The Gasconade River that flows through the northern Ozarks of Missouri is a fisherman’s paradise in every sense of the expression. It is widely considered to be one of the nations best smallmouth bass streams. It is both a good place to catch and release twenty Bronzebacks, or specifically target lunker bass in the three to four pound range. The smallmouth fishing is best from the river’s humble beginnings in Wright County until Jerome. There are a lot of big bass in this part of the river, and the overall numbers are ample.
The entire river also holds catfish, rock bass, and bluegill. It is a great floating stream, and has many springs that flow into it that cause it to be navigable all year. The upper river is a medium sized or even small stream, but because of the streams such as the Osage Fork River, the Woods Fork River, the Big Piney River, Little Piney Creek, and Roubidoux Creek, the river is quite large by Ozark stream standards by the time it reaches the Missouri in Gasconade County.
The river is quite different below Jerome. It slowly becomes a largemouth bass river, probably the best stream largemouth fishery in the region, with five to seven pound bass relatively routine. Largemouths tend to hold in the warmer backwaters. There are also smallmouths in the lower river. They tend to stay in the main current where the water is colder and there is more oxygen. Catfish, rock bass, and bluegill can be found nearly anywhere. Because it has so many tributaries, the lower river can be silty at times, but it usually runs clear and is pretty. The Gasconade has far too many access points to begin naming them, but suffice it to say you will have no trouble finding a place to fish.
If you go to the Gasconade, you should also think of fishing the Woods Fork, Osage Fork, and Big Piney River for Smallmouth. If you want trout, hit Little Piney Creek, Mill Creek, Spring Creek, or Roubidoux Creek, all of which flow into the middle Gasconade directly or indirectly. In all, the Gasconade is well worth the trip if you like to catch smallmouth bass. If you need to get a canoe shuttle on the middle Gasconade or the Big Piney River, the Route 66 Canoe Rental can help you.