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 fishing hole.

    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 condition.