Category Archives: Southwest/Ozark Region

Roubidoux Fly Fishers Cleanup

The Roubidoux Fly Fishers are Stream Team #1. As in, the first. As in, the founders. So this big celebration we’ve been having all year, for the 25th anniversary? It’s kind of like we’re celebrating the Roubidoux Fly Fishers at the same time.

Team leader Lou Runnals knows that, and she wanted to make this birthday special. So for the team’s cleanup, Lou got a cake. Not cookies. A cake. And it was delicious. And it was pretty. And it was a perfect way to end a long day out cleaning the river.

See, not only was Stream Team #1 there for their cleanup, but their friends in teams #3660, #27, #1523, #13, #3481, #4203 came to help. And the Navy Seabees? They were there too. In total, 71 volunteers turned out to clean up the Roubidoux.

They got a water heater. They got 17 tires. They got crawdad traps. But surprisingly, Lou says, they didn’t find all the trash they expected to wash in from a flood last year. It must have gone downstream to the Gasconade.

The Fly Fishers also got a lot of help from Saint Robert businesses. Lay-Z-Day Canoes loaned out a whole rack of canoes. Zeigenbein Sanitation donated dumpsters. A transfer station in Saint Robert accepted trash and Big O accepted tires without charging a penny, and Wal-Mart kicked in a donation toward food. Stream Team Program biologist (and Roubidoux Fly Fishers co-founder) Mark Van Patten got a grant that covered the rest of the event’s cost.

While this was the biggest community event our founding team hosted this year, they also help with other efforts, including a community service day with the local Brownies troop and attending other teams’ cleanups on rivers such as the Big Piney.

So Roubidoux Fly Fishers, for all your work in the last 25 years, we salute you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. May your waders never leak and you always have a tight line! Adieu.

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Niangua River cleanup: 3 truckloads of trash, 80 businesses and 180 volunteers

The Niangua River cleanup has an inspiring backstory, and this year’s event near Bennett Spring State Park really followed through on nearly ten years of service. Organizer Carl Romesburg shared the community effort’s stats:

  • We had more than 180 registered volunteers, not counting the bus drivers, canoe loaders, cooks, food servers and of course the folks who work so hard to organize this event.
  • We had more than 80 businesses in Laclede, Dallas and Camden counties donate everything from food to prizes.
  • We have 6 outfitters who donate the buses, canoes and their time to support the cleanup:
  • We picked up about 3 huge truckloads of trash.

This picture only shows a small amount of the volunteers. Most were still out on the river.

Lee Kern’s Top Ten Missouri Float Trips

Last week we sang praises of Lee Kern for her killer river guide skills. Now we’re thrilled to give you an exclusive: Lee’s Top 10 Missouri Float Trips. If you’re only going to float ten river stretches in your life, make it these.

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Lee Kern, everybody! Being a total rockstar.
Lee Kern, everybody! Being a total rockstar.

My Top Ten Missouri Float Trips
By Lee Kern

#10 – Meramec River: Onondaga State Park to Sappington Bridge

This section of the Meramec is one of my favorites. With tall bluffs and quiet countryside it makes for a peaceful float that is not far from St. Louis.

#9 – Big Piney River: Slabtown to Ross Bridge

The Big Piney is one of my favorite rivers for fishing. Tall bluffs and swift turns on this section make for an enjoyable float that can be done in one day, but also makes for a great overnight trip. The Big Piney is never crowded and always beautiful.

#8 – Huzzah Creek: Dillard Mill to Hwy. Z

The Huzzah is a popular party float in the summer, but this section is a hidden gem that is only floatable in high water. Lots of obstacles make for a challenging adventure and there is usually a fair amount of wildlife to see.

#7 – Mississippi River: Red Star to Commerce

The Mississippi River is often overlooked by paddlers, but if you are up to the challenge it can be a great time. This section, flowing south from Cape Girardeau, is full of interesting beaches and rocky outcroppings. If the water is low enough you might get to see Commerce Rock, an ancient river map carved by indigenous people a thousand years ago.

Courtois Creek flows into the Huzzah.
Courtois Creek flows into the Huzzah.

