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By Earl
#2197259
Eleven Point River, MO
Jun 23-26, 2016
Put In: Cane Bluff public access
Take Out: Riverton public access
Outfitter: Eleven Point Canoe Rental in Alton, MO 417-778-6497
http://www.11pointcanoe.com/
Along on this trip: My twin boys Jacob and Zachary and about 13 members of the DDRC

This was my second time on this river and this time I spent the money on fishing license and trout permits for the 3 of us, and happy I did. We made the long drive up from Plano on Thursday and arrived in Alton about 1:30 that afternoon. After some discussion with the outfitter we made our drive on out to Cane Bluff to get on the water. We were on the water by 3pm our destination a gravel bar on river left opposite of where Greer Spring flows into the river.
After paddling about 5-10 minutes we heard our first claps of thunder. The temps were in the mid 90s so a thunderstorm would be welcome to cool things off a bit. Todd and Zach heard the noise of water and went to investigate and found a spring coming out of a small cave in the side of a bluff. Well, that was 55F of heaven. We laid in the cool water and soaked up the cool air for a few minutes then back on the river. Shortly after it began to rain and then the lightening got to cracking up and down the river. I was thinking we might get some hail out of the storm just the way things were going. Then wham it sounded like Godzilla was stopping through the forest and we could see and hear large trees snapping like little blades of grass. A microburst outflow was sweeping down the river and snapping large trees some of which were now hitting the river. Todd and Zach were ahead of us on the river and out of view due to the rain. I told Jake to come over the left side to improve our chances of not getting hit by limbs or trees. It was over quickly and I told Jake I thought the main energy from the storm was past us now. I was wrong, about 3-5 minutes later here came another more violent burst. This one was leaving a clear path through the forest and coming straight at us. At first I thought we had a twister on us but it was just a micro-burst. It sounded and looked like Godzilla had just filled his tummy and was now chasing some tail. Again it was over quickly but what a scare. As we paddled on downstream we came to two fresh large sycamores lying across the river. These trees just hit the water. One was at water level and the other about 3-4 ft downriver and about 3-4ft above the water. Jake went right over then under both of them but I got high centered and had to get out and push. The water was too deep to stand on the bottom and push.

We paddled about 100 yrds on down river then out of the fog and rain we came on Todd and Zach. Those trees had fallen between us and just missed both of us. They were standing on the gravel bar we had planned on camping. Todd remembered it to be a bit higher of a gravel bar and we suspect the floods from Dec and Jan took a little off. Todd and I talked and decided we just did not know how much more rain was coming or how high the river might come up so we abandon our plan to camp on that gravel bar and chose to paddle on down for higher ground. By this time the boys are chilled as none of us had raincoats on and now the water temps are in the 50s after passing Greer Spring. We paddled on down to Greer crossing (Hwy 19) and spent the night there.

Dinner was salmon, potatoes, and pineapple. The rain stopped long enough for me to get some charcoal lit and get the cooking done. After dinner I went on a long walk up the road. The fireflies were really thick; it looked like the forest was lit with thousands of little lights. Then about 9:30 the thunderstorms let loose again and it rained off and on until 5am.

I got up about 5am and made my coffee and watched the continuing firefly show. I had brought one nice breakfast for the boys and decided I would go ahead and cook since the rain stopped. Bacon, eggs, and toast for those teenagers and it was all gone in a blink. We packed up were about to get on the water when bam, lightening started hitting really close by and heavy rain. We stayed by the boats waiting it out for another hour and just when you thought it was done, wham another close bolt. Finally around 9:30 we got on the river in a light to moderate rain.

We took it really slow and fished and drifted down the river with bets on who would catch the first trout. Jake struck first with a really nice rainbow then he caught some undersize small mouths. Note to remember; there are no suitable camp spots between Greer crossing and Turners Mill. Once past Turner Mill we started keeping the trout and between the 3 of us managed 3 good size fish to supplement our steak and baked potato dinner for the night. Our camp destination was a nice gravel bar on river right about a half mile or less below the Turners Mill access. About 1pm the rest of the DDRC group started to trickle in. They put on the river on Friday up at Cane bluff earlier that morning and made the fast trek down. The sun was now out and we spread out stuff to let it dry and warm up some. Jake, Zach and I managed to find suitable trees for our hammocks which was more comfortable than camping on the gravel. The night temp finally cooled and I draped the hammock cover over me but did not get into the bag.

I awoke to the sound of a whip-poor-will who was sitting just outside camp and sounded like he had a megaphone strapped on. I made my coffee then sat beside the river relaxing, watching the darkness turn to daylight and a small otter swimming by. These early mornings are my time to review where I am with my life and the lives of those of my family and friends. What more can I do to be a better father or friend? I get time to marvel at the engineering work done to create this wonderful place we call our home.

The bats were slowly disappearing then then others in camp began to stir. For the boys it would be oatmeal and peanut butter for breakfast. We packed up and got on the river by 8am. We really wanted to focus on fishing and wanted the relative quiet undisturbed waters of the morning. We also knew there were a lot of other campers along the river and there would be competition for campsites later in the day. I got the first trout within the first 10 minutes and it was a nice one. Slowly we all started to catch more and released the smaller ones and some larger ones too. Our destination would be a gravel bar on river left just down from the Whitten access. This gravel bar would not be large enough to accommodate the entire DDRC flotilla but would work for Todd, my boys and may 1-2 more. We arrived at our destination about noon and promptly broke out lunch. Todd came about 30 minutes later and cast out in the rapids and bam first cast had a nice trout. Well, not to be out done we all got up and started casting and catching. Zach landed the largest fish of the day probably 20” and released. We kept 8 fish total and decided that would be enough to supplement our sausage and potato dinner. About 5pm Nadine came in and decided to camp with us. I got up and decided to fetch one more trout from the river to go with her dinner too.

The night was a bit cooler and I actually crawled inside my bag about midnight. I got up about 5am made me some coffee and was sitting next to the river then noticed lightening in the sky. I got the boys up and told Todd we had weather moving in. I am not a fan of eating and packing up in the rain so breakfast turned into granola bars and a can of pineapple. We got on the river pretty snappy at 7:30 and paddled all of 5 min before a light rain set in. It is all good as I wanted to get on the road early for the 7+ hr. drive back to Plano. We got off the river at 9:20 and driving by 9:45. This was another wonderful trip of many with two of my three boys which I enjoyed thoroughly. Here are some pictures and our tracks.

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At the put in

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The cave and spring

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Greer Crossing before the rain

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First nights camp river view

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Jake on the river just before he landed a really nice rainbow

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One of Zach’s nice rainbows

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The catch and dinner

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My boys and I with the trout

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Todd, my boys and the trout


https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid= ... _FkcpH9Nh4
Our track down the river


SYOTW,
Earl
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By Aggroman
#2197523
Awesome post and photos Earl! :clap: I used to love being out on the water in the rain, with the distant sound of thunder as our background music. But after our 2014 flash flood that nearly wiped us out, i've found myself hesitant and a bit more nervous getting on the water with even a chance of rain. It hasn't stopped us, but have noticed when looking over maps before the trip, I tend to be looking for escape routes first and fishing spots second. :lol: Crazy how just a little near death experience changes your perspective.

Glad y'all had a great time with good food and good company. BTW, anyone that says they caught trout "to supplement our steak and baked potato dinner" needs to be a friend of mine!!! :lol: :lol:

Scott
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