Big River Magazine
Explore the Upper Mississippi

January-February 2015

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Read stories from past issues of Big River

River Pilgrims (pdf) by Anna Segner, from Nov-Dec 2014

Kickapoo Valley Reserve Ice Caves (pdf) by Joan Kent, from Jan-Feb 2014

Turtle Dogs (pdf) by Pamela Eyden, from July-Aug 2010

Cardinal flowers on the Mississippi (pdf) by John Sullivan

Mapping Time and the River (pdf) by Ryan Johnson, from March-April 2014

Download Army Corps 2011 Navigation Charts

Essay Only the River is Real, by Vincent Kavaloski, from March-April 2014

Dreaming of a trip down the river? Read about boaters taking a voyage of a lifetime down the Mississippi on River Trips.

Sand Dollars Mining Frac Sand in the River Valley (pdf) Some of the best sand for fracture drilling is found in the exposed rocky bluffs along the Upper Mississippi. From July-August 2011 Big River.

Strip Mining the Upper Mississippi (pdf) Aerial views of sand mines. From July-August 2013 Big River.

Live River Links

Weather forecast for Upper Mississippi cities

River levels on the Upper Mississippi

Towboat-watching resource: Boats in pools and queued in locks.

Dreaming of a trip down the river? Read about boaters taking a voyage of a lifetime down the Mississippi on River Trips.

Upper Mississippi News Links

Upper Mississippi River Blogs

Big River Carp T-shirt
Order Here!

Covering the Heart of the Driftless Area for 22 Years

Current Issue
January-February 2015

Bringing an Old Boat Back to Life

Capt. Carl Henry

"I got it at a fair price, but it was definitely a fixer-upper. I didn't know if anything worked – if the two 130-hp engines even ran. It was the dead of winter, and there was a foot of water and ice in the bilges. Some machinery was underwater and ruined. The ceiling was collapsing from water damage. It was rough, but it was a solid boat with a lot of potential and character, just the project I was looking for at the time."

Read the whole story in the January-February Big River.

Buy now

Last Towboat Ride
to the Upper Harbor

In early November, I was a guest of Captain Kelsey Rohr and his crew aboard the motor vessel Patrick Gannaway on their daily run from St. Paul to north Minneapolis. Kelsey has piloted this towboat for the last 20 years, pushing loads of sand and gravel upriver. From 1997 through 2000, I was a part of the crew. I wanted to make the run one more time before the Upper St. Anthony Lock is shut down to halt the advancement of Asian carp up the Mississippi River.

By Capt. Bob Deck

When "Big Mama" Ruled the Rivers

Remains of the world’s largest steam-powered sternwheeler towboat lie abandoned in Vicksburg, Miss.
By Connie Cherba and Harold Pollock

Listen to the Sprague's steam whistle

River Angels

People who paddle the length of the river find help from folks who come to be known as "river angels."
By Anna Segner

Big River Poetry Contest

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River News

River Trips

Back Issues

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Read these stories
in the
January-February issue of
Big River.

Buy the magazine at these locations

Order single issues from Big River

See more on the Highlights page

Jan-Feb website links

Report Shows Violation of Regulations Common Practice for Frac Sand Industry

Marty Kittrell's blog on the Sprague

Minnesota Dugout Canoe Project

Contact Big River

Contact Info

Subscriptions and renewals

Change of Address

Back Issues

Books and Products

Deck on Deck: Towboating in the Twin Cities by Capt. Bob Deck

What's it like to work on a towboat? Deck on Deck is a first-hand account of life on river towboats in the 1970s and 80s. These stories will entertain you as Bob Deck recalls his days as a deckhand on the Mississippi River.


Read More from Big River

Big River Travel Map
Dozens of scenic Mississippi overlooks and places to go.

Read Stories
about the Upper Mississippi River from past issues of Big River Magazine.

See complete issues from 2006 and 2007 online (PDFs). Select issues here

Volunteer groups on the river - a nine-part series about non-profit groups making a difference on the Upper Mississippi

Check the weather forecast and river levels for Upper Mississippi River cities.

More on overlooks

River organizations

Links to Upper Mississippi Resources

Take a look back at our April Foolishness river stories.


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Troubled Waters 30 Years in the River Business by Jack Lambert For sale in the Big River Bookstore. Listen to Jack's July 1st talk with Tommy Mischke on The Nite Show - Mischke Til Midnite,WCCO NewsRadio online.

Mississippi River guidebooks

Driftless Area, Lansing to LeClaire, Iowa, and Quad Cities Travel Guides by Dean Klinkenberg. More info and ordering info.