Area Info

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Float the Jacks Fork and Current Rivers

Totally Relax and float through The National Ozark Scenic Riverways on the cool Spring Fed Jack’s Fork River. Close your eyes and hear the sounds of nature as you peacefully float from Alley Spring right down to our gravel bar. This is about a 7 mile float and typically takes 3-4 hours. But hey, take as long as you like. Relax and have some fun! Call Windy’s Canoe at 573-226-3404 to¬†reserve your equipment. They’ll pick you up here and bring you up river and get you launched. Couldn’t be simpler.

You’ll serenely float by miles of tranquil nature and land right on our gravel bar.¬†(If you go under the bridge, you just passed us. Back up 300 yards!) Don’t forget to bring a cooler with some snacks and cold beverages for the kids. This is an excellent Family Togetherness Adventure and it’s something that everyone will remember for many years to come. Don’t forget to bring a trash container. Keep our Rivers and Parks clean.

Jacks Fork River – Mile-By-Mile Description

0.0 MDC South Prong Access at Hwy. Y Bridge. Beautiful section, but not recommended during low-water.
6.8 State Hwy. 17 Bridge at “Buck Hollow.” Usual put-in for upper section of river. Park Service campground.
9.2 Salvation Army camp on left. Access, camp.
9.6 Blue Spring comes from cave on left nearly hidden from river by boulders. Narrow run just below spring may be difficult.
12.6 Jam Up Bluff and Cave. River entrance of cave is one of the most spectacular cave entrances in state. Cave may be explored in daylight back to lake which is plunge-basin for falls from upper part of cave. Upper section entered through a sinkhole in Lost Hollow which may be reached by climbing up the bluff.
15.9 Ebb and Flow Spring on left.
16.2 Rymers Access and campground on right.
17.1 Bunker Hill (Missouri State Teachers Association resort) on left. No access.
22.2 Leatherwood Creek on left.
25.2 Bay Creek on left. Access, camp.
31.0 Alley Spring, 10th largest spring in state. Old mill, camping, access.
32.3 Horse Hollow on left. The old Salem, Winona and Southern R.R. used to run up this hollow and continue up Sinking Branch after following the Jacks Fork from Mahan’s Creek.
35.3 Mahan’s Creek on right. Site of old R.R. river crossing just above mouth of creek.
37.3 Eminence. Stores, cafes, lodging. Take-out at Lions Ball Park on right side, one-quarter mile below Hwy. 19 Bridge.
41.9 Shawnee Creek on right. Access, camp.
42.3 Little Shawnee Creek on right.
44.6 Confluence with Current River. Best take-out 0.75 mile downstream at ferry landing.


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Swim

Less than 25 yards from any Cabin or Motel Room, is Access to The Cool Spring Fed Jack’s Fork River. The Jack’s Fork is one of two rivers in Missouri that are part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways system. Swim Depths vary from “ankle deep” to “over your head,” so there’s something for everyone in your family. Bring a blanket and soak in the sun as the kids frolic in the river. Or cool yourself and put your chair right in the river and take in the gorgeous scenery. Our “Beach” is a Natural River Rock Beach, so we suggest some type of river shoes.


Fishing

There is an abundance of freshwater fish in the Jack’s Fork. You can fish from the shore, wade or use a local guide. We can arrange a guide service for you if you so desire. (As a novice fisherman, I highly recommend using a guide. It seems these fish went to school!!!)

Below is an excerpt from Family Outdoors.

Introduction to Smallmouth Bass Fishing on the Jacks Fork River

The Jacks Fork River is one of the best in the Ozarks. Flowing through beautiful Ozark canyons and hills, this stream has much to offer both in the way of smallmouth and scenery. This popular float fishing stream flows through beautiful, remote territory, and is truly a sight to see.

As Ozark streams go, the Jacks Fork is more isolated than most. Simply put, it is located in the middle of nowhere. Starting high in the Ozark hills, and floating through the beautiful Ozark plateau all the way to it’s mouth at the Current River. It is a high gradient river, and is heavily spring-fed. Both of these attributes predispose the Jacks Fork to excellence as a smallmouth stream. The river has an abundance of riffles and deep pools, and has an excellent food supply. It has been largely untouched by man, especially now, due to the fact that it is protected by the Ozark National Scenic Riverways Park. Add on the river’s easy access, and you have a nearly perfect stream.

South Prong Access to Buck Hollow

The river begins at the South Prong Access, where the South Fork of the Jacks Fork joins in to form the main river. From that point down to Buck Hollow, the river flows through a beautiful Ozark Mountain valley. This portion of the river doesn’t usually carry a lot of water. It is floatable in the spring, but is purely a wade fishing situation most of the time. The smallmouth in these far upper reaches are both abundant and unpressured. It’s a good place to fish if you are willing to put in a bit of work either dragging a lot of riffles or wading through long stretches of water. Late spring, after the water has warmed, but not yet dropped, is the magical time here. You can float through easily and often catch large numbers of quality smallmouth bass.

Buck Hollow Access to Rhymers Access

The ten mile stretch from Buck Hollow to Rhymers Access is a different animal. This portion of the river flows through the “Jacks Fork Canyon.” While this crack in the earth won’t be giving the Grand Canyon a run for it’s money, it is quite beautiful and rugged. The water through the canyon is a nice mixture of fast riffles and deep pools. This is very floatable water during the spring. During the summer, it can be done if you are willing to drag through a lot of riffles, but it’s best to wade when the water is down. This is probably the best smallmouth water on the Jacks Fork. Note that the Special Smallmouth Bass Management area begins at Buck Hollow and extends to Eminence. At this writing, the daily limit is one fish, with an 18? minimum length limit.

Rhymers Access to Alley Spring

The fifteen mile portion of the river from Rhymers Access to Alley Spring also offers excellent fishing. The bass size continues to be relatively large, and there are good numbers throughout the river. The river slows down a little bit in this stretch and moves out of the canyon, but otherwise the character of the stream and the fishery remains much the same.

Alley Spring to Eminence

Alley Spring changes the river significantly. First, and possibly most important, it makes the Jacks Fork below the spring floatable year-round, a definite advantage. There is an important disadvantage however. The cold spring flow chills the water significantly, and lowers the bass numbers somewhat. Still, the fishery between Alley Spring and Eminence remains above average, if not quite as excellent as further upstream. We must say that Alley Spring is one of the most beautiful in the world, and is worth a visit in it’s own right.

Eminence to Confluence with Current River

The Jacks Fork between Eminence and it’s mouth at the Current River also provides good smallmouth water. By this point, there are more deep, slow pools, but there are still plenty of riffles to keep the water from stagnating. This water is popular with recreation floaters, which can complicate the fishing somewhat. Still, the lower Jacks Fork has an excellent smallmouth population and is a very worthwhile place to fish.