The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

VHF Marine Radio

Towboat pilots use VHF marine radios for communication between vessels, and also with harbor tows, lockmasters, the US Coast Guard, and recreational craft.  Commercial traffic uses VHF cannel 13 while recreational VHF channel 9.  Channel 9 is rarely used because they are so few pleasure boats on the river!  Some paddlers carry radios and monitor VHF channel 13.  Any frequent paddlers and any long-distance paddlers should carry one, at the very least for emergency purposes.  When in doubt alert tow pilots of your presence with simple statements like “canoe heading downstream right bank descending along green can buoys, crossing over and making landing left bank descending at Such-and-Such Landing.”  Most tow pilots will appreciate the information and respond with encouragement and good advice.  Others will swear at you and tell you to get the **** out of the way, which is not helpful at all, and might lead you to making bad decisions.  If you are using one, be a wise user.  Tow pilots know the river like no others.  But they don’t understand canoes or kayaks very well, and have little to no idea about how canoes & kayaks & stand-up-paddleboards move through the water, and what our special abilities are — as well as our limitations.  So, if you have one, and can use it, great.  You are well-prepared.  But if you don’t have a VHF marine radio, or aren’t comfortable with using one, don’t worry.  Thousands of successful expeditions have completed their journey without one.  Note: Commercial Traffic use VHF channel 67 between Baton Rouge and the Gulf of Mexico.


Introduction: Greenville to Vicksburg

After leaving Greenville the Mighty Mississippi flows south in giant meandering loops through the verdant and fantastically fertile Mississippi Delta.  This is the land that gave birth to the Delta Blues, and was once the cotton kingdom of the world.  The blues musician Muddy Waters was born near Rolling Fork, and a thriving blues and arts scene survives in Greenville.  There are no tributaries along this 100-mile stretch of river, as result the water gets cleaner and cleaner the further downstream you go from Greenville (no point-source pollution), and by the time you enter Vicksburg the sandbars are almost completely free of trash and the water at its cleanest since leaving the state of Minnesota!  The Mississippi floodplain forest was once America’s Amazon, but millions of acres of trees have been removed for farmland.  Remnants of the deep woods are protected along the river between the levees by the extreme rises and falls of the big river.  Giant oxbow lakes are found on either side of the river, notably Chicot Lake (largest oxbow in North America), and the oxbow congregations found at Possum Chute/Old River and Chotard/Albermerle/Eagle Lake/Paw-Paw. The river carves elegant C-curves and S-curves through deep woods as it meanders through Kentucky Bend, Sarah’s Chute, Marshall Cut-Off and then wanders down through its deepest woods above the mouth of the Yazoo River, the “River of Death.”  Here the big river engulfs mind-boggling swaths of muddy landscapes as it is forced south-southeasterly by Macon Ridge, which parallels the Mississippi out of Arkansas into Louisiana.  The big river slams headlong into the towering Vicksburg bluff at the Yazoo confluence and here ends the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta.   Possible alternate route through Paw Paw Chute for expert paddlers only.   Vicksburg is the best place for resupply and reconnoiter.  Paddlers will want to visit the Mississippi River Museum located inside the MV Mississippi towboat, as well as the National Military Park, and Vicksburg’s other offerings.

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Middle Mississippi & Bluegrass Hills / Bootheel 195-0, 954-850 ST. LOUIS TO CARUTHERSVILLE
Chickasaw Bluffs 850 – 737 CARUTHERSVILLE TO MEMPHIS
Upper Delta 737 – 663 MEMPHIS TO HELENA
Middle Delta 663 – 537 HELENA TO GREENVILLE
Greenville to Lake Providence
Greenville, Mississippi  
Greenville Accomodations and Restaurants  
Greenville Blues Festivals  
Greenville Boat Ramp  
Greenville Harbor  
537 LBD Warfield Point Park
537 LBD Old Warfield Point Boat Ramp
537 LBD New Warfield Point Boat Ramp
537 LBD New Warfield Point Boat Ramp
534 LBD Vaucluse Landing
531.5 RBD Sunny Side Landing
530.7 LBD Greenville Bridge
529 – 525.5 LBD Lakeport Towhead / American Bar
525 LBD American Cut-Off / Lake Lee
Lake Lee Public Boat Ramp  
Options for Paddlers Below Greenville Bridge Near American Bar and Lake Lee  
Lake Washington  
523 – 520 RBD Island 68
519 – 515 RBD Kentucky Bend
515 – 512 LBD Leota Bar / Cracraft Chute
514 – 512 RBD Worthington Cutoff, Matthews Bend, Grand Lake, Island 88
512 RBD (And Up Back Channel) Grand Lake Landing Boat Ramp
510 – 506 RBD Cracraft Bar
Paddler’s Choices Through Cracraft Chute & Sarah’s Cutoff  
Entering Louisiana  
503.5 RBD Bunch’s Cutoff
503 RBD Chute of Old River Lake
505 – 502 LBD Corregidor Bar
500 – 495 RBD Wilson Point Bar
496 LBD Tennis Court Landing
Vicksburg Gage  
Water Levels and Dikes  
494 – 487 LBD Baleshead / Stack Island / Ben Lamond
Two Stack Islands?  
Lake Providence  
Lake Providence Landings  
Paddler’s Choices in the Mayersville – Lake Providence Area  
487 – 481 LBD Shipland Wildlife Management Area
Lake Providence to Vicksburg
Vicksburg Gage  
Water Levels and Dikes  
Water Levels and Dikes  
Lake Providence  
Lake Providence Landing  
Paddler’s Choices in the Mayersville – Lake Providence Area  
487 – 481 LBD Shipland Wildlife Management Area
480 – 474 Fitler Bend
471 – 465 Arcadia Point Bar / Cottonwood Bar
Paddler’s Routes Arcadia Point Bar / Cottonwood Bar  
462 – 459 RBD Willow Island
461 LBD Chotard Lake Terrapin Neck Cutoff
Laney’s Landing  
459 LBD 2010 F-4 Tallulah – Yazoo Tornado
458.8 LBD Eagle Lake Pass
458 LBD Tara Landing
457 RBD Madison Parish Port and Public Boat Launch
Bluz Cruz Kayak and Canoe Race  
Willow Island, Chotard Lake, and Eagle Lake: Paddler’s Routes  
458 – 449 Milliken Bend
449 – 445 RBD Sparta Island
449 – 445 RBD Marshall Cutoff
446.5 LBD Paw Paw Chute
The “Heart of the Darkness” Tour  
Around Paw Paw to Forest Home Chute  
Paw Paw to Vicksburg Via the Yazoo  
Steele Bayou Control Structure  
What Are the Paw Paws  
Paw Paw Chute / Sparta / Brown’s Point: Paddler’s Routes  
445 – 442 Brown’s Point
444 Brown’s Point Fault Line
441 – 438.5 RBD Delta Point Bar
Habitat Restoration on the Lower Miss  
438 RBD King’s Point / Secret Entrance Into Lake Centennia
437.7 LBD Mouth of the Yazoo River
Vicksburg Services and Accommodations  
Vicksburg Services, Accommodations, and Restaurants  
Looking Downstream  
Loess Bluffs 437 – 225 VICKSBURG TO BATON ROUGE
Atchafalaya River 159 – 0 SIMMESPORT TO MORGAN CITY
Louisiana Delta 229 – 10 BATON ROUGE TO VENICE
Birdsfoot Delta 10 – 0 VENICE TO GULF OF MEXICO