BOURBEUSE RIVER SMALLMOUTH FISHING
The river continues to grow in the section between the Highway 19 Bridge and the Mill Rock access. The smallmouth habitat remains good in this area, although it has been effected more by the non-native spotted bass. This water is pretty manageable from a float fishing perspective mid-spring through early summer, and again after fall rains. During dry weather, wade fishing is most practical. The bass population is relatively good throughout this stretch, and it's remoteness can provide a nice experience. Access is available at the Highway 19 Bridge, The Tea Access, and the Mill Rock Access.The Bourbeuse River is a slow-flowing, off color stream. It has many slow pools, seperated only by short riffles. It is very susceptible to high flows, and can remain muddy for weeks after a heavy rain. This doesn't sound like much of a smallmouth stream, does it? But first glances can be decieving. The Bourbeuse River has good numbers of smallmouth bass throughout it's length. While the habitat is different from most smallmouth streams,there is lots of rocky and woody habitat for the fish to hide in.
From it's headwaters to the Highway 19 Bridge, the Bourbeuse is a very nice wade-fishing stream. The water is a little more clear and fast moving than other areas of the river, and there is more "classic" smallmouth habitat. Also, this stretch of the river hasn't suffered nearly as harshly from the smallmouth population's main scourge, the non-native spotted bass, as the river further downstream. Fisherman can access this part of the river at the Mint Spring Access. There are also several private access that can be used provided you ask permission first. Floating is possible in this area of the river when the water is up, but this is mainly wade-fishing water. During dry years, the riffles between the pools can dry up altogether in the upper reaches, although the stream always seems to hold on to enough water to keep the fish population up.
Between Mill Rock and Union, the Bourbeuse becomes less of a creek and more of a real river. The stream becomes slower-flowing and a little more turbid, but smallmouth bass habitat remains very good. This section of stream has been absolutely ravaged as of late by the spotted bass invasion, but good numbers of smallmouth bass can be found especially in the riffles and pools with good current. There are lots of rocks and bluff holes in this section of river that hold fish, and this section of river can produce a real trophy now and then. When the relatively turbid water, lures and flies that are highly visible generally work the best. Public access is easy throughout this section and can be had at Wenkel Ford,Peters Ford, Reikers Ford, Mayers Landing, and the Highway 50 Bridge in Union. Private access is also abundant for those willing to knock on doors and ask permission.