Fishing report: Awaiting cooler weather for the fall transition? It’ll be here soon

Tyler Mahoney shows off a catfish he caught recently. His 5-month-old Australian Shepherd, Copper, was definitely a fan!
Tyler Mahoney shows off a catfish he caught recently. His 5-month-old Australian Shepherd, Copper, was definitely a fan!

Here is the fishing report for lakes and reservoirs in the Kansas City area and regionally around Kansas and Missouri for September 18, 2019.


BULL SHOALS: 84 degrees, dingy to clear (5-10 feet) visibility, 13 feet high and falling fast Outlook: Del Colvin Guide Service reports: Fishing is fair on cloudy days. Water clarity on the main lake is clearer, but there is color in the back of major creeks. The shad are numerous and suspending in about 15-20 feet off main lake and secondary points all the way into major creeks. With no current, the bait moves off banks and points. If the sun is out, go deep using jigs, drop shot, or spoon 20 to 30 feet on points or bluffs. Generation is going to be key to a good deep bite. Otherwise you need to cover water to get bit. Junk fishing with a buzz bait, plopper, spinnerbait, and Jewel Gem Shad swimbait will get them. Those old shoreline bushes are still holding fish but a lot are moving with shorter days. There are still fish on islands or humps hanging around bait fish 22-32 feet down. If there is wind or clouds, powerfishing will work if there’s a front moving in. Check submerged roads and manicured areas for feeding bass. Wind will also help the look for long points with a channel swing nearby. Walleye guys are trolling and doing fair 32-34 feet down early in the morning. Spoon guys are catching on cloudy days. Del Colvin also does a video fishing report on YouTube: Bull Shoals Lake Fishing Report Below the dam: John Berry of Berry Bros. Guide Service reports: The White has fished very well. Heavy generation and no wadable water in last week. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite combination is a cerise San Juan worm with an egg pattern suspended below it). Use long leaders and plenty of weight to get your flies down.

TANEYCOMO: 55 degrees, clear, moderate flow in afternoon Outlook: Lilleys’ Landing reports: The trout are active, feeding and fighting hard when hooked. The Berkley Pink Powerworm is truly the best bait for numbers, and occasionally some big fish. Fish it 4-5 feet deep early in the morning and then move to up to 10 feet deep when the sun gets up over the water. Two-pound line is a must. #14 or #16 tan or gray scuds in the trophy area are working well. Fish them under a float 4-6 feet deep and in tandem with an egg fly. You can use a beaded scud and egg for weight, or you can add small split shots to get them down. Use 7x tippet. Sculpin, sculpin/ginger, black and olive are the best jig colors right now. The times I’ve gone out, early and late, the trout have been towards the top of the surface, about three- five-feet deep. Try either a 1/16th- or a 1/32nd-ounce jig using two-pound line, not letting it sink very much. During the day when the sun is over the water, you need to let the same jig drop to the bottom and work it slowly. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

NORFORK: 84 degrees, slightly stained, about 8 feet high Outlook: Bink’s Fintastic Guide Service reports: the best bite has been crappie recently. They have really turned on. Walleye and bass have been down in 25 feet of water and hitting the Bink’s “Many Shad” spoon in white color. The striped bass are 100 feet deep right now.

LONGVIEW: 80 degrees, stained, about normal. Outlook: Longview Marina reports: Crappie have been very good using minnows in standing timber in both creek arms, but you have to work for them, mostly 7 to 8-inch fish. Some really nice crappie have been caught on the marina. Walleye have been good on the flats near the 3rd street point, several limits have been caught on minnows recently. Bass have been slow on plastics in brush piles and along weeds. Whites have been schooling intermittently. Fishing is available from the marina Monday-Friday. Fishing hours are 7am-6pm. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

POMME DE TERRE: low 80s, clear, 2 feet high Outlook: Pomme Muskie Guide Service reports: 500 CFS being released. Fishing has been slower the past week but should be picking up soon with cooler weather coming. Crappie have still been over brush piles on jigs and minnows. No recent reports of muskies.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS: mid to upper 70s, clear, normal Outlook: Gier’s Bass Pro reports: still no change here yet. Fish are still being caught primarily on the main lake. Crappie are very good trolling crankbaits near main lake points. Smaller crappie have moved into brush. Catfish are very good on main lake and secondary points using cut bait 25-30 feet down. Bass are on main lake points and brush piles catching them on soft plastics and crank baits. Both bass and crappie have been in about 15-20 feet recently.

