Jacks Fork

The Brother and I’s annual Spring trip

Posted by Phil Lilley on June 14th, 2017
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So this year our annual Spring (more like summer this year) trip landed us on the upper jacks fork. We have been wanting to do this river for quite some time and glad we finally did….it was a blast!!

We set up our shuttle with Harvey’s Thursday afternoon and they were great. No driving around for a shuttle, we just paid over the phone put ourselves in and the truck was waiting for us when we got done 2 days later.

We decided to leave from Linn, MO at 2am Friday morning. A quick stop at Wally World in Rolla on the way and we were all set.  We were at Buck Hollow and in the water by bout 6:15am. The plan was for a short float of 6 miles on day 1 to jam up cave. 12 miles on day 2 and finish with six miles on day 3.

Day 1:  June 9th

Got on the water at 6:15 with high hopes of some good fishing. That was not the case. Fishing was about as bad as it can get and I think we only caught maybe 10 combined. Major downer. We got to jam up cave around 1pm. There were people there setting up camp and exploring so we just floated on by and found a nice gravel bar to set up camp about a mile down river.  After a nice river bath and a good meal of pork loin and potatoes we called it a night.

Day 2:   June 10th

Since the fishing had been do poor on day 1 early in the morning we opted for a later start day 2 and let the sun come up a bit before we headed out.  After paddling out of the first hole we camped at I threw my first cast into some nice moving water while going around a sharp bend. 2 twitches on the wtd and BOOM….a nice 13 incher. Jeff comes around the corner next and I look back to see him hook up in the same spot. This trend would continue through out the day.  Nothing big but at lest they were aggressive.  We ended up catching what I would guys to be around 40-50 fish with the biggest being 15 1/2″. Got one all the way to the yak that I’m guess was 18 but he shook off right at the boat. Funny how the big ones seem to do that!  About 5pm we found the best gravel bar I think I have ever camped on. It was very small and shaded with more wood to burn than we ever needed.  7pm…..This is where I thought the trip was going to suddenly take a turn for the worse. So as we are standing at the edge of our small but beautiful gravel bar throwing a few casts and in the middle of a pretty good laugh (don’t remember what about) a man and a woman in a canoe come around the corner and the guy says “hey, you guys mind if we share a gravel bar with you?”   Now me having a slight buzz and thinking he is joking because of the very small size of the gravel bar, hollers back while laughing, ” sure, if you think you can find a spot.”   My heart sunk when he said, “man we really appreciate it. We are in hammocks and everything is just f+++++.”. Then he starts to paddle over to the bank.  I have never had so much of a swing of emotions so fast.  I mean it’s not like we are sharing a gravel bar….we are sharing about a 30′ x ’50 camp site. Jeffs tent was already set up and I was not using a tent, just sleeping on the gravel.  Fire already going and all set up so just giving up the gravel bar wasn’t much of an option. Now I’m a pretty nice dude but was really not looking forward to camping with another couple that already didn’t look happy. I looked at my brother and whispered, “W.T.F.?”. He replies back, “This sucks.” Not sure what happened and don’t really care but when I turned around they were on their way down river. I don’t know if they heard us or just decided it was a bad idea but I sure was happy to see it . Maybe im an a hole I don’t know.

Day 3: June 10

The third day was pretty much the same as the second with fishing not quite as good but still good enough to stay fun. About halfway through jeff landed an 16 1/2 incher that would be big fish of the trip. That was kind of disappointing because it seems someone usually lands a good one at some point but it never happened. All in all it was an awesome time.  I was completley amazed at how few people we saw. I bet it was less than 10 not counting campgrounds we passed.

 

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