#6 – Little Piney Creek: Lane Spring to Newburg

Little Piney Creek is best floated in the spring when the water is up. This narrow stream provides plenty of challenges with tight turns and some fallen trees. It is a very pretty float and a great trout stream if you have the time to fish.

#5 – Courtois Creek: Berryman to Onondaga State Park

The Courtois is another stream that can be crowded in the summer, but a really nice float in the spring. This creek has beautiful scenery and numerous tight turns that can make for a challenging paddle when the water is high.

#4 – North Fork of the White River: Hammond Camp to James Bridge

The North Fork is a jewel of the Ozarks. With numerous springs and clear, cold water, this trip makes for an excellent day on the river, especially in the heat of the summer.

#3 – Meramec River: Short Bend to Woodson K. Woods

When the rest of the Meramec is running out of its banks, head upstream to the very first access on the river. This 25-mile stretch of stream makes for a fast and fun paddle in floodwaters, and there is plenty of scenery along the way.

Lookit this cute little turtle.
Lookit this cute little turtle.

#2 – Jacks Fork River: The Prongs to Alley Mill

The Jacks Fork is one of the most popular rivers in Missouri, and with good reason. Towering bluffs and crystal clear water make for beautiful scenery that you won’t find outside of the Ozarks. The Prongs are only viable when the water is up, but it is one float that should be on every paddler’s list. This section makes for a great two or three day float with excellent fishing.

#1 – Eleven Point River: Cane Bluff to Myrtle

My absolute favorite river in Missouri is the Eleven Point. Swift, clear, shockingly cold water makes it my favorite destination in the hot summer months. Plentiful wildlife, many historic springs and great fishing are the hallmarks of this stream. The Eleven Point can often be trickier paddling than it looks, so it is great fun and a beautiful float in every season.

FLLOG beat us to an Anniversary Float (but now we’re even more excited)

You might think you have float trips down to a science, and perhaps a lot of you do. But in a society that’s more rife with “social media specialists” than “mountain men,” I’d say the world still needs some guides. Like Colin Fletcher, for instance; Have you heard of him? Known as “the grandfather of backpacking,” and revered by adventurers worldwide, his writings were part poetry, part prose and part guidebook. Over the years, I’ve found myself thinking, “It sure would be nice to have a Colin Fletcher figure here in good old Missouri.”

Well guess what: we do! There’s a blog called FLLOG that does much the same thing: beautiful descriptions and pictures of river floats, peppered with comments on gear, logistics and “critter counts.” They’ve logged more than 100 river floats in and around Missouri, and each trip is worth a thorough read. In honor of our upcoming Anniversary Float Trip, the good authors of FLLOG agreed to share past tales of the Current River. Here’s the first one, from an anniversary celebration of their own:

Cedar Grove to Two Rivers

Current River
Shannon County, Missouri
Wednesday, September 28 – Thursday, September 29
44 Miles

In celebration of our wedding anniversary, DW and I completed our first overnight kayak trip. After all, what is more romantic than sleeping on a gravel bar? We had spent the previous weekend dragging out all our backpacking gear, which hadn’t been used in almost 6 years, sorting and packing it all into small dry bags. We packed the boats and did a test run on the Meramec near home. Everything seemed to fit well and the boats were well balanced, so we unpacked it all into the car and headed down to the Current River for our first overnight trip with kayaks. We hadn’t floated the Current in nearly 2 years. Back when we only had the canoe we had done a couple week-long trips down to Van Buren, so we are pretty familiar with the Current when it comes to overnight trips. We scheduled a car shuttle from the outfitter at Two Rivers. It was a little pricey, but the drive from Cedar Grove to the take out is over an hour long. Once we got to the access we repacked everything in the kayaks.

