Fishing report: Catfish action picking up in Kansas, Missouri lakes

Ryan Haverstick (left) and Ryan Miloshewski show off some giant 16- to 17-inch, three-pound whites caught on jerkbaits at Lake Taneycomo. They caught the fish below the dam, by the cable.
Ryan Haverstick (left) and Ryan Miloshewski show off some giant 16- to 17-inch, three-pound whites caught on jerkbaits at Lake Taneycomo. They caught the fish below the dam, by the cable. Submitted photo

Here is the fishing report for Kansas and Missouri lakes and reservoirs for the week of July 11, 2018.


BULL SHOALS: 90 degrees, clear, about normal. Outlook: Del Colvin Guide Service reports: Fishing hasn’t changed much. Bass – are on their summer patterns now. Top water bite has started early and late, try spooks, poppers, or buzz baits. Deep bite is good on a drop shot or spoon in 12-30 feet off bluffs, docks, and channel swings. Still schooling up on shad. Walleye – good and hitting bottom bouncers in 24-35 feet on bottom bouncers and crawler harnesses. Below the dam: John Berry of Berry Bros. Guide Service reports: The White has fished well. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. There are sulphurs coming off. 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 is a bead head pheasant tail (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it. Use weight to get your flies down. TANEYCOMO: 48 degrees, clear, low flow in the mornings with increases to 2-4 units most of the afternoon Outlook: Lilleys’ Landing reports: much has remained the same. Rusty midges and harvester midges in the trophy area are catching fish right now. Look for chip on the water. Stripping cracklebacks is another fish producer. Night time fly fishing is really picking up and a great way to beat the heat and the crowds. Jerkbaits early morning until the fog lifts are still catching quality fish along with a good evening bite on them as the water is dropping out. Pink power worm under a float below Fall Creek to the Branson Landing is still a good way to catch numbers of fish. Look for shade and chop on water as sun gets higher in the sky. Dragging powerbaits with drift rigs as the water starts to flow has been giving up some good fish too, orange and white have been very good colors. Stay ahead of the high flow moss push then after an hour or so, go up lake and fish water that has been flushed out. There has been some pretty good sized rainbows stocked this week. Keep moving around till you find biting fish. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

NORFORK: upper 80s, milky, about 0.5 feet high. Outlook: Bink’s Guide Service reports: summer pattern is in full swing. Walleye – fair in 30 feet on the flats, many limits are being caught using Bink’s Spoons; stripers – excellent 60-70 feet down on white, 1 oz Bink’s spoon or trolling, topwater bite has slowed down; crappie – done spawning and scattered, check under docks; bass – good on topwater baits in the first two hours of the day, otherwise they’ll be deep in about 30 feet of water.

LONGVIEW: 81 degrees, clear (about 3 feet), normal. Outlook: Longview Marina reports: not much changing. Catfish - biting very well on chicken liver; all other species - slow. No weekend or Wednesday dock fishing available until the fall. Fishing is available from the marina between 7am-8:00pm Monday through Friday. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

POMME DE TERRE: 88 degrees, clear (4 feet), about 1 foot high. Outlook: Muskie Guide Service reports: a lot of fish have been seen belly up. Most fishing has really slowed down.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS: 87 degrees, clear, full pool. Outlook: Gier’s Bass Pro reports: summer pattern is in high gear. Not much will change until the temperature begins to cool in a couple months. Most fish are out in the main lake and in deep brush piles. Crappie – look for them 15-20 feet deep on minnows and jigs. Some reports of catching them trolling a crankbait in the main channel. Bass – will be in the same areas as the crappie and on main lake points, try using 10-inch worms, brush hogs, and jigs. The best bite has been at night. Still not much word on catfish, but getting better.

REED AREA: 89 degrees, stained, low. Outlook: Missouri Department of Conservation reports: bluegill - good on live baits like small pieces of nightcrawler or wax worms; channel catfish - good on chicken liver and prepared baits; all other species - slow. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

STOCKTON: 85 degrees, clear, about normal. Outlook: Stockton Lake Guide Service reports: much has remained the same. Catfish – good to excellent on mud flats in 10-18 feet with nightcrawlers or cut bait; walleye – have slowed down a lot, try bottom bouncers with nightcrawlers in 15-18 feet; bass – fair in brush piles in 15-18 feet; crappie – fair and seem to be relating more to deep brush piles lately. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

