James River & Finley Creek

Missouri’s 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 srill be floated even with john boats. In high or medium water paddlers can run anorher 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.

Missouri’s Finley Creek

This James River tributary can be floated in high or medium high water. A floating-wading technique is better for lower water and fishing. There are dams to portage, but the pools they form are short.

The gradient of the lower 18 miles is 6.5.

Difficulty: I; a few places rate up to III due to obstructions.
Gradient: general- 6.5.
Counties: Christian, Stone.


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 bortom. Walk or line!
21.3 Blue Spring on left. Not safe.
23.2 Counry 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 fotd site makes good riffle.
31.9 Ftazier Bridge on county road. Access.
33.5 Shelvin Rock Access on left, on Shelvin Rock Road.
33.9 McCafferty Hollow Cteek on left.
36.2 Jamesville Btidge. 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, is used to supply a private trout hatchery and is one of the largest springs in this river drainage.
39.4 Silvet 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, which is spring fed, 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 Cteek 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 Btidge 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, rhe river may be floated beyond this point. Inquire locally about conditions and accesses.


Finley Creek – Mile-By-Mile Description

0.0 Hwy. 125 Bridge below dam of Lindenlure Lake.
2.8 County road btidge. Access.
4.0 Smallen Cave Branch on right. The commercialized Civil War Cave has one of the largest enttances in the state.
4.7 Bridge at Riverside Inn. No access.
6.2 Hwy. 65 Bridge and mill dam. Finley River Park (Ozatk). Portage.
12.5 Dam at Rivetdale. Portage. Access at bridge just below dam.
13.5 Hwy. 160 Bridge. No access.
15.7 Aspen Road Bridge. Access.
17.5 Craig Hollow Creek on left.
18.7 Ford. Access.
18.9 James River.

This is an electronic reprint of a Missouri Department of Conservation document. More or updated information on this topic can be found at the Missouri Department of Conservation web site located at: mdc.mo.gov. Copyright 2003 by the Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri. 
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Under Missouri law, an outfitter is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in paddlesport activities resulting from the inherent risks of paddlesport activities pursuant to the Revised Statutes of Missouri. Chapter 537 RSMO revised to 537.327
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