James River

Float trips, for which the Ozarks are famous among smallmouth bass fishermen, reputedly originated at Galena on the James. John boats 18-24 feet long and 4 feet wide were used long before canoes and kayaks became popular and are amazingly maneuverable craft for their size. Some anglers still prefer the stability they provide for casting while standing and the comfort of folding arm chairs which they can carry.

Before the days of Table Rock Dam a five-day float of about 125 miles was available from Galena to Branson, but now little, if any, of the river is floatable below Galena. However one of the fine fishing floats always has been the 22-mile section from “Hooten Town” to Galena and this may still be floated even with john boats.

In high or medium water paddlers can run another 40 miles above this as well as some of the larger tributaries. Most of this water provides fine fishing.

• Difficulty: I; a few places on upper river rate up to III due to obstructions.

• Gradient: General – 4.5; Hwy. 125 to Lake Springfield – 6.3; dam at Lake Springfield to Hwy.14 – 4.3; to Galena – 4.

• Counties: Greene, Christian, Scone.

James River – 
Mile-By-Mile Description

• 0.0 Hwy. 125 Bridge. McCraw Ford. Access under bridge.2.7 Hwy. D Bridge. No access.

• 2.9 Turner Bridge. Old Hwy. D.

• 3.0 San Francisco St. Louis R.R. Bridge.

• 6.8 Joe Crighton Access on right, at Kinser Bridge on Farm Road 164. No ramp, but easy canoe/kayak access.

• 9.5 Hwy. 60 Bridge. Lake Springfield backs up water beyond this point.

• 9.7 Farm Road 181 Bridge. No access.

• 10.0 Southwood Access (Springfield City Utilities) on left downstream from Hwy. 65 Bridge. Off Hwy. 65. take Evans Road to Southwood Road. Lake Springfield. which is about 2 miles long, begins.

• 12.1 Public park and access on right.

• 12.3 Kissick Darn. Fair access.

• 12.4 Tailwaters Access (Springfield City Utilities) on right, off Hwy. 65 to Evans Road to Kissick.

• 15.8 Hwy. 160 Bridge. Fair access.

• 18.7 Owens Bridge.

• 20.3 Shallow rapids caused by rock ledge, with brush and logs at bottom. Walk or line!

• 21.3 Blue Spring on left. Not safe.

• 23.2 Country road bridge. No access.

• 25.2 Wilson Creek on right.

• 26.3 Stone piers of old Delaware Bridge.

• 26.7 Spring branch on left.

• 27.0 Delaware Town Access on left, on County Road 14-31.

• 27.5 Hwy. 14 Bridge Access.

• 28.3 Blue Hole.

• 29.3 Rock ledge at old ford site makes good riffle.

• 31.9 Frazier Bridge on county road.

• 33.5 Shelvin Rock Access on left, on Shelvin Rock Road.

• 33.9 McCafferty Hollow Creek on left.

• 36.2 Jamesville Bridge. Hwys. M and U. No access.

• 36.3 Finley Creek, on left. 37.9 Tory Creek on left. Montague Spring, 2.5 miles up creek, reached via Hwy. O from Hwy. 65. The spring has a flow of nearly 2 million gallons per day.

• 39.4 Silver Lake Branch on right.

• 39.7 Hooten Town Access on right, on Hotten Town Road.

• 40.8 Hooten Hill, on right (high bluff).

• 42.6 Watch for down trees in river along right bank. Use caution, particularly in high water.

• 44.3 Cole Pit Hole access on County Road V-70 off Hwy. V.

• 44.7 McCall Bridge.

• 45.0 Old Stillhouse Hollow, on right.

• 46.1 Access on left where extension of Hwy. V parallels rivet.

• 46.3 Goff Creek on left. No access. Fast run just below.

• 50.4 Private access on right side, off Hwy. AA near O to church.

• 52.8 Crane Creek on right.

• 53.8 Wheeler Branch and Hwy. AA on right. No access.

• 56.6 Horse Creek on left. H.L. Kerr Access on Horse Creek Road.

• 58.3 Yocum’s Camp on tight. No access.

• 61.0 Hwy. 248-13 Bridge. Access.

• 61.3 Hwy. 13 Bridge. No access.

• 61.6 Y Bridge at Galena. Supplies in town. Lake fishing regulations apply downstream from here. 61.7 Access on right. When Table Rock Lake is not at full reservoir, the river may be floated beyond this point. Inquire locally about conditions and accesses.

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