DW took the red Perception kayak instead of his regular blue kayak. His blue Perception Montour is very narrow and can’t hold much. The red Perception Prodigy is very wide and there is plenty of room in the front and back to stuff a bunch of gear. My Dagger Axis 10.5 turned out to be nearly perfect for overnight packing. There was plenty of room in the front to slide long things (extra paddle, camp seat and several small bags) and the sealed hull held a lot more than I thought it would. I did have to be careful to balance the front and back of the boat so both ends turned at the same rate. Otherwise the front would turn quickly while the back just sat there. We also bought a bunch more small fabric dry bags. The regular vinyl dry bags are hard to stuff into small spaces (too much friction against the plastic boat) and the fabric ones work well as long as you don’t submerge them in water for a long time.

current river, kayak overnight

current river, cedar grove

The biggest hurdle to overnight kayaking is alcohol. You really can’t pack much beer on a kayak and drinking hard alcohol all day can turn into a kayak-flipping disaster. We decided two days at a time was feasible to carry beer. If we did more than two days we would carry hard alcohol and soda and just not drink as much and start drinking late in the day. Of course you could always decided to not drink at all, but that would eliminate most of the challenge!

We launched our boats from Cedar Grove at 11am on Wednesday morning. It was a little later than we wanted to start, but still feasible to make it to our halfway point, Pulltite Spring 18 miles downriver. When we tested our boats at home we did not have all the food & beer packed, so the kayaks were a little more heavy than we anticipated. So now we’re paddling heavy boats 18 miles in 7 hours. Better paddle hard!

current river

current river, medlock spring

medlock spring, current river

Our first stop was at Medlock Spring. Medlock is a small spring that gushes from tiny opening in the rocks and tumbles down to the river. There is also a cave up above the spring opening, but we did not explore as we had 16 miles left to paddle.

Two miles down from Medlock is Welch Spring. Welch Spring is in the top 10 of Missouri’s largest springs and has a powerful flow. The spring gushes out of a cave opening and runs into the river with such force that it overtakes the current of the stream. Welch spring was originally homesteaded in 1855 by Thomas Welch, who then ran a grist mill on the spring until the turn of the 20th century. Then it was bought by Dr. Diehl in 1913. Dr. Diehl built a hospital over an opening in the cave and planned to attract patients suffering from breathing ailments to the healing spring waters and cave vapors. His project never really took off as the roads in the Ozarks were little more than rough trails at the time and it was hard to attract patients to the middle of nowhere. The walls of the hospital building still stand at the edge of the spring. It’s neat to wander around the building and imagine what it would have been like to be treated for consumption in the middle of the wilderness in 1915.

current river, welch spring

current river, welch spring

current river

Three miles down from Welch is Akers Ferry. This is the last operational ferry in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. There is also an access and camp store on the left side of the river. The ferry runs during daylight hours and is only $4 per vehicle to cross. It has been in operation for over 50 years but I have only seen it running once so I don’t think it gets too much traffic these days.

current river, akers ferry

current river, akers ferry

current river, blue heron Continue reading FLLOG beat us to an Anniversary Float (but now we’re even more excited)

Our gift to Stream Teamers: a weekend on the Current River

Party time! Unless you’re a water penny beetle, you’ve probably heard about our Silver Celebration Float on the Current River. But hey, maybe you are a water penny beetle. So let’s be inclusive. We’ll start from the beginning, and end with the details.

The Basics

To celebrate 25 years of supreme Stream Team success, we’re gathering all our friends together on the Current River the weekend of October 10-12 [jump to the full schedule].

Current River Canoes

We’re putting ya’ll in sturdy canoes and at pretty campsites, and we’re making sure you’re well fed, to boot. You’ll see a couple different stretches of the river, and we’ll take care of the shuttle.

 

Current River Float Reg Fee

The cost to you? $75, and just $50 for the kids. That ain’t bad, folks. That. Ain’t. Bad.

Current River Be PreparedRivers sure are pretty in the rain, don’t ya think?

Current River CampAnd all you gotta do is bring the essentials!

(But feel free to bring a little more, since we’re camping at the same place both nights.)

 Formsz

Oh, and register! Don’t forget to register. The deadline is September 16. Fill out the form online here.

Extra Info:

  • All meals Friday dinner through Sunday lunch are provided.
  • We’ll also give you your own straw hat and dry bag.
  • If you’re a little uneasy in a canoe, we’re giving paddling lessons on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
  • Pets and alcohol are not allowed.
  • No personal canoes! Relax and let us take care of everything for you.

