Diversion Channel Boat Ride

When I wrote about going trotline fishing with Ed and Melinda Roberts this summer, I mentioned that the scenery along the Diversion Channel between I-55 and the mouth of the Mississippi River was different that I had expected. I thought it would be a sterile, straight ditch. It turned out surprisingly beautiful and peaceful. If you’ve always heard about trotline fishing, but never knew exactly what it was, follow the link and watch the video.

My companions were intent on getting their line set out before dark, so everything was shot from a speeding boat. One of these days, I’ll have to rent a canoe or something where I can putter around at my own speed.

Diversion Channel photo gallery

Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or ride side to move through the gallery.

14 Replies to “Diversion Channel Boat Ride”

  1. Beautiful shots, Ken!! You’ve shown us some very unique views of the Diversion Channel that most of us will never see. Thanks for sharing your pictures with us!!

    1. The warm tone coming from the late afternoon sun. If you see that tone, you can be pretty sure that it’s getting close to sunset because I do everything I can to avoid seeing the sun come up.

  2. My dad bought a boat when I was around 12 or 13. We we went boating once or twice a week: Thursday afternoon and every other Sunday (that’s when pop was off work). We didn’t drive to a lake to spend the afternoon/day in the water … we just drove to Honker’s boat dock and pop put the boat in the Mississippi River. In the early days my cousin, Mary, went with us … when I was in high school, my best friend, Marilyn went along. Pop believed that there should always be someone water-skiing behind the boat. One of the best places to go was the Diversion Channel … skiing on this water was like being in Cypress Gardens – Florida … the water was always “glass-slick”. We would then stop the boat (after stirring up the water a little bit in hopes of running off any unwanted critters (snakes) … and proceed to swim in the channel. What great times we always had … even knowing that the “fun day in the water” ended with washing the boat from top-to-bottom in the washroom at pop’s service station.

  3. Ken: Those pictures was a great cruise down memory lane for me. I always refered to the “Diversion Channel as the “Big Ditch” too. That looked like a lot of good fishing there. It reminded me of my Great Uncle and him coming home from fishing at the “Big Ditch” and he’d have a sack full of fish and they were big sized too. Such great memories!!!!!! He also used to fish behind the Marquette Cement plant where the water from the Diversion Channel would back up and fill places with fish. He and I fished there many a time during the 60’s. Thanks for doing such a GREAT JOB of helping us remember the past that has so many good memories!!!!!!!

  4. I took a float trip down the Big Ditch in the early 50’s. I was a member of the Sea Scout Ship and we put in at the Block Hole, as I recall, on Saturday afternoon. We set up camp in a harvested corn field [so it must have been in the fall] We paddled, not rowed, the jon boats. On Saturday night we played around in the boats in the hole. There was a good sized water fall. My boat partner, John Popp and I offered to “play barge” with Johnny Brussman and whoever was in his boat. They sat at the back of their boat and held their stern fast to our bow. We maneuvered around for a while than pushed them into the falls which quickly filled their boat with water.

    The next morning, Sunday, we emerged from the field wearing our white sailor hats, and dungarees, with sea bags on our shoulders and began loading our boats. There were several fisherman on the banks and they watched in disbelief. We loaded the galley chest in our boat as I was the ships cook. After the boats were loaded we sat on the banks and sang some hymns and our skipper, Judge Leroy Friday, led us in prayer and preached one of his sermonettes. After the benediction we took to our boats and cast off and doffed our hats to the fishermen who continued to watch this strange sight. I don’t remember but think one of our mates my have piped us off with his bosun’s pipe. I am sure this is the only time something like that ever appeared on the Diversion Ditch. I think we may have ended the trip near what is now I-55, somewhere near Harris Field. Does anyone remember the Block Hole where the water ran over the falls?

  5. The Big Ditch get more interesting as you go farther west, beyond Dutchtown, Blomeier, and Delta; on out to Whitewater and Greenbriar. When there is enough water if can be a nice ride in either a canoe or even a jon boat.

  6. My husband and I fish for catfish in the Diversion Channel as often as possible. We often throw out a net and catch our own bait (shad or asian carp). You must be aware of the Asian Carp that jump near the motor of a boat. Some are large enough to knock a full grown man out of a boat. We used to have a 14′ john boat that at one time (maybe 2006?) we had to get out and push it over DRY SPOTS! when we were in a drought. We have since upgraded to a 16′ aluminum bass boat and I would highly advise against a canoe, as the Channel can sometimes have its own swift current. If you decide to return, Ramsey creek is about 2 city blocks east and to the right. It passes under Nash Road and at times can be scenic as well. -Just some random (very random) thoughts of time spent there.

    1. I used to live in Poplar Bluff and have an inboard jet (Shoal Runner). Can you run a good ways west and north? Like past Allenville? It appears there is not much traffic on the Diversion Channel

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