Fishing the Eleven Point – A Crown Jewel of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways

There is no other river like the Eleven Point. Its wilderness atmosphere, combined with blue ribbon trout and smallmouth bass populations make this one of the true jewels of the Ozarks. The river is situated in south-central Missouri, and north central Arkansas. The forty miles of river between the Thomasville, and the Narrows Access to the river is part of the National Scenic Riverways system. This means there is little or no commercial activity, or private land along the river. This helps keep the habitat, water quality, and beauty at a level unsurpassed in the Midwest.

The Eleven Point begins as a small stream high in the Ozark Mountains. From the headwaters to Thomasville, the river is lightly fished, but can produce very well for smallmouth bass. Almost no one floats this section. Below Thomasville, the river becomes a national river, and fishing becomes better. The area of river between Thomasville and Greer Spring is known for producing some of the biggest stream smallmouth anywhere. Trophy regulations help maintain this world class fishery. Shadow bass (also known as rock bass or goggle-eye) also are abundant, as well as several other species of sunfish.

The river changes dramatically at the mouth of Greer Spring. This massive, cold and very wild spring immediately transform an easy going, warm smallmouth stream into a large river with deep and rushing flows. Most notably, it makes the Eleven Point an excellent trout stream. From the mouth of the spring branch downstream to Turner Mill Access the stream is managed under Blue Ribbon trout regulations. This means an 18″ length limit, and artificial lures and flies only. This beautiful and interesting stretch of trout water relies on both stocking and natural spawning to keep fish populations up. About 5000 rainbow trout are stocked each year in this five and one half mile portion of the river. You can access this part the Eleven Point at the Greer Crossing Access at the upper end, and the Turner Mill Access at the lower end. You can expect 300 to 500 trout per mile.  Wading anglers do well wading up, or downstream of these public access areas. Most people float it.

Below the Blue Ribbon trout area, you will find the White Ribbon Area. This is managed a lot differently. It is stocked every few weeks from April through September, but you will find trout here all year-long. The White Ribbon area allows four trout to be kept, with no length limit, and no bait restrictions. Most people think of this trout water as a put and take area, but there is only limited truth to this. Fish populations do decrease rather significantly between stockings, especially in the winter when no fish are stocked. However, even at times when fish populations are at the very lowest, (which is usually during February or March) trout can be caught, and good catches can be made consistently, if you know how to read the water. The best fishing generally is in June, July, and August when fish populations are really built up. About 15,000 rainbow trout are stocked per year in this fourteen mile section of river each year.. Wading and floating access will be found at Turner Mill, Whitten, McDowell Access, and Riverton. The best trout fishing will be found between the Turner Mill and McDowell Access, but trout can be found in fair numbers all the way downstream to the Riverton Access, and sometimes even significantly further downstream. Below Riverton, the river transforms back into a smallmouth bass stream, typical of the Ozarks. It is now a large river, and species such as largemouth bass, spotted bass, and even walleye can be found. The river slowly warms, and by the time it reaches the Black River in Arkansas it appears very little like the upper section.

The Eleven Point is certainly special. This is one of the best rainbow trout streams in the Ozarks, as well as an excellent smallmouth bass river. It is however, rather undiscovered. It is not used nearly so much as nearby streams such as the Current River, Buffalo River, or the Black River. Come out and give it a try.

Source by Davidson Manning

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