ELEVEN POINT RIVER SMALLMOUTH BASS FISHING
The Eleven Point is one of the most scenic streams in the Ozarks, and the smallmouth bass fishing is excellent as well. The Eleven Point holds a smallmouth population from its headwater deep in the Ozark Mountains all the way into Arkansas. In all, there is about fifty miles of smallmouth water on the Eleven Point, ranging from small, wadeable stream, to large river.
Eleven Point River Description
While the Eleven Point furnishes a smallmouth population throughout it's length, some sections are better than others.When most people think of smallmouth fishing on the Eleven Point, they envision the water above Greer Spring and below Riverton. These two sections certainly furnish excellent smallmouth fishing, but the entire river, from it's headwaters all the way into Arkansas, holds smallmouth.
The headwaters portion of the Eleven Point is mostly fed by very small springs.For this reason, the upper river, until it enters the Ozark National Scenic Riverways at Thomasville, is small and relatively uninteresting to bass fisherman. Sure, the water upriver of Thomasville does hold some smallmouth, but their numbers are relatively small, and the banks are constantly trampled by cattle. Just below Thomasville, however, several spring-fed tributaries enter the river, almost doubling it's size. Also, the river flows into public land, which means that there are no cattle to erode the banks. This is where the river enters the consciousness of the smallmouth angler.
The twenty mile run from Thomasville to Greer Spring has some of the most bountiful smallmouth fishing in the state. Bass number almost 400 per mile in this stretch, which is a significant number considering the relatively small size of the stream. This part of the river is extremely remote, and flows through beautiful country, making it a delight to float and fish. This water is best fished from mid-spring from early summer. During summer and fall, the water levels often drop to the point where floating becomes a chore. The fish will still bite at this time of the year, but fisherman are reduced to either dragging their boats through countless riffles, or wading and fishing pitifully short stretches of water. It's best to move downstream to the bigger water when this happens.
Greer Spring, just upstream of the Highway 19 Bridge, changes the character of the river drastically. The Eleven Point ceases to be a warm, lazy stream. Rather, it becomes a cold, fast, and deep river. For the next 20 miles, the river is managed primarily for trout. For this reason, some smallmouth fisherman dodge this water altogether. This is a mistake, as the "trout water" holds a solid population of smallmouth bass. Past surveys indicate about 150 smallmouth per mile in this stretch. If that sounds like a relatively small number, you'd be right. But things are not nearly as bad as they seem, because smallmouth tend to congregate in predictable areas. Rocky pools, backwaters, and fallen trees hold fish. And where you find one bass, you are likely to find several. Experienced anglers find plenty of smallmouth even in the coldest portions of the river.
While there are certainly smallmouth in the cold portions of the river, the fishing gets much better below the Highway 160 Bridge. At this point, the water simultaneously slows down and warms up, and there are fewer trout for the smallmouth to compete with. There are many deep, current scoured pools that are littered with fallen trees and boulders. This is classic smallmouth water, and the fish have the potential to grow larger than further upstream. There is an excellent forage base as well. All of these things add up to one heck of a smallmouth fishery. The good fishing extends for another 20 miles to the Arkansas border.
The Eleven Point River is a bit like three rivers in one:the small headwater, the cold, rushing water below Greer Spring, and the slow, warm lower river. All three sections, however, are beautiful, clear streams with excellent opportunities for the smallmouth anglers.
Eleven Point Fishing spin-fishing Techniques:
There are many successful ways to catch smallmouth on the Eleven Point, but most of them involve getting deep. Deep diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and in-line spinners are all very popular when fish are actively feeding. When the fish are in a more negative mood, they respond better to tubes, plastic worms, jigs, and live bait bounced along the bottom. While the smallmouth in the Eleven Point are most deep-dwelling creatures, on summer evenings there is often an excellent topwater bite. Poppers, small Jitterbugs, and Zara Spooks work very well at these times. But the absolute must have lure anywhere on the Eleven Point is a deep diving Rebel Crawdad Crankbait. When smallmouth ignore all other offerings, they'll often slam this.
Lures for the Eleven Point
Rebel Crawdad, deep diving
Spinnerbaits, 3/8 ounce to 1/8 ounce
Marabou Jigs (olive, White, and Black), 1/32 ounce to 1/8 ounce
3 inch green tube baits, texas rigged*
Rooster Tail Spinner 1/24 ounce through 1/8 ounce (also works for trout)
5" Zoom Curly Tail Worms (Green Pumpkin), Texas Rigged*
Minnows and Crayfish* (they work well, but you'll have to catch them yourself using a minnow trap)
*Soft Plastics and natural bait are not allowed in the Blue Ribbon Trout section from Greer Spring to Turner Mill
Eleven Point River Fly Fishing Techniques:
Fly fishing is an excellent way to target smallmouth in the Eleven Point. The clear, spring-fed water seems to lend itself very well to the fly fisherman. Still, there are some difficulties for fly fisherman on the Eleven Point. Mainly, the Eleven Point is very deep in most areas, and it can be difficult to get the fly to where the fish hold. We suggest you use a long, fluorocarbon leader with floating line. Some people even choose to use sink-tip line, although it can be a chore to cast. Like most smallmouth streams, streamers that imitate crayfish and minnows are the best choices. Woolly Buggers, Clouser Minnows, and Crayfish patterns are successful.
Eleven Point River Smallmouth Fishing Flies
Don's Crawdad #4-#10
Woolly Bugger (Olive, Black, or White) #4-#10
Clouser Minnow #2- #8
Deer Hair Bass bugs #2-#8
Muddler Minnow #4-#10
There are many successful ways to fish the Eleven Point River. Whether you choose to spin fish or fly fish, the Eleven Point is an excellent smallmouth river. The breathtaking scenery and the excellent bass population makes this one river every serious smallmouth fisherman must try.