Float trips, for which the Ozarks are famous among smallmouth bass fishermen, reputedly originated at Galena on the James. John boats 18-24 feet long and 4 feet wide were used long before canoes and kayaks became popular and are amazingly maneuverable craft for their size. Some anglers still prefer the stability they provide for casting while standing and the comfort of folding arm chairs which they can carry. Before the days of Table Rock Dam a five-day float of about 125 miles was available from Galena to Branson, but now little, if any, of the river is floatable below Galena. However one of the fine fishing floats always has been the 22-mile section from “Hooten Town” to Galena and this may srill be floated even with john boats. In high or medium water paddlers can run anorher 40 miles above this as well as some of the larger tributaries. Most of this water provides fine fishing.

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James Finley River

 

 

Map courtesy of http://missouricanoe.org