Float #58: Big River

21 Nov

Mammoth to Brown’s Ford

Big River
Jefferson County, Missouri
Saturday, November 3
9 miles

The Big River is a small river that runs through Washington and Jefferson counties. It is not the most scenic river in our area, but the fishing is great and it’s a beautiful place to enjoy the solitude of the off season. The Big River was discovered in the early 1700s by Frenchman looking for silver and lead mines. They named it the Grande Riviere, meaning beautiful or magnificent. It has since been translated into Big River which is fallacious, for it is not big!

We have not floated on the Big River in a few years. We tend to float the Meramec when we are staying close to home, but this stretch of the Big River is not too far from our house either. Mammoth to Brown’s Ford is one of the more scenic floats on this river. There are several nice bluffs and not many houses or other structures along the banks. My sister Abby joined us on this float. She is expecting a baby girl in January, so this was her last chance at a float trip for a while. We met up at 10am at Mammoth access and I readied the boats and did a little unsuccessful fishing while DW and Abby ran shuttle.

Big RIver

Mammoth Access

Big RIver

Big RIver

Big RIver

Big RIver

The weather for the day was supposed to be sunny with highs in the lower 50s. It did get into the lower 50s, but that was at 11am and then it became overcast and temperatures dropped back into the 40s. We were prepared and dressed for the weather so no one was cold. The water level was probably just a little below normal for this time of year. There were some shallow spots, but no scraping or portaging. There are some downed trees on some of the channels, but nothing difficult to get around. I spent part of the morning fishing, but didn’t get any bites and by the afternoon I was more interested in paddling to stay warm rather than fighting with my fishing pole!

Big RIver

Big RIver

Big RIver

Big RIver

Hwy. H Bridge

Big RIver

Turkey

After lunch we passed Hwy. H bridge which is also Merrill Horse access. There are some interesting bluffs right before the bridge that look a bit like castle towers. We spotted a group of turkey running up the bank. Later in the day we came across another group of turkey as well as a deer, a raccoon and one bald eagle!

Big RIver

Big RIver

Big RIver

Big RIver

Big RIver

Big RIver

Brown’s Ford Access

The remainder of the trip was uneventful. We just enjoyed the solitude of the river and the early winter landscape. The sycamores are really starting to stand out along the river now that most of the leaves are gone. Winter colors are starting to take over the landscape and the atmosphere is getting quiet. We pulled in to Brown’s Ford around 4:30 and loaded our boats. We were back home just before dark. Hopefully we will get one or two more floats before the end of the year!

Critter Count: Ducks, Geese, Herons, Hawks, Turkey, 1 Bald Eagle, 1 Deer, 1 Raccoon

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