JACOMO: mid 80s, stained, about normal. Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group reports: crappie – numerous reports of anglers having success trolling small crankbaits and finding fish down 10-15 feet, night bite has been good; largemouth – slow, try spinnerbaits, jigs and shiners, Ned Rigs, or beaver tail plastics. Topwater can be good very early in the morning the first hour of light. Swimbaits have been picking up as well. When things get really hot, you should try drop shot rigs on main lake points too. Channel catfish – slow to fair on cut shad or liver, moving in along the banks on near rocky drop offs; bluegill – good on waxworms, crickets, or small pieces of nightcrawler; walleye – slow to fair trolling crankbaits or vertical jigging night crawlers around windy points. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

BLUE SPRINGS: mid 80s, stained, very low Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: crappie – slow over main lake brush on minnows and jigs; largemouth – slow to fair on jigs worked along rocky banks, topwater has been good very early in the morning or late evening; channel catfish – fair on cut shad, liver or nightcrawlers; bluegill – good on waxworms, crickets, and riverworms; whites/hybrids – slow to fair trolling in front of coves 15 feet down in 16-22 feet of water, look for them around the Blow Hole in early mornings after a rain as well. Several reports of good schooling activity on the main lake in the last week between 7-8am or later in the evenings. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

TABLE ROCK: low to mid 80s, clear, about normal. Outlook: Eric Prey of Focused Fishing Guide Service reports: activity has remained virtually the same. Bass – good to very good. The top water bite early in the morning is lasting about an hour or a little longer if it’s cloudy. Fish are starting to move deeper during the day, the best bite has been on a drop shot rig 25-35 feet deep on main lake gravel points. The swimbait bite has really picked up, try a 3” Kaitech 10 feet down over 25-30 feet of water. They’re also hitting a jigging or flutter spoon very well. Anglers are getting them on big worms up the James River. White bass – have a slowed down a lot, try having a jigging spoon or top water tied on so you can cast to them quickly when they start schooling; bluegill – have moved into the shade of docks or on gravel points in 15-20 feet. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing for daily updates.

TRUMAN: mid 80s, murky, a little low. Outlook: Jeff Faulkenberry’s Endless Season Guide Service reports: patterns have remained about the same from week to week. Blue catfish - still spotty, but very catchable when you find them; crappie - out on flats and picking them up deeper, 16 feet down suspended in 25-40 feet water around shad balls. Minnows or jigs are best; White bass/hybrids – have been very good, look for them on main lake humps. Many people doing well on hybrids using live perch or shad. Largemouth - good to excellent.

SMITHVILLE: 83 degrees, clear, about 2 feet low. Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: much has remained the same. Bass – have been very good on brush hogs or jigs on both the main lake and in the rivers, look for 8 feet or less of water; walleye - have really slowed down. Try near shallow, main lake points using crank baits, rattle traps, night crawlers on a bottom bouncer, and Flicker Shad crank baits in 10 feet or less. Crappie – bite is improving with better quality fish showing up. You can pick them up trolling crankbaits like Flicker Shad through suspended fish in channels. They are deeper now and moving into their summer pattern. You can find them in wood piles now. Catfish – still excellent in shallow, but expected to slow down over next couple of weeks. Some big flatheads have been caught on goldfish in the past week. Blues are being picked up too. White bass – starting to show more on the main lake in the mornings and have been very good.

MOZINGO LAKE: mid 80s, 1-3 feet of clarity, 6 feet low. Outlook: Fishing With Nordbye YouTube channel reports: no real changes. bass - good near brush, trees, and points. Post spawn patterns. They are biting texas rigs and jigs, as well as chatterbaits and squarebills. On points, drag a wobble head style bait along the bottom. They have been hitting a Tightlines UV Whisker Beaver style bait on the texas rig and wobble head. Crappie - good and gathering in brush piles. Try fishing next to deeper trees in coves toward main lake or brush piles. The bite has been good. Most crappie are 7-8" with an occasional crappie between 10-14". Jigs or minnows are best. Bluegill - good but are are spread out, some shallow, some deeper. Try next to trees. Best baits are worms, crickets, and panfish jigs.


SHAWNEE MISSION PARK: 88 degrees, murky, normal. Outlook: Johnson County Park and Recreation District reports: crappie/panfish: fair on worms or small plastics; catfish - good on stink bait; bass/wipers: good on plastics and jigs.

KILL CREEK PARK: 92 degrees, murky, normal. Outlook: Johnson County Park and Recreation District reports: crappie/panfish - good on small plastics or worms; bass - good on plastics and jigs; catfish - fair on cut bait.

COFFEY COUNTY: hot water outlet - 102, north end – 95, main lake – 88 degrees, clear, about full pool. Outlook: Coffey County reports: fishing continues to be slow overall, but did pick up in the last week. Channel cats were biting the best, but quite a few walleyes were caught as well. Smallmouth picked up, but still pretty slow.

MELVERN: 83 degrees, visibility around 7 feet, about 1.8 feet low. Outlook: Melvern Lake Marina reports: crappie - poor to fair with anglers finding a few keepers in and around established brush piles and in Turkey Creek west of the State Park. Dark jigs and minnows are still best. Smallmouth - good along the shoreline and rip rap face of the dam using spoons and shallow crankbaits. Several around the docks being caught on minnows. White bass - fair lake wide on shallow crankbaits, jigs and minnows. Channel catfish - fair using nightcrawlers, minnows or cut bait lake wide. Blue Catfish - fair to good on cut bait or crappie entrails. Walleye - good with a few keepers caught on the south side of the lake while trolling with small crankbaits or nightcrawlers around 18 to 20 ft.

CLINTON: 86 degrees, murky, a little low. Outlook: Clinton Marina reports: not much has changed. Crappie – fair on jigs and minnows in 12 feet of water; channel catfish – fair around feeders. Walleye – fair to good using jigs and nightcrawlers around the dock on the Northwestern bank by the marina. All other species – no reports. Courtesy docks at all boat ramps in Bloomington Park are in the water and ready for use. Join Northeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

POMONA: mid 80s, clear, about 2 feet low. Outlook: Lighthouse Bay Marina reports: no major changes from week to week. Catfish – still biting on chicken liver or cut bait; walleye – have slowed down, white bass/wipers – more reports catching them up shallow chasing shad; crappie – slowed down significantly; a few reports of smallmouth being caught in last week; all other species – slow or no reports.

PERRY: mid to upper 80s, clear, about 1.5 feet low Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: channel catfish - good on the rocks using worms, shrimp, or prepared baits. Sonny’s dip baits have been very productive. Devil’s Gap has been a very good spot. White bass - some have been caught on points following shad schools; crappie – evening bite has seen the best activity, 10-13 feet deep near brush on black/chartreuse and red/chartreuse, Rock Creek Bridge has been a good area; blue catfish - tournament over the weekend had a lot of 35-inch + fishg caught; all other species – no reports.

MILFORD: 80 degrees, mostly clear, a little high. Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: last updated 7/5. Catfish – fair to good along channel ledges on cut bait, worms, and shrimp. Look for recently tagged blue cats! Crappie – fair 10-15 feet deep near points, brush, and ledges on jigs and minnows; walleye – fair and scattered near flats, points or ledges anywhere from 12-30 feet deep using jigs, worms, and crankbaits; white bass/wipers – fair to good along windy rocky banks and points chasing shad, try deer hair jigs, spoons, jigs, crankbaits and topwater; smallmouth – good near deep gravel/rock points and banks on jigs, crank baits, and topwater lures; largemouth – good near points and deeper coves with brush/rock on jigs, crank baits, spinner baits, and topwater lures. Join Northeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

HILLSDALE: 82 degrees, clear, about 1 foot low Outlook: Jayhawk Marina reports: crappie – fair on minnows around the dock 18-25 feet deep; channel catfish – excellent on chicken liver, worms, or stink bait on the bottom. The fishing dock opens at 7am, kids 12 and under are free. Join Northeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

LA CYGNE: 97 degrees at hot water outlet, 90 on main lake, clear, about normal. Outlook: Linn County Park reports: bass - have been hit or miss, but big ones are being caught; channel catfish - have been very good; one report of a 13 pound wiper caught in the last week as well.

