Autumn Adventures

Fishing & Paddling
  |  Gorp.com
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Fishing Michigan's Pere Marquette River
The banks of the Pere Marquette National Scenic River are awash in color in late September and early October. The vibrant reds of maples, shimmering golds of birches, deep purples and bronzes of oaks and resonant oranges of sumacs all merge for a stunning patchwork of Midwestern design.

Below the trees, in the river's cool waters, swim another autumn treat—chinook salmon heading upriver to spawn. The season runs from late August to mid-October, and usually peaks around September 15, when the leaves are starting to turn. Fly-fishing aficionados focus their attention on the eight-mile stretch of river from the M37 bridge to Gleason's Landing, which is limited to flies only. The water is clear, and the riffles shallow enough that you can see the large fish (up to 30 pounds) holding in the current. Nymphs and streamers are the flies of choice—and there will be no mistaking the tug when these powerful fish strike.

Paddling Arkansas' Ozarks
The radiant yellow tones of the hickories tend to dominate the Ozark Mountains in late September and early October, though scattered maples and dogwoods add bright red splashes to parts of the countryside.

Though scenic driving is a popular way to appreciate this countryside, paddling along the milky green waters unique to the Ozarks is still our favorite way to enjoy the colorful display. The Buffalo National River, a 140-mile section that winds to the confluence with the White River, flows through dramatically-colored hardwood forests and awe-inspiring bluffs. Canoeists who visit the region have many choices for day outings: They can paddle the thrilling fast water of the upper stretches or enjoy the placid pools of the middle and lower Buffalo. Due south of the Buffalo is the smaller Big Piney Creek, a classic Ozark mountain stream that twists and turns through overhanging trees. The headwaters of this river are rugged and remote, and the constant rapids interrupted by stretches of relative calmness make for exciting water for experienced canoeists. For even more excitement, strap on your PFD for the Mulberry River, which offers challenging Class II-III rapids when conditions are right. Located in the western Ozarks, this river flows through gorgeous terrain—narrow canyons, tree-lined bluffs, and dense forests.

More on the Buffalo National River
More on Big Piney Creek
More on Mulberry River


Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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