JAMES A. REED: 80 degrees, murky, normal Outlook: Missouri Dept. of Conservation reports: largemouth bass fair to good on a variety of baits including soft plastics. Topwater has slowed down, but you can try buzzbaits and whopper ploppers. Channel catfish are fair on prepared baits and cut bait. All other species are slow. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

STOCKTON: upper 70s/low 80s, clear, 1 foot low Outlook: Tandem Fly Outfitters reports: Fishing has been excellent in the last week. Walleye are biting on a Jakked shooter head tipped with a nightcrawler, trolling flicker shad in 12-15 feet and still bottom bouncing. Crappie are still suspended and around brush from 15-25 feet on jig or minnow using a 1/16th-1/8th oz jig head. Bass are scattered but eating well. Have a spook, jig and a crank bait tied on. White bass are scattered, but trolling a rooster tail or flicker shad will put some in the boat. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

JACOMO: upper 70s/low 80s, stained, normal Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group reports: Crappie are being found all over the water column. Look for them suspended 15-20 feet down or more near the mouths of coves using minnows or jigs. Still some anglers finding them from the bank near wood structure in Liggett Cove. Largemouth have been slow to fair. Look for them deep still, and hopefully the cooling weather will turn on the bite soon. Topwater night bite was pretty good recently under the moonlight. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

BLUE SPRINGS: upper 70s/low 80s, stained, normal Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: the bass bite has been slower recently. Look for them near wood structure off points. Crappie are slow to fair and can be found 8-12 feet deep. Trolling or casting small crankbaits are good options that might get you an accidental wiper as well. Wipers will hit swimbaits, spoons, and crankbaits so look for big stacks of them on your graphs. They should be starting to school up as fall gets closer. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

TABLE ROCK: 85 degrees, clear to stained, 1 foot low Outlook: Eric Prey of Focused Fishing Guide Service reports: no major changes week to week. Bass are hitting top water baits early and late around shad on main lake points and bluff ends. Drop shot rigs later in the day have been productive on fish 25 - 40 feet deep suspended over deep trees. Shallow crankbaits and buzz baits have been effective in the backs of creeks where shad are present. Bass will be holding on laydowns and any other cover on flats in those locations. Also, small jigs fished around boat docks will produce. Football jigs have been working on gravel points 15-25 feet deep. White bass are slow with a few scattered fish surfacing with black bass in the mornings. You can also find them trolling small shad colored crankbaits. Smaller swimbaits fished over submerged trees topping out around 20 feet will also produce a mixed bag of bass. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

TRUMAN: 78 degrees, clear, about 6.1 feet high Outlook: Richard Bowling Guide Service reports: total discharge is 28,000 CFS. Crappie are biting well all day and being caught in 8-14 feet of water near hardwoods, cedars, and hedges. Minnows and jigs are working. Bass are being caught on main lake points using 10-inch worms. Catfish have been good in 15 feet on points with current.

SMITHVILLE: 79 degrees, clear, about normal Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: 8 CFS releasing. The crappie and catfish are excellent. The crappie are 8-10 feet down in brush piles in 12-18 feet of water on minnows or jigs. Catfish are great on the bottom in about 6-10 feet using cut shad, liver, or prepared baits. The white bass haven’t been quite as predictable. Look for white bass on the ledges and use a spoon to catch them. Walleye have been slow recently. Bass have been fair, but most are coming in less than 10 feet of water. Try 10-inch worms, jig and pig, or a brush hog. Some early and late top water is also working.


