The three forks of the Black rise virtually within the shadow of the highest point in the state, Taum Sauk Mountain, and join near Lesterville to flow quickly toward the lowest section of the state. The upper Black is exceptionally clear and has enough feeder springs to produce some good smallmouth bass fishing. Below Clearwater Lake, the river moves more slowly and is less clear but is still a good float-fishing stream. Some of the most beautiful scenery in Missouri is to be found in the upper reaches of the Black. This includes several “shut-ins,” areas where the stream runs through jumbled rocks and potholes in gorge-like valleys. One such area open to the public is Johnson Shut-ins State Park on the East Fork. Shut-in Creek, a tributary of the East Fork, has a section which drops 70 feet per mile, but these upper shut-ins of the Black are not boatable. Mill Creek (10.7) is the best starting point during normal or low-water levels. Good camping area at Clearwater Dam.

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Black River 1

 

Map courtesy of http://missouricanoe.org

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