Float #102: Flat Creek

23 May

Lower Flat Creek to Dry Creek

F102_FlatCreek

Flat Creek
Barry and Stone Counties, Missouri
Saturday, May 17
10 Miles

The second day of our Southwest MO camping trip we headed East about 45 minutes to Flat Creek. This is a beautiful stream that flows into Table Rock Lake. There is swift water, good fishing and lots of wildlife. Even though this creek flows into the lake the water doesn’t back up or slow down too far upstream. DW, Jake and I got help with the shuttle from our caver friend Bobcat. He dropped our gear with Jake and me at the Lower Flat Creek access and helped DW run the car down to the Dry Creek access. Since we don’t know the area we weren’t sure how much water was in the upper creek, so we decided to do the lower section. Once we arrived we saw that there was plenty of water and we could have easily floated down to the access we put in at. I think it would only be a problem in the middle of summer or particularly dry weather.

Lower Flat Creek Access

Lower Flat Creek Access

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Old bridge piling

Old bridge piling

It was another chilly day with highs in the 60s. As we set off the sun came out and warmed things up for about an hour and then the clouds took over again. I wanted to do some fishing on this trip, but my fishing pole had other ideas. I caught every snag possible and the line kept wanting to tangle. It was a bit breezy too, so I eventually gave up and focused on paddling and enjoying the scenery. I enjoyed this float more than the previous day on the Elk River just because the water was faster and it was a bit more scenic. We saw several Bald Eagles along the way, which I always enjoy.

Tight squeeze ahead

Tight squeeze ahead

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Flat Creek has its share of obstacles with a couple tight spots and fallen/overhanging trees. There was one spot that was almost a log jam, but there was just enough space to wriggle between trees. Luckily the water was slower there and didn’t push the boat around. It was a tight entry though and I somehow got turned around and ended up floating through backwards.

Another tight spot almost flipped my boat, but I can still brag that I have never fallen out of my kayak! There was an overhanging tree with a mess of branches on one side and a low hanging trunk on the other side. There was a small space between the two obstacles to float through. I miscalculated just enough to catch the trunk and pin my boat against the tree. The water was flowing swiftly and began to turn my boat sideways. When your boat goes sideways you’re pretty much doomed to get wet. Water started to fill the cockpit and my ass was swamped! However, I was able to gain some leverage against the tree and back my way out of the pinch. I then hobbled over to the bank to bail out. Thankfully I always carry an extra change of clothes in cool weather, so I didn’t stay cold and wet for long.

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County road bridge

County road bridge

After I bailed out we ate lunch on the gravel bar and then proceeded downriver. This creek reminds me a lot of the Huzzah as it is similar in size, but I think the water was prettier and a bit quicker overall. It would make a great spring overnight fishing trip, as you could reasonably do the entire creek in two days. We didn’t see many houses or cabins along the way and only a couple of farms with cows near the river. It was very quiet and peaceful with just enough action to test your skills.

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The creek becomes a lake

The creek becomes a lake

About a mile above the lake the water began to slow down and the creek widened. Our takeout was just after the waterway became deeper and very broad, on an upper finger of the lake. DW and Jake sprinted ahead of me, but I took my time and enjoyed the scenery. The sky was beginning to get very overcast and looked like it might rain, but it did not. The Dry Creek access does not have much parking, maybe room for two or three vehicles and the road is very rough. 4 wheel drive is probably a good idea.

We loaded our boats and headed back to camp after a very enjoyable float. I would definitely recommend Flat Creek if you like small streams and good fishing. The next day we made the long 4 1/2 hour drive back home to unload and catch up on sleep before heading back to work on Monday.

Critter Count: Ducks, Geese, Green Herons, Blue Herons, 2 Adult Bald Eagles, 1 Juvenile Bale Eagle, Turkey, Turtles, Cows

 

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