Big River


Annual Prospects Report

The Big River should provide quality fishing opportunities for black bass, rock bass, and channel catfish in 2019. Anglers could catch all three black bass species during a single trip in the Jefferson/Washington county portion of the Big River. Smallmouth bass fishing has been good in years prior and surveys suggest this trend is likely to continue, especially for larger fish. Fish larger than 12 inches exist in good numbers, with a larger majority over 15 and 18 inches.  Smallmouth bass over 20 inches have been seen in past surveys. Anglers should fish areas with a combination of quality cover (rocks/rootwads/downed trees), moderate current and sufficient depth. In 2017, the Smallmouth Bass Special Management Area was extended to include the entirety of the main stem of the Big River. This includes all water between the Council Bluff Lake Dam to the confluence with the Meramec River. Largemouth bass fishing should be fair, including fish over 19 inches. Target pools and backwater areas with downed trees to catch this species. Spotted (Kentucky) bass fishing should be very good, as they continue to be abundant in slower moving water with rock/log cover. Anglers are encouraged to harvest all the spotted bass they catch, any size, up to the daily limit of 12. Rock bass (goggle-eye) should provide good spring fishing again this year. Fish 6-7 inches exist in good numbers and individuals up to 9 1/2 inches have been captured in the past.  To catch rock bass, fish the numerous downed trees, brush piles and rootwads with jigs and minnows. Past surveys have shown some of the strongest channel catfish numbers in recent years with many fish 16-20 inches and the largest being over 26 inches.  Fish for channel catfish in fast or moderately moving water near large rootwads and downed trees. Flathead catfish fishing should continue to only be fair, with few large fish present. Catch this species near woody cover.

Big River


St. Louis



Best Bets

From annual prospecting surveys