Ozark Creek Gauge Levels

The following is a table of information about gauge level interpretations of Ozark rivers and creeks. The station numbers are linked to the on-line USGS gauge pages for each gauge. These gauges are typically updated at four to five hour intervals. The recommended levels are not always for the stream that the gauge is on; if not, the stream they describe is named and linked in the notes seciton. The "Low" level is the recommended minimum level for fun paddling - below this level the creek will not typically be passable without dragging around shallow spots. "Opt" refers to the range of levels generally considered optimal for paddling the creek. Remember that there is usually a big difference in the speed and power of the current between the low end of this range and the high end of this range (low optimal and high optimal). The "High" reading is the level above which the creek becomes too swift and dangerous for the typical boater of this type of stream. Intimate familiarity with the creek and above average boating skills are required to safely complete a run at or near this high level. As always, this information is in no way gauranteed to be accurate; you must use your personal judgement to interpret stream conditions before you launch your boat. While this listing may be a useful guide, it is no substitute for caution and common sense.
Station#NameLow    Opt    HighNotes
07196900Baron Fork at Dutch Mills2.63.0 - 3.54.5Levels listed are for Lee Cr. This gauge preceeds the Lee Cr. at Short gauge (below) by more than 6 hours. This gauge is also a good predictor for Fall Cr.. See this page for more information.
07257006Big Piney Cr at Hwy2.83.5 - 4.55.5 
07055646Buffalo River nr Boxley4.85.3 - 6.06.5Levels are for the Hailstone Cr. Good levels for the Buffalo between Boxley and Ponca are 4.0 - 6.0. At around 5.5 or so, the river below Ponca will be closed. This is a new gauge and may not be fully correlated yet! Also see the NPS gauge for Ponca at which is updated much more frequently (keep in mind that it takes the water one to two hours to reach Ponca from Boxley). On the NPS Ponca gauge the levels for the Hailstone are: 4.5 (low); 5.0 - 6.5 (opt); 7.5 (high). In terms of airspace under the Ponca bridge, this correlates to (roughly): -10" (low); -3" - +10" (opt); +20" (high), where a negative number is inches of air under the bridge and positive number are inches of water over the bridge. You can check http://members.yournet.com/boc/mills.htm for a report on the Ponca bridge level most mornings. This gauge is also strongly correlated to levels on Beech Cr., Smith Cr., and Adkins Cr.. A level of 7.0 or more (6.8 on the NPS Ponca gauge) usually indicates a runnable level on these tributaries. A level of 5.8 or more may indicate a run on the East Fork of the Little Buffalo R..
07261000Cadron Creek nr Guy
07340300Cossatot River nr Vandervoort3.33.8 - 5.06.0See this page for more information. Also, levels of 5.5 or greater are a good indicator for Baker Cr..
07260000Dutch Creek at Waltreak5.06.0 - 7.58.0Levels listed are for Sugar Cr. which correlates very well with Dutch Cr., especially if rainfall is widespread. Jack Cr. can also be gauged by looking at Dutch Cr. A level of around 6.0 is minimal for Jack Cr. 9.0 would be more water than most folks would care to see.
07250965Frog Bayou nr. Winfrey, Ark.5.86.3 - 7.37.8The levels listed are good for the Frog below Mountainburg. Only about 1/2 of the water in the Frog below Mountainburg comes from this source, so local rain patterns must be taken into account when using this gauge. This gauge preceeds the Rudy gauge (below) by more than 3 hours. This gauge may be good for predicting levels on Hurricane Cr., Spirits Cr., and possibly White Rock Cr. This is a new gauge and has not been fully correlated yet!
07251500Frog Bayou at Rudy3.54.0 - 5.06.5If this gauge is over 5.5 feet that may be an indicator for Cedar Cr.. See this page for more information on playboating on the Frog.
07257500Illinois Bayou nr Scottsville
07194800Illinois River nr SavoyN/A4.2 - 6.58.0The Illinois is usually never too low due to springs that feed it all summer long. The levels listed are primarily for the playspot at Fisher's Ford, but they will work for the rest of the river too. Remember that the river has a lot of agricultural pollution at high water levels!
07050500Kings River nr Berryville9?10? - 12??This gauge is probably too far downstream to indicate a fast rise on the Upper Kings run, but if levels are dropping and rain was widespread it should be reasonably accurate. Also, it is not well correlated yet, so take it with a grain of salt. It does correlate very well with the play wave at Trigger Gap which should be good if this gauge is over 6.0 feet. Also contact Ernie at Kings R. Outfitters (http://www.kingsriveroutfitters.com/) to gauge Trigger Gap.
07360200Little Missouri R nr Langley5.06.0 - 7.08.0See this page for more information.
07249985Lee Creek nr Short, Oklahoma4.55.5 - 7.09.0See this page for more information.
07252000Mulberry River nr Mulberry2.03.0 - 4.25.0This gauge is also a pretty good indicator for the lower Mulberry tributary creeks. If rain is widespread and recent, look for around 7.5 for a minimum for Spirits Cr., Little Mill Cr., and the Salt Fork. Look for 6.0 feet or more for Hurricane Cr. and Mill Cr.. Also the Little Mulberry Cr. run typically needs 6.0 or more on this gauge. If rain is localized, then the correlation may be thrown way off by more or less water from the huge watershed upstream of these creeks.
07055875Richland Cr nr Witts Springs3.54.0 - 5.06.0Levels are for Upper Richland Cr. Minimum for Lower is around 3.0 feet. See this page for more details.
07256500Spadra Creek at Clarksville4.05.5 - 7.08.0In addition to indicating what's happening at Spadra Cr., a level above 9.0 on this gauge and rising may indicate a runnable level on West Horsehead Cr..
07263000S Fourche LaFave nr Hollis
07048600White River nr Fayetteville