Monday, November 9, 2015

Banking on the Buffalo

I had only floated Arkansas' Buffalo National River in the past, but given low water that would have dictated a lot of canoe dragging, Glenn Wheeler suggested a wading approach for our day on the Buffalo last week. I'm glad he did, and I'm intrigued by the notion of a multi-day trip with a similar approach some time in the future. The many National Parks Service access points provide a tremendous amount of river access, and I think it would be really fun to hop from access to access, working down the river, for a three or four days, camping by the river each evening.

The Buffalo is ever-winding, with gravel bars on long inside bends and bluffs across the river. Access points naturally are on the inside bends, so from just about any one, you can cover a lot of territory without any kind of boat. And when the water is low, like it is now, before you reach a point where the river changes directions, it's easy to wade across to stay on the shallow side.

In truth, for our trip, with limited time and a desire to hit a few different access points, we didn't even have to wade. An enormous amount of really good water could be reached from the bank. I ended up wading some, mostly because I like getting in the river, but two of our in our group stayed dry, and I didn't catch any more fish then they did. Together, I'd guess we caught a bout 40 fish (mostly smallmouths) in half a day of hopping from one access point to the next.

Just as it has when I've floated it in the past, the beautiful Buffalo River left me longing for more and I'm already mentally planning "next time." When exactly that next time will happen, I don't know, but I know I'm looking forward to it!

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