top of page


Fishing the Bourbeuse River

Bourbeuse River Smallmouth Fishing Page


Intro to the Bourbeuse River Fishing

Access Points


This little semi-Ozark river is one of those ones that is often overlooked.  This, despite being more than a decent fishery for a variety of bass species as well as catfish.  


To make it even better, it is not a rarity to float a day on the Bourbeuse without encountering another party.  So, if you are interested in this fun river within easy driving distance of St. Louis, read on. 


The Bourbeuse River that courses through Franklin County, Missouri is probably the most underrated smallmouth bass stream in Missouri, maybe even the Midwest. Trophy fish in the eighteen inch range are not at all uncommon, and smallmouth numbers are exceptional above Noser Mill. You'll find good numbers of smallies in the entire river, even as far downstream as Union. However, spotted bass and largemouth tend to out compete smallmouth below Noser Mill, which is located. about 40 miles upstream of Union. Below this point, spotted bass make up the lion's share of the catch, but smallmouth and largemouth can also be found. The most Smallmouth bass tend to be found in fast moving pools and riffles in this marginal habitat. Don't overlook the deep, slow, pools which are so common either. While they hold fewer bass, these are the places to find trophy largemouth and spotted bass. The river also holds plenty of catfish, except near the mouths of cold springs. Of course you also find rock bass, sunfish, and more suckers than you can count. The river has plenty of access, and bank fishing as well as float fishing are productive.

Access Points

There are many different access points for Bourbeuse River. Several of them are in proximity to Union, Missouri. To get in the genral area, head west on Highway 50. Not far out of town, you will arrive at Junction UU. Turn left (South). Within a couple of miles there will be Mayer's Landing. There is a nice little boat ramp and some decent pools and riffles for fishing.


A few more miles south on UU will get you to Snake Hill Road and a sign pointing you to Reiker Ford Access. Despite the short distance by road, the float from Reiker's Ford to Mayer's Landing is a GOOD day's fishing. It is somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 river miles and in low water, this section is slow.


Looking for a bit more of a wilderness experience? Head further upstream to Mill Rock Access. It's a drive, but the effort is worth it. Nice smallmouth fishing can be had, as well as this being a good starting point for an extended float. See map below.

bottom of page