Safety First!

I live in southeast Missouri and kayaking has become very popular. On the weekends the area rivers become very crowded with kayakers. I see so many that aren’t wearing life jackets. I myself used to be one of them. One day I just happened to put it on and ended up dumped in class II water and if it wasn’t for my life jacket I would have drowned.

For those of you who don’t know the water classes:

A – Lake water; still

Class I – Easy smooth water, light ruffles, clear passages, occasional sand banks and gentle curves

Class II – Moderate

Class Iii – moderate difficult

Class IV – Difficult

Class V – extremely difficult

Class VI – extraordinarily difficult

Safety devices have a purpose in life and are there to keep you safe.

I know they are cumbersome and can get in the way but they can save your life. There are those in your life that would appreciate you using one.

I have been boating and kayaking for 50 years. Never came close to drowning until that one dreadful day. It wasn’t the first time I had been dumped. Unfortunately when learning something new unplanned things happen due to the lack of experience.

Just keep in mind when you get in that kayak or boat that the decision as to jacket or not could be a life saving decision.

In closing I would like to remind everyone that if you pack it to the river take it home with you. Please don’t leave your trash on the river or lake. Keep our water ways clean.

Spread the love and be kind to one another. “

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.

 

 

 

A Day on the Bourbeuse River

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Bourbeuse River

A year ago I launched the yak on the Bourbeuse River near Union, MO.  It was a nice sunny day and by 12:30 pm the temp had climbed to 44 degrees.  This was a few weeks after the big flood that hit the area and as  you can tell by the pics the river was dropping.  I couldn’t believe the destruction on the river caused by the record flood.  Some places I didn’t even recognize and this was a stretch of the river I  knew well.

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Bourbeuse River

One of my dreams has always been to document the river with my camera after a snowfall.  I had been hoping for a little more snow but beggars can’t be choosy.  Needless to say, I pretty much had the river to myself all day.  The water temp was COLD I tells ya.  I sure would have hated to turn the yak over that day.

I did manage to have a beaver stop by and visit and a hawk seemed to be following me down the river. (beaver is in pic on left and hawk in pic on right)

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Bourbeuse River

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Bourbeuse River

It was a great day.  Weather was great and the river was very photogenic.

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Bourbeuse River 

“Have you also learned that secret from the river;  that there is no such thing as time?  That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.” – Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha