My affair with the Finley River is more than 45 years. Back sometime before 1985 I made a point to run the Finley in it’s full length as much as possible. I waded the upper portion until I couldn’t. Meaning wading just above Lindenlure and I must add a thanks to the Cox Family for allowing me access to the lake from their property at Lindenlure where they have owned the property since Lindenlure’s inception. I float the lake and again walking until the hole above Ozark Park. From there I floated the remainder all the way to the confluence of the James. The Finley is for sure one of my favorite spots in the Ozarks for that reason alone.
At the headwaters, of course shallow and crossing many low water slab bridges was, what I consider a great primer for any young outdoors person. You learn quickly what species are in the river and where it’s clear and cold and how to catch them. You pick up things like preferred color of baits to sizes. Later down the river you’ll see the efforts pay off. It took me nearly 2 full seasons to accomplish and it’s something I wouldn’t trade for anything.
The Finley is a perfect river to teach your children how to respect and get around a river without putting them in too much jeopardy, I recommend starting above Lindenlure at most any access point.
In recent years the Finley has come under fire for it’s degraded water quality. It’s something that needs to be brought under control, just as Springfield has to control the mid section of the James.