Northern Exposure

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Published on: Mar. 2, 2006

Last revision: Nov. 23, 2010

are trying to learn more about the number and size of catfish, how fast they grow and where they spend their time.

Anglers who catch flatheads on the Mississippi, South Fabius, Grand, Platte, Lamine, Gasconade, South Grand or Marmaton rivers are encouraged to report their catches and claim cash rewards. Some tags are worth $10, others $25.

To qualify for the reward, you need to remove the tag, which consists of two wires and a colored plastic “dangler” tab. The tags are attached just below the fish’s dorsal fin. Besides returning the tag, you must report where, when and how the fish was caught and its length. Each tag has a phone number telling where to report the catch.

Several large fish inhaled the offerings—only to snap our lines—which ranged from 4- to 10-pound test. Not all got away, though. Several 1.5 to 2-pound bass and catfish came to hand. We released each one after briefly displaying it for general admiration.

Long before the end of the day, I lost count of the number of fish I had caught. Instead, I began keeping track of the species I had seen. Catfish were most numerous, followed by smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, drum and green sunfish. We caught a single golden redhorse, but I am sure a sucker specialist could have found more.

Looking back on the day as I drove home, I realized that my time on the Fabius had been much more productive than many days I have spent on south-Missouri streams. I resolved to turn my fishing compass 180 degrees from time to time and discover more of the first-class fishing waters between home and the Iowa border.

Northern Missouri Stream Guide

The Fabius River is just one of many beautiful creeks and rivers in the northern half of the state. Here is a partial list of great fishing streams that are closer to Iowa than to Arkansas.

To learn more about conservation areas and accesses in the state, Missouri residents can request a free Discover Outdoor Missouri map. The map includes listings of conservation areas with disabled accessible facilities, conservation shooting ranges and Missouri state parks, as well as the amenities on those areas.

To request this item write to MDC, Discover Outdoor Missouri, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102 or e-mail

Northern Missouri Streams
Stream Location Accesses Top Fish Species
The Fabulous Fabius River Marion, Lewis, Shelby, Clark, Knox & Scotland counties Soulard, Sunrise, Blackhawk, Dunn Ford, White Oak Bend & Tolona accesses & Deer Ridge Conservation Area Channel & flathead catfish, smallmouth & largemouth bass, walleye & sauger
The Sensational Salt River Pike & Ralls Indian Camp Access & Ted Shanks Conservation Area Channel & flathead catfish, smallmouth & largemouth bass, walleye & sauger
The Fantastic Four Forks of the Salt River (upstream from Mark Twain Lake) North Fork: Monroe & Shelby counties Hunnewell & Mound View accesses & Arrow-Wood Conservation Area Walleye, channel & flathead catfish, smallmouth bass & drum
Middle Fork: Monroe County Paris & Woodlawn accesses Walleye, channel & flathead catfish & smallmouth bass
Elk Fork: Monroe County Cedar Bluff Access & Union Covered Bridge State Historic Site Crappie, drum, smallmouth bass, walleye, channel & catfish
South Fork: Monroe & Audrain Counties Santa Fe Access Walleye, channel & flathead catfish, smallmouth bass, drum & crappie
The Glorious Grand River Gentry, Daviess, Livingston, Carroll & Chariton counties Andy Denton, Savage, Wabash Crossing, Green, Holmes Bend, Newman Memorial, Sumner, Bosworth, & Brunswick accesses; Elam Bend, Fountain Grove & Little Compton Lake Conservation Areas. Channel, flathead & blue catfish, common carp
The Incomparable Cuivre River Lincoln, Warren, Pike, Montgomery & St. Charles counties Ashley Access, Cuivre River State Park & Old Monroe boat ramp (private, use fee) Smallmouth & largemouth bass, channel & flathead catfish, crappie & other panfish
The Plentiful Platte River Andrew & Buchanan counties Elrod Mill, Hadorn Bridge, Midway, Rochester Falls, Rock Quarry, Agency, Burton Bridge & Saxton accesses; Happy Holler Lake & Kendzora Conservation Areas Channel & flathead catfish
The Lovely Locust Creek Chariton, Linn, Livingston, Putnam & Sullivan counties Rocky Ford Access, Fountain Grove & Locust Creek Conservation Areas & Pershing State Park Channel & flathead catfish, carp, buffalo & drum
The Charming Chariton River Adair, Chariton, Macon, Putnam & Schuyler counties Archangel, Mullanix Ford, Henry Truitt, Elmer Cook Memorial, Dodd, Price Bridge & Dalton Bottoms accesses & Rebel’s Cove Conservation Area Channel & flathead catfish, carp, buffalo & drum

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