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."
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 the trip.
1. Day Trips...
- Trophy Smallmouth Fishing
2. Night Trips
- Catfishing with Limblines and Jugs