The Blue River basin is an unusual tapestry of forestland, caves, sinkholes, underground rivers and springs that create a wondrous ecosystem. The basin is home to rare plants and even rarer animals. The hellbender salamander, which is not found anywhere else in Indiana, lives here. The caves underlying this land provide habitat for insects and crustaceans found nowhere else in the world.
The Blue River of southern Indiana rumbles swiftly through Washington, Harrison and Crawford counties. Its path takes it from the city of Salem and through the richly wooded hills of Harrison-Crawford State Forest. The Blue then spills into the Ohio River.
The Blue River basin encompasses 600 square miles and contains 375,000 acres of rugged hardwood forest and rural terrain within seven counties of Southern Indiana.
Blue River flows through one of the most scenic, interesting and diverse areas of Indiana. There is the opportunity to experience the pastoral tranquillity of rural farmland, extensive forests, numerous caves, and a wealth of historical attractions.
The river originates in Washington County in southern Indiana, and for a portion of its journey to the Ohio it forms the boundary between Harrison and Crawford Counties. It is an entrenched stream whose meanders have cut deep into the Mississippian limestone bedrock. A series of "half canyons" lie astride the Blue never completely enclosing it. The Crawford Upland region is typical of a karst (limestone) topography with its many sink holes and caves formed as water dissolved the rock. The limestone walls along the river are usually shrouded in a heavy cover of trees and shrubs.
Rock is a constant feature of the stream bed, but much of it is covered by sediment. The rapids reveal gravel bars, however, and the canoeists must remain alert for submerged boulders which can be quite hazardous. The width, depth, and gradient of the river vary, but it is about 85 feet wide. Average depth is about five feet deep, and the river falls at about four feet per mile.
Sportfishing opportunities in the river include smallmouth bass, rock bass, spotted bass, carp, flathead and channel catfish, sauger, black crappie, and striped bass.
Sink holes, submerged timber and boulders, tree covered shoreline, weedlines.