James River

/James River
James River 2018-03-09T21:11:16+00:00

Project Description

The James River has a fertile history.  I the days of the Ozark float boat trips the James was often a starting point for travelers, and now is one of the last remnants of that trip that is still riverine.  The other part of the “fertile history” is story of the nutrient pollution the James received as Cities in it’s Watershed, like Springfield, grew and discharged nutrients and other pollution into it’s waters.  In the 90’s, the James River arm of Table Rock Lake turned green from algae blooms, and the river earned a reputation as the “Dirty Old James.”

James River Trophy

The James River has improved in recent years, largely with the nutrient removal efforts of the City of Springfield, and efforts of local groups like the James River Basin Partnership.  How is the fishing?  Table Rock Lake causes influences on the fishery like springtime runs of white bass, walleye, and even spoonbill.  Small to medium sized channel catfish seem to congregate in the river, which may also be attributed to the river influence.  And the Smallmouth bass are still alive and well on the James. MDC even has a trophy area designated.

The river tends to look cleaner and more like an Ozark Stream below the confluence with the Finley, around Hootentown.  At higher water levels, the James is floatable above Lake Springfield, although access points are a little thin.  All in all, the James offers great fishing and better scenery than you might expect, definitely worth a guided longboat trip.


1. Day Trips…

  • Trophy Smallmouth, Largemouth, Carp, and Gar

2. Night Trips

  • All of the above plus…
  • Catfishing with limblines and jugs
  • Frog Gigging