High in the mountains of Madison County lie the beginnings of the Kings River. From this steep country the stream twists its way northward to the White River and finally flows into southern Missouri's Table Rock Lake, a distance of approximately 90 miles. In its upper reaches, the Kings cuts a narrow gorge through sandstone, shale, and limestone. On downstream the surrounding countryside is not quite so precipitous, but the water is the same--clear and cool. The Kings' most attractive features are the flora and fauna found along the rocky banks and bluffs. The headwaters area offers some hiking opportunities at locations like Kings River Falls Natural Area. The rest of the river offers excellent floating and fishing with deep pools, overhanging trees, occasional rapids and several large bluffs. Some fine gravel bars are found in the lower stretch of the river. Attesting to the stream's beauty is the fact that in 1971 the General Assembly passed legislation to protect the portion of the river in Madison County, noting that it "possesses unique scenic, recreational, and other characteristics in a natural, unpolluted and wild state."
Fishing: The Kings has countless rock bass and hefty channel cats, but when fishing this stream, first and foremost on the minds of most anglers are the big smallmouth bass. Take along heavy tackle. Some people expect bass from this smallish stream to be small, too, and that can cost trophy fish, which commonly reach four to six pounds. A baitcasting reel, a medium-action rod, and 10- to 12-pound line are appropriate.
Two sportfish often overlooked by Kings River anglers are the walleye and white bass. Both species are common in the portion of the river near Table Rock Lake during the spring spawning runs in March, April and early May. White bass will hit a variety of shad-imitation lures and minnows, while walleyes are usually taken on live baits such as minnows, crayfish and worms or artificial lures, particularly deep-running crank-baits and jigs.
Several outfitters have operations in the area. General Highway Maps for Carroll and Madison counties will help floaters and fishermen locate the entry points listed in earlier paragraphs. (Note: Visitors are advised that access is not recommended at the U.S. Highway 412 bridge east of Marble.)