Hikers and horseback riders might think they have died and gone to heaven as they tour Angeline Conservation Area’s 37,000-acres. The 1-mile Lick Log Trail circles an Ozark creek’s passage through oak-hickory and shortleaf pine forest, overgrown farm fields, dry, rocky glades and steep-sided rock “shut-ins.” Pick up a self-guiding trail brochure at the Conservation Department’s Eminence office for information about the area’s plants and animals. Equestrian visitors can see much of the area from more than 25 miles of interior roads as well as a 9.5 mile multi-use trail. The area has frontage on the Jacks Fork and Current rivers and encompasses three designated natural areas. The wide range of habitats makes this area a great place to see migrating birds in the spring. Lichens and mosses adorn the rocky outcrops, and wildflowers abound. Primitive camping is permitted along roads and parking lots. This area has no other facilities.
White-bass fishing heats up at Pomme de Terre Lake each spring when these scrappy fish make their spawning runs up Lindley Creek and the Pomme de Terre River. Spring rains with temperatures in the 60s trigger the runs. County gravel roads provide some access for bank-fishing, while boat ramps off Highway PP near McCracken Bridge and Pittsburgh Park at the end of RA highway provide access to the lake’s two upper arms. White jigs, silver spoons, crankbaits or anything else that resembles a minnow is a good bet for bait.
Spring arrives first in Missouri’s Bootheel. Frogs are quick to notice winter releasing its icy grip, and they announce the joyful news with gusto. One of the best ways to enjoy the exuberant voices of spring is by taking a walk through a wetland area. The 1.2-mile Tupelo Trail at Otter Slough Conservation Area in Stoddard County has a wooden boardwalk to get visitors over swampy areas and a viewing deck with benches overlooking Otter Lake. The Boardwalk Nature Trail at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge gives visitors a dry 1-mile route through a cypress-tupelo swamp, and a 19-mile auto tour allows visitors to see more of the area at five overlooks. A brochure turns this drive into a self-guided tour. Call (573) 624-5821 for information about Otter Slough and (573) 222-3589 for information about Mingo NWR.
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