The Schedule

Friday evening: Check in at Pulltite campground, set up camp, and see a program on Stream Team history at the ampitheatre. After your bout of inspiration, network and relax by the campfire.

Saturday: Check-in continues and breakfast is served. Starting at 9, we’ll load up and launch groups of floaters 20 minutes apart. Stop at a gravel bar with your box lunch, and be sure to pull off near Cave Spring for a Fish Shocking Demonstration! See fish that get pulled up, maybe even net some!

That night, it’s dinner, campfire networking, and if you’re feeling confident, you can bring out your musical instruments!

Sunday: After launching at 8 a.m., stop for another gravel bar lunch, and then see a water quality demonstration near Round Spring. We’ll get you off the river by 2-3 in the afternoon, when you can get shuttled back to Pulltite and pack up.

Details will be in the packet we send to registered Stream Teamers. Register online here by September 16 to reserve your canoe!

For more information,

Contact the good folks at Missouri Stream Team: 1 (800) 781-1989, streamteam@mdc.mo.gov, or contact your coordinator.

How one man decided to “be the change” on the Niangua River

Yesterday on the Niangua River, hundreds of volunteers dispersed across the water, in canoes donated by local outfitters. Armed with gloves and litter bags, they picked litter out of tree roots, off of riverbanks, and from wherever else they could see it.

This was the sixth cleanup of Stream Team’s 25th Anniversary Celebration. This was also the ninth year of one man’s vision for a cleaner stream and more connected community.


Check out this video by Ozark Traditions TV

About ten years ago, Carl Romesburg was fed up with seeing trash on the popular floating and fishing stream he called home–So he took action, founding a cleanup to get his whole community to reclaim the Niangua’s natural beauty.

Declaring, “It’s100% or not at all,” Carl used his vacation time to call a hundred Camden, Dallas and Laclede County groups and businesses for donations and volunteers. Some voiced their support, while others told him he was wasting his time. Some people even said he had lost his mind. “Honestly, that pushed me a little harder,” he says. 

That first cleanup started out with 80 volunteers and seven outfitters that donated canoes and shuttle services. It’s a unique arrangement; most other litter pickups require volunteers to bring their own canoe. “It would fail if I didn’t have those outfitters,” Carl says.

The past few years have drawn more than 200 volunteers to the annual cleanup. “We get little kids, 5- and 6-year-olds, up to 85-year-old kids, too,” Carl says. “They show up, we get them on the bus, send them off and then they come back.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEvery piece of the Niangua cleanup puzzle is built out of community support. “A woman, a local river rat who does trash pickup for area campgrounds, gathers all the bags,” Carl says. “She goes and picks up all the trash at each section, brings it to the picnic and puts it in a pile, so everybody can stand out and get your picture taken before we get to eat.”  Even the picnic is provided by community donors.

The result is a cleaner river and more connected community. It’s a touching thing to experience, Carl says. “You get a little choked up because you see what happens out there.”

Mapping out your feelings

We have to hand it to VWQM volunteer Herb Overstreet, whose hand-drawn map of Finley Creek really doesn’t hold back. He labels one bank as, “Mined! Oh! No!” He feels similarly when a roadway enters the stream bed. And look at those carefully labeled log jams! So wonderful.

IDX 150_Finley Creek_Herb Overstreet site 5
Click for the full-size image. If you can handle that much honesty.

Rarely do maps show this much emotion. (Though they have been known to show some fine detail and typewriter ingenuity.)

We sure do appreciate Herb’s help with Stream Team throughout the years. Although he’s passed on, some of us are lucky to have our memories of his Finley fishing trips and animated maps to keep the Stream Team spirit rippling onward.

For more on Finley Creek:

Early Christian County Mining – a historical account by Wayne Glenn, 2009

Christian County bridges over Finley Creek

Finley Creek watershed overview – Watersheds.org

Floating Finley Creek, mile-by-mile

Jacks Fork Cleanup Results

Members of the  Scenic Rivers Stream Team Association crew sure know how to draw a crowd!

JFcleanup
Many dozens of participants at the 16th Annual Jacks Fork Cleanup.

