The Auxvasse Creek headwaters are in the fertile farmland of northern Callaway county, in central Missouri; from there, it winds its way about 35 miles to the southeast, and dumps into the Missouri River. The Lewis and Clark expedition passed the mouth on 30 May 1804, and the Captains of the Corps of Discovery referred to it as the Big Muddy River (English translation). Auxvasse is a French word, meaning “with mud,” and is pronounced “of – vause.” The French were here first, of course; we bought what we know as the Louisiana Purchase from them in 1803. Interestingly, the local folk seem to have kept the French name for this creek.
The Auxvasse, at this point, flows year round over its gravel bottom; varying from the raging runoffs from the spring downpours to a trickle of water in late summer, as evaporation nearly matches the flow of the few small springs that feed it.
Our access to this creek begins on the south side of Interstate 70 and extends about a mile and a half downstream, with two low water agricultural crossings providing good access. It is dotted here and there with small shut-ins. Growing up in Marion County, Missouri,
I fished the West Branch and main body of Sees Creek quite a bit, so Auxvasse creek was kind of déjà vu for me. I dreamed of fishing it in the late summer/early fall, when the air was cool, the water was still, and the pools were clear.
Finally, the opportunity came and late one morning in September daughter Sara and I waded into the creek with our knee boots and fly rods and gave it a try. Although the water was shallow, it was too deep in places for knee boots, and the weeds on the bank were too tall for comfort. Our fishing was limited to about 150 yards of water above the lower crossing. As we expected, the sunfish and bass were all too eager to be caught, but too small to keep for shore lunch. We left hungry for more fishing.
Smarter now, on our next visit we’ll wear shorts and tennis shoes, and plan to cover a much larger stretch of the creek. Hopefully we will find a deep hole or two and some bigger fish that will test our 5-weights. What a treat to explore and fish this stretch of Auxvasse Creek with my daughter.