ATTENTION: STRIPED BASS HISTORY BUFFS!
DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT YOUR "HOME" BASS-FISHING RIVER WAS LIKE 124 YEARS AGO?
US Army Corps of Engineers
Survey of the
Ocklawaha River, Florida
Report of Survey
Prepared 1891 by the
United States Army
Corps of Engineers
An Information, Opinion, Photos, & Sources Report
Compiled by Ocklawahaman Paul Nosca
With the assistance of Captain Erika Ritter
What was Florida’s Ocklawaha River and Silver River system really like back in 1891, 124 years ago, and long before Rodman Dam (1968) or even Moss Bluff Lock and Dam (1925) was ever constructed? Silver Springs was one of the Sunshine State
’s original tourist attractions. The uniquely beautiful Ocklawaha and Silver, quite possibly the only river drainage entirely in the state of Florida that was cool-watered-enough (58-80 degrees F year-long), swift-flowing-enough (current velocity about 1 mph), and long-enough (more than 50 miles free-flowing) to allow the successful spawning of native striped bass, was famed as a sportsman’s paradise because of its awesome fishing and hunting opportunities.
It was the steamboat era where the main channels of the Ocklawaha and the Silver were plied by boxed-in stern-wheel
launches, small row boats or canoes and downstream floating cypress-log rafts. But the numerous side-creeks
of the Ocklawaha offered solitary escape for the truly adventurous outdoorsman seeking its jungle-like, sub-tropical wilderness experience.
And back then in that year of 1891, a team of surveyors was tasked by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) to conduct a reconnaissance
of the Ocklawaha River from its mouth at the St. Johns River upstream to Lake Griffin and Leesburg, Florida and to prepare a report on it afterwards. Yes, the USACOE recorded for all-time an accurate and detailed 8-page summary of that survey of the Ocklawaha River which had been conducted from February 20, 1891 to April 23, 1891 for the purpose of proposing future projects to enhance commerce and navigation on that waterway. As ordered, “Report of the Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army” (pages 1620-1627) “Appendix O---Report of Captain Black: Improvement of Ocklawaha River, Florida” was dutifully submitted by the USACOE about 124 years ago. Now in 2015, you can explore online this fascinating account of the 1891 expedition via pontoon upon the Ocklawaha River, Florida.
Much more (including the original 1891 report) at: