High Adventure at Low Cost

Current River

An Ozark morning is crisp and clear as you float silently down the Current River in Shannon County. The smallmouths are biting and you revel in the splendor of the hillsides bathed in the pinks and whites of budding dogwoods and redbuds. Just for grins, you tighten your throat muscles and belt out a lonesome riff of turkey hen yelps. As the fading notes echo off the hillsides, an equally lonesome tom on a high ridge answers you with a lusty gobble. Beaching the canoe on a nearby gravel bar, you uncase your shotgun, jack in a trio of heavy-duty turkey loads and go to work. An hour and a half later, you're floating down the river again casting grubs to the smallmouths. In between casts, you're sneaking admiring peeks at the big Eastern gobbler tucked away in the bottom of your canoe. For many Missourians, turkey hunting and smallmouth fishing are the essence of spring, but not too many do both at the same time. The Current River is an excellent place to give it a try. The adjacent ridges are alive with turkeys, and the Current itself offers some of the finest smallmouth fishing in the region. The Current River Conservation Area, which flanks both sides of the stream, is 29,000 acres in size. A map showing access points is available from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Hunters from outside the state must possess a nonresident fishing license ($35) and a nonresident spring turkey hunting permit ($125). Contact: Missouri Department of Conservation (573-751-4115; www. conservation.state.mo.us).