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5 Rivers you must try fishing in missouri

current river
Current River Smallmouth Fishing

The Current might seem like an overly obvious and even boring choice for one of Missouri's Top 5 Rivers. You might think of it as the party river for a bunch of rabble rousing drunks.  Well, if you are interested in some outrageously great fishing, and you are willing to be a bit creative to avoid the crowds, this river can be a real memory maker.

How can you go wrong on a river that might contend for being both the best smallmouth bass stream in the state, and at the same time contend for the best trout stream.  We're talking about different stretches of the river, but you could hit both types of fishing on the same trip or the same float.

The key to not being driven crazy by a bunch of super drunk adolescents and adults wishing they still were, is to make every effort to hit the stream during the week.  Summer weekends will find you casting between what is called the aluminum hatch on Ozark endless stream of rented canoes.

The waters of the Current run cold and clear.  Often they run through wilderness shores of the Ozarks carpeted by shortleaf pines. You will find yourself distracted from your fishing by the beauty surrounding you, until you latch onto one of the beautiful smallmouth or wild rainbows that naturally reproduce in parts of the Current.

In addition to the commonly known trout and bass species that inhabit the Current, there is some great fishing for other species as well...such as walleye around the Van Buren stretch of the river.

You can hone into some specific details at Current River Smallmouth or Current River Trout Fishing.

Mark Twain Lake and Salt River
salt river  above mark twain lake-elk fork

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, "The Elk Fork of the Salt River is one of the most scenic fishing streams in northeast Missouri. "

Okay, so this stretch of the Elk Fork of the Salt River is beautiful...but is the fishing any good?  Oh is!

Fishing options include smallmouth, crappie, catfish, and walleye. The hotspots are above and below the Union Bridge Access, as well as Cedar Bluff Access downstream to Mark Twain Lake.  The image below shows these two accesses:

Cedar Bluff Access and Union Covered Bridge Access Elk Fork of Salt River

The image below shows the area zoomed out so you can see where these two accesses are in context.  Use Google Maps or whatever mapping site you typically use to explore the area more fully.

Union Covered Bridge Access, Elk Fork of the Salt River
Cedar Bluff Access and Mark Twain Lake

Additional fishing details at MDC Salt River, Elk Fork Page

eleven point river
Eleven Point River Trout Fishing

We are back in the Ozarks now...not too far from parts of the Current River.  If you are looking for great fishing opportunities in beautiful places in Missouri, it is rather difficult to stay out of the Ozarks region.

The Eleven Point River runs through some of Missouri's most beautiful and wild country including a stretch through the stunning Irish Wilderness.  You will catch fish, and in the process you will fall in love with this awesome part of the state.

The Eleven Point has Blue Ribbon and White Ribbon Trout Fishing, and then a bit further downstream, some incredible smallmouth fishing.  It's mostly a float and fish stream as accesses are few, and many of the best pools are tough to wade.

Greer Crossing on Eleven Point River

Greer Crossing Recreation Area...nice camping spot and good start for floating through Blue Ribbon trout area on Eleven Point River.

Zoomed out view of the Eleven Point River and the Irish Wilderness...river continues on many miles beyond this map.

As with many of these streams, the trout fishing stays very productive as long as the water runs cold from cold water springs.  On the Eleven Point, this is typically considered to be below Greer Spring.

The trout fishing is quite good down to the Riverton Bridge, after which smallmouth fishing begins to take over.  Of course, there is not a switch that turns off the trout and turns on the bronzebacks.

The trout section starts as Blue Ribbon and then switches to White.

To learn the details on smallmouth visit our Eleven Point Smallmouth page and for trout, our Eleven Point Trout Page.

Gasconade river
Gasconade River Floating and Fishing Map

One of Missouri's longest rivers is the beautiful Gasconade.  It can probably be considered a SW Missouri River or a Central Missouri River.  It shares some characteristics of an Ozark stream, but it really kind of skirts the northern fringes of what can be considered this region.

One characteristic it definitely does share with some of those Ozarks streams, is great smallmouth fishing...and largemouth and catfish and goggle-eye (rock bass). But, it can also suffer pretty severely from the aluminum hatch on about any summer weekend, so you might want to try to get down on w weekday if possible.

Fall and Spring can be good options too...if you are up for some great catch and release fishing, you will largely have the river to yourself as the black bass season does not begin in southern Missouri until around Memorial Day (consult for exact regs).

Our feeling is that given the fragile state of smallmouth populations, catch and release is the way to go anyway.  The numbers are fine, but subject very easily to overfishing.

Gasconade River Fishing
niangua river
Niangua River
Niangua River Fishing

Whether you hit Bennett Spring Trout Park or fish the river itself, you will want to make sure you get on this beautiful southwest Missouri river at some point.  It has a little something for everyone.

Of course, Bennett Spring is famous for its great trout fishing, but the river has some decent trout fishing outside the park, and excellent fishing for smallmouth and goggle-eye as well.  There are some other species that can be caught as well.  

In addition to fishing, this river has some beautiful stretches and is a great float stream.

Visit Niangua Trout Fishing or Niangua Smallmouth for more details.

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