|Denver, Rob Reep's German Shorthaired Pointer Puppy, enjoys a cool dip in the Saline River.|
Denver turned 18 weeks-old just days earlier, and with his vaccinations complete, it was time to give this waterdog his first introduction to wild water. As the only free-flowing river in the Ouachita Basin, Bradley County's Saline River is most definitely wild water.
This past weekend on the Saline got me thinking about how rare our river is. We take it for granted far too often. So I'm starting what I hope will be a longterm column that will celebrate, introduce, and from time to time remind us of what opportunities for adventures await us here at home. This week let's take a gander at the very geographic feature that this website is named after, the Saline River.
|Jessi Reep awaits Denver's retrieve of a bumper.|
Of course, most of us know it's a wonderful place to fish. Even now in August, some boaters are still able to hit the water. Bream, catfish, and bass swim its waters, which has led to a rich tradition of fish fries over the last hundred years. This past weekend, as my wife and I, along with Denver relaxed on the sandbar, there were even fishermen wading in the swift water and waiting on the next big one.
For portions of the year the Saline is high and its waters murky at best. This time of the year gives most of us the impression of a swamp-like river, not desirable for swimming. However, as this past weekend reminded me, the Saline does at times present itself as a true stream, with its gravel bed very noticeable through the clear shallow waters of August. There are several favorite swimming holes up and down the Saline's banks. Those include Ozment's Bluff, Godfrey Place, just north of Melton's Landing, Camp Mansfield, and many more.
These clear waters, while not considered whitewater, are still perfect for those who like to canoe or kayak. Canoers particularly must be careful parts of the year, as the river level can drop to such a point that you might find yourself dragging your boat for a good chunk of the trip from bridge to bridge. Kayakers, however, were in full force this past weekend, drifting high in the rather warm water flowing to the south.
|Rob Reep and his GSP Denver wade in the Saline in early August 2019.|
So the next time you're looking for a quick beach vacation, why not enjoy a gravel beach vacay on the Saline. It's close, you can fish, you can float, and it's clean and clear!
Till next time, get outside and enjoy the outdoors. But stay cool!