The rivers of the Ozarks are mostly bold
ones, lots of splash and dash, scenery that knocks your socks off, and fish to
brag about when you get home.
Well, the Kings River is a little
different. Not much different. Just different enough to be a little different.
Except for the fish. Kings River fishing
takes a back seat to none. In fact, some of the best winter bass fishing
anywhere can be found between Marble and Marshall Ford.
And one of the differences is a real
plus. The Kings is not as well known as some of the other Ozarks float streams
and not as heavily traveled.
The scenery is superb, too, and there's
some splash and dash to be found for canoe enthusiasts, but a lot of the Kings
River's length flows through wide river bottoms where there's a hardwood canopy
overhanging long holes of water.
It is not a big river. In fact, I guess
you'd describe it as smallish. It is not a long river. You can reckon the
floating waters at about 56 miles.
It does offer those great stretches of
solitude for a peaceful get-away-from-it-all outdoors experience. Starting about
10 miles below Marble, there's a 21 mile stretch of river where you won't run
into many signs of civilization. Makes a good two to three day float for folks
who want to pack their tent and get off to themselves for awhile. Life slows
down to a crawl and the pressures are far away as you paddle along, savoring the
spring blossoms or the fall colors along the bank and lingering to test every
For summer fishing, remember this little
river yields big fish. Take along heavy tackle, a bait casting reel, medium
action rod, and 10-20 pound test line. The big smallmouth hit big crank baits
and large tandem spinners with trailers of pork rind.
Besides the largemouth, smallmouth, and
spotted bass, there's a moderate population of walleyes in the Kings.
For winter bass fishing, skip the fast
places and try the still pockets and pool with jigs and pork rind and small
bottom bumping baits.
The trees along the bank are the biggest
hazard of floating the Kings River. Overhanging brush and fallen logs will
sometimes get in your way, but are an inconvenience more than a danger.
For just plain old floating, the
favorite stretch is the 12 miles from Trigger Gap to the U.S. 62 bridge. The
water moves right along and there are no obstacles. While the fishing is good,
it's the sightseers who make this section the most floated on the river.
Yep, the Kings is just a little
different. A little gentler than the Mulberry. A little shorter then the
Buffalo. A little less famous then the White. But, its an Ozarks crown jewel all
the same, spectacular in its scenery, tops in its fishing, and pristine in its