SHAWNEE MISSION PARK: 80 degrees, clear, normal Outlook: some trout have been caught in the last week on Powerbait. Crappie and panfish are good on worms and minnows or small rooster tails. Catfish are fair on cut bait, stink bait, or chicken liver. Bass/wipers have been good on plastic jigs and nightcrawlers. White spinnerbaits have been productive on windy days. Wipers can sometimes be caught on chicken liver under a bobber.

KILL CREEK PARK: 81 degrees, clear, normal Outlook: a few trout have been caught in the last week on Powerbait. Crappie and panfish are being caught well on worms or minnows. Bass are fair to good on plastic worms and spinner baits. The timber has been a productive area and during the evenings the bass have been moving up close to weedlines along the bank. Catfish are fair on cut bait or chicken liver.

WYANDOTTE: upper 70s, clear, normal Outlook: KDWPT last updated 9/6/19: Largemouth are good on finesse baits targeting shallow underwater vegetation. Smallmouth bass are fair near rocky bottoms with crankbaits, jigs, and swimbaits. Crappie are fair near deeper structure on jigs and minnows. All other species slow to fair.

MELVERN: 79 degrees, clear, 4.1 feet high Outlook: Melvern Lake Marina reports: 1500 CFS being released (Tuesday). All boat ramps now accessible. Crappie are very good in brush piles 5-15 feet down on minnows and dark jigs. Smallmouth are fair to good lakewide on tubes and shallow crankbaits. Channel cats are fair lakewide on nightcrawlers and livers. Blue catfish are fair to good, catching a few at the west end of the lake and in the stilling basin on shad sides and entrails. Walleye are poor, try deep crankbaits while trolling.

CLINTON: 81 degrees, dingy, 13.2 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last reported changes on 9/11. Fishing hasn’t changed. All species fair. 3000 CFS being released (Tuesday). All boat ramps in the State and Corps. Parks are closed due to high water. Fish feeders will not be operational until water levels recede to normal.

PERRY: low 80s, stained, about 15 feet high Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: All the boat ramps are closed. Folks have been catching blue cats down below the spillway, but nothing much else to report.

COFFEY COUNTY (WOLF CREEK): upper 70s to upper 80s, clear, about normal Outlook: KDWPT report last updated 9/6: Entrance gate phone number is 620-364-2475. Middle of the lake is 79 degrees, north end is upper 80s. Be sure to call ahead for lake conditions. Channel catfish were caught the most, followed by blue cats in last week. White bass and wipers are starting to pick up as well. All other species have been slow to fair.

LA CYGNE: low 80s, stained, normal Outlook: KDWPT last updated 9/2/19: No major changes here. Largemouth bass fishing is good on the deep side of the riprap areas and weed beds. Use cranks, plastic worms, lizards or spinner baits like shad imitations. The crappie have been caught close to brush in about 5-12 feet of water. Best lures to use are jigs or minnows. White bass caught near the hot water outlet have been good sized 1 to 2-pounds. Catfishing has been excellent. For information on the Linn County Marina boat ramps, call 913-757-6633. Good shoreline angler access is provided by the Linn County Park on the west side of the lake. Join Southeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

POMONA: 80 degrees, stained, 5.8 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: 1500 CFS being released (Tuesday). As of 9/2/19, channel catfish are excellent using worms, dip baits , sunfish entrails, cutshad, or stink/prepared baits. All other species are slow. The fish feeders are on. The outlet can be very good when releasing large amounts of water.

MILFORD: 80 degrees, stained, 16.5 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: Discharging 2,000 CFS (Tuesday). Most boat ramps are still closed. Channel catfish are fair and can be caught on cut bait, worms, and stink bait. Blue catfish are typically caught on fresh cut bait. Target wind blown flats. Walleye are fair and can be found targeting rocky or wind-swept mud banks with jigs, crankbaits, or bottom bouncers. Crappie are slow to fair 10-20 feet deep suspended near points, flooded brush, and ledges on jigs and minnows. White bass and wipers are fair on jigs in the river on the north end of the reservoir. Not many reports on bass.

