The Buffalo Report _ Ben Levin

I’d been giving the boys, Chad Johnson and Ben Levin, a hard time over the past week or so for a report on their 3 day float of the lower Buffalo River.

It wasn’t total jealousy that I’d been stuck in the shop for this trip, nope a goodly part was the sheer entertainment of watching them duck and dive for excuses, but then again sharing some of this trip, one of the great floats in the US, is pretty cool too.

You might say this trip has it all the serenity of being away from the day floaters, the scenery and wildlife and some quality Ozark smallmouth fishing _ don’t take my word for it check out Ben’s report and enjoy the pics _ Steve

Floated the last 24.5 miles of the Buffalo River during the first week of May with good friends Chad and Sammy. We put in at Rush access and took out at Buffalo City, spending two nights and three days on the river. It was an awesome trip, with beautiful weather, long remote stretches of smallmouth water, and cool nights camping on the gravel bars. Our drift boat was loaded perfectly so that maneuvering through the shoals was easy, and we didn’t drag bottom much at all on the 3.2 water level as measured at the highway 14 bridge.


The blue, cloudless skies didn’t slow the fishing! We probably landed well over 150 smallmouths between the three of us during the trip, with plenty of fish in the 14-16 inch range. Clousers were steady all the way down, and crawfish patterns in the holes pulled some of the bigger fish. A 17.5 incher was the best one of the trip, weighing around 2 1/4 lbs. on the boga before being carefully released.

All the fish were fat and healthy, extremely hard fighting, and had thick bellies. Fishing with popping bugs and streamer patterns early and late also pulled some nice fish.
We saw only three other people the entire float, and had all the best water to ourselves. Some campfire cooked burgers and cold beers capped off our great days of fishing, relaxing in lawn chairs watching a Buffalo River sunset with good friends! A great three days off, and an awesome way to cash in on our superb smallmouth fishing this time of year! Ben Levin