By all measures, the 16th Annual Jacks Fork Cleanup was a major success. It was a great turnout, and look at all this trash they saved from the streams and banks:

  • 7 tires
  • 1 tractor tire
  • 11 large green mesh bags
  • 80 red mesh bags
  • 4 large trash bags
  • 2 grills
  • 1 Sleeping bag
  • Chimney Tiles
  • 8×8 post with eye bolt
  • Spray cans
  • Hitching post

And that’s only naming the highlights! 

Photos courtesy of Angel Kruzen and Ted Haviland.

101_0363
Bay Creek’s looking a whole lot cleaner thanks to these good Stream Team citizens!
This lucky Stream Teamer won a canoe for coming out and cleaning Jacks Fork. Lucky duck!
This smiling Stream Teamer won a canoe for coming out and cleaning Jacks Fork. Lucky duck!

Plan out next year’s cleanup excursion early! Why not? You can read our event preview from June here.

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Did you know that the Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition helps Stream Teams dispose of tires for free? Click here for more information. It could save your team lots of dollars!
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“Stash your trash.” But you already knew that.

Did you attend the Jacks Fork Cleanup, or one of its sister events, like the one on the Current? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

6th Annual Water Quality Monitoring Outing at Montauk State Park

Let it be known, by formal declaration of Stream Team 31, the Ozark Fly Fishers, 2014 is … (bum bada bum!) The Year of the Stonefly! An auspicious year. A year of promise. An indicator of most excellent water quality.

That’s the hope, the spirit, of this weekend’s 25th Anniversary outing.

ozark_pinActivities: Enjoy camaraderie, take a fly tying class, eat barbecue, work on your fly casting with a certifie​d casting instructor, learn about Tenkara (Japanese style fly fishing) on stream, win a raffle prize, and have some ice cream at the end of the day. Whew!
Date: July 11 & 12, 2014
Place: Montauk State Park, Salem
Friday: 6:00 p.m. at the Searcy Building
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. at the new pavilion
8:30 p.m. at the Searcy Building

What to expect: We kick off Friday evening the 11th at 6:00 pm at the Searcy Building. Dr. Barry Poulton of the USGS will present a program on the natural history of the Stonefly.

Following Dr. Poulton’s presentation at 7:00 pm, Mark Van Patten, MDC Stream Biologist and host of the PBS TV seriesThe Tying Bench, will present a fly tying class. This class will be dedicated to the imitative forms of the Stonefly. If you do not know how to tie and would like to learn, Mark will provide expert instruction, along with the equipment and materials needed for tying these flies.

Everyone is welcome to attend. If you are unfamiliar with Stream Team, Stream Team staff will be on hand to mentor and answer any questions that you may have.

Directions:

For more information: contact Scott Darrough at 314-560-1335 or swdarrough@yaho​o.com Registration is required so that adequate food preparations can be made.

25th-ST_Logo-Color-Final(white-center)Summer is the perfect time to get your family out in the streams. We put a little icing on the cake (and serve up the cake!) with “25 Days of Stream Team,” more than 25 special events that celebrate the good work of our volunteers. Did we mention there are prizes for attending? There are. They’re great prizes. You’re welcome.

Declare Independence from trashy boat accesses!

It’s about to be a big week for the Missouri River. Not only will its banks and its barges see a ton of Fourth of July action, but the MR340 is coming round the bend July 8th through 11th [edit: the race has been postponed to mid-August; another month to clean your access!]

Missouri River Relief Stream Team 1875 is facilitating a “Do-It-Yourself” cleanup of Missouri River boat accesses. Volunteers are invited to adopt a Missouri River access near them for the week, help clean up trash from Independence Day weekend, and show the MR340 race participants how clean we keep our Missouri River boat ramps!

Access adopters will be responsible for disposing of the trash they pick up, and River Relief will assist in this process. Stream Team and River Relief will supply trash bags, gloves, and a Stream Team 25th anniversary t-shirt. Click here to sign up, or for more information, email riverrelief@riv​errelief.org. Deadline to register to receive supplies will be Monday, June 23rd.