HILLSDALE: low to mid 70s, stained, 5 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: 500 CFS being released (Tuesday). The swim beach is closed for the season. Jayhawk and Marysville boat ramps are open. All other boat ramps remain closed. Still some flooding around courtesy docks. Crappie are good in brush piles using minnows about 8-10 feet down. Bass are good near shallow vegetation on plastics or topwater. Some recent reports on walleye using nightcrawlers. Channel catfish have been fair on cut bait and nightcrawlers.

GLEN ELDER (WACONDA LAKE): 75 degrees, stained, 8.6 feet high Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism last reported changes on 9/17/19: The two state park boat ramps (Osage and Marina Cove) are still closed as is the Boller Point boat ramp. There are still several open ramps that can be used safely including Granite Creek, Walnut Creek, Schoen’s Cove, and North Fork Bridge. Crappie are fair. Traditionally, there are good numbers of crappie around the causeway in the fall as well as in the shallow brush piles and along the river channel in 20-25 feet of water. Walleye have been good lately. Look for best numbers near the Walnut Creek area, along the state park points, and south of the Cawker City golf course in 10-15 feet of water. There are also decent numbers of walleye hanging out around the Cawker City causeway and near the flooded smartweed just west of the causeway. Smallies can be caught along the dam and north shore around the state park area, as well as the south bluffs. Largemouth bass numbers are best in the back end of Walnut Creek, Granite Creek, Mill Creek, and Mealls Cove. Catfish have been good with most angling taking place west of the causeway especially near Brock Bridge. Chumming appears to be over for the summer so anglers should target catfish on the flats in 10 to 15 feet of water. Some of the better areas include Takota Point, Walnut Creek, and the old Highway 24 road bed. White bass have been excellent. Check around the dam and off main lake points along the north shore and near the south bluffs. Windy days have been moving a lot of baitfish and whites into coves on the north shore which has offered some excellent angling.

TUTTLE CREEK: 77 degrees, clear, 36.1 feet high. Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: Running 8,000 CFS (Tuesday). Most fishing has been slow due to high water. Very few anglers have been on the water. The high release rates have been moving saugeye downstream from the Reservoir, which has led to some good fishing in the river pond, the river below the dam or at Rocky Ford. Catfish have been fair on the main lake, but everything else has been slow.

WILSON: mid 70s, clear, 3 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 9/16. Stripers are fair near channel breaks in 25-40 feet of water on the lower end. Try live bait (e.g. bluegill and shad). There are recent reports of walleye being caught from the bank and near vegetation. Try drifting soft plastics in the early morning and late evening in 4-10’ depths along vegetation lines. Marshall Cove and the Sawhill/Duvall area are holding shallow Walleye. There are good reports of channel catfish being caught throughout the reservoir on worms and dough bait. Several blue cats are being caught throughout the reservoir but the best luck is from Minooka West and Duvall to Horseshoe bend in 6-20 foot of water. White bass are fair on 1/16 oz. jigs near windblown points near Lucas and even in the upper reservoir near Elm Creek and Duvall. Black bass are fair. Warm/hot water temperatures have the fish deeper and less aggressive. Try ned rigs off drop offs and points in the lower/middle areas of the reservoir. Topwater and jerkbaits are good for largemouth and smallmouth in the very early morning and late evening.

EL DORADO: upper 70s/low 80s, stained, about normal Outlook: KS Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism: 15 CFS being released (Tuesday). All boat ramps usable. Wipers are fair trolling or casting crank baits along windy shorelines. White bass are fair along main lake points and windy shorelines on curly tailed grubs or inline spinners. Crappie are being found in flooded timber or brush piles and are being caught on minnows and jigs. Walleye are fair drifting jig and crawler combos or pulling worm harnesses on main lake points and flats. A few are also being picked up on larger crankbaits.

Tyler Mahoney is a Rockhurst University-educated outdoors fanatic who works to support his hunting and fishing habits. Read more of his next-generation insight at