  The French called it Grande Riviere, we call it Big River.  The river is around 145 miles in length.  It begins in Iron County near the summit of Johnson Mountain.  It flows through Washington State Park’ St. Francois State Park and the Lead Belt mining district before flowing into the Meramec River.

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Big River above Washington State Park

Big River has some good fishing and some magnificent scenery.   The river holds largemouth, smallmouth, spotted and rock bass.  Anglers can also find longear sunfish, bluegill,  channel and flathead catfish, redhorse, suckers and drum.

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Largemouth Bass
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Smallmouth Bass
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Channel Catfish

Where the Big River flows through the old Leadbelt mining area there are pipes still visible up and down the river where they were used in the mines.  I am not sure what the pipe was used for but I was told they were put in to take oxygen into the mines but I don’t know for sure.  The DNR claims that there is some lead contamination and to avoid eating certain fish but I have been eating them for years and I am still alive and I don’t glow in the dark.

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Big ‘River above Leadwood access.

I have fished and photographed the Big River on several occasions.  I have had some great success casting, tight line and limb lines.  The water levels get low in the summer months and it has flooded way out of its banks twice in the last 15 months.  It is relatively shallow in most places with some deep holes scattered throughout the river.  I generally fish out of my kayak and pull a lot of all nighters during the summer and the peacefulness on the river at 2 am is to die for.  The nights are filled with the sounds of frogs, crickets and the occasional slap of a beaver’s tail on the water.  The coyotes yip and howl and once in awhile come out onto the gravel bar close enough for you to get a good look at them.  This summer two of my high school buddies and myself plan to put in on the Big River and float for 7 days and see how far we get.

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Big River near Mammoth access.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” –  Heraclitus

 

I hope you found the blog interesting.  Thanks for reading.  Remember to be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.

 

 

 

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