GLEN ELDER (WACONDA LAKE): low to mid 80s, clear, a little high. Outlook: Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reports: last updated 7/6. Crappie – fair, spawn is over and the fish are hanging out around the deeper brush piles and Georgia cubes. Minnows and jigs are most effective. There is also a summer pattern with fish hanging out near standing timber. They can also be caught using dead stick minnows. Walleye – good, anglers are still catching walleye on the west end using jigs tipped with minnows and nightcrawlers. There are still a lot of short fish being caught, but keepers can be found as well. There is also a shallow water pattern throughout the summer with anglers catching fish in 3 to 6 feet of water along the state park shoreline and in Walnut Creek. Trolling shallow running crankbaits works well as does casting swimbaits and slab spoons. White bass/wipers – good, there has been a fair amount of surface activity with mainly white bass, but also with a few wipers. Look for these fish chasing shad on calm days around the state park, dam, and south bluffs. There are also fish being caught around the outlet depending on how much water is moving through. Anglers should also target the windblown side of the reservoir as schools of whites will follow the shad close to shore. Trolling along the old highway 24 roadbed and in Walnut Creek has also been productive. Black bass – fair to good when fishing early in the day and late in the evening. Casting topwater lures has been very productive for both species, but using plastic worms, Senkos, and Ned rigs will also work well. Remember, there is a 21-inch length limit on smallmouth bass and an 18-inch length limit on largemouth bass. All fish less than those lengths should be immediately released with care. Catfish – good. The catfish spawn is winding down and the fish will move off the banks to deeper water. Chumming activity will offer the best angling opportunities using a variety of stink baits. Anglers should also target moving water and fish for catfish up the rivers and near the outlet as water is being released. Set line anglers will have success on the west end and in the creek coves for both flatheads and channel catfish.

TUTTLE CREEK: 81 degrees, clear to stained, 12.5 feet high Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: no major changes, last update was 6/26. Crappie – fair on jigs or minnows. They are in their summer pattern and are scattered along rocky shorelines or in brush in 8-12 feet of water. White bass – slow to fair along the dam and rocky points; largemouth bass – slow, but coves in the southern third of the reservoir have decent populations of bass and McIntyre Cove tends to produce the best. White bass – fair along the dam and rocky points; catfish – fair to good, try cut bait or liver. Channels are up shallow feeding up with the water level coming up and will take a worm. Be sure to check any blue catfish for a yellow tag in its back and report the tag number and the general location of the catch to (785) 539-7941 or ely.sprenkle@ks.gov. A big THANK YOU to all who report their catch! Saugeye – fair and the river pond has been the best place for them so far this year dragging a nightcrawler or casting jigs and crankbaits. There is a 15-inch minimum length limit on the reservoir, but it does not apply to saugeye in the river pond or at the “tubes”. Join Northeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

WYANDOTTE: 87 degrees, clear, normal. Outlook: Wyandotte Boat Rental reports: patterns are remaining consistent. Bluegill - have been very good; crappie – have been very slow, but are being found occasionally; catfish - biting okay, better at night; bass – are very good and continue to be caught on a variety of baits, including plastics worked along the bottom; all other species – no reports.

WILSON: mid 80s, clear, 1 foot high Outlook: Knothead’s Bait Shop reports: not much has changed. walleye – have been picking up using swimbaits and dropping them to the bottom, look for them 8-18 feet or up in or around grass, trolling crankbaits or jigging night crawlers have been effective. Stripers – fair to good in 30 feet of water on live bait, Lucas Point has been a good area; black bass – both largemouth and smallmouth continue to be good, more smallmouth have been found lately, white has been a good color on baits; white perch – good up in Hell Creek and you’ll find them in the deeply stained water; channel and blue catfish – fair to good.

EL DORADO: mid 80s, mostly clear, 4 feet low. Outlook: Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reports: last updated 7/3. No real change. Blue catfish - fair on fresh cut bait on river channel edges in upper half of the lake. There is a 25 to 35-inch protective slot limit with daily creel limit of five per day with no more than two 35 inches and longer. Wipers – good, casting shad imitating baits to surfacing fish has produced some nice wipers recently. Trolling crankbaits and vertical fishing spoons along the dam has also resulted in fish over the 21 inch length limit. Be sure to properly ID your catch as there is there is a 21-inch minimum length limit and 2/day creel limit on wiper. White bass – fair along windy shorelines and main lake points on twister tails and crankbaits. White Perch – fair using worms on humps and ledges in 6-9 feet of water. White crappie – slow to fair with catches slowing recently. Most reports are coming from standing timber along channels or old roads dipping jigs 4 to 7 feet deep. Channel catfish – good on worms and cut bait. Recent inflows has produced some nice channel catfish catches. Drifting fresh shad on the flats is a good tactic this time of year. Walleye – fair on jig and crawler, spinners, and trolled crankbaits. Good numbers of legal fish are being caught near main lake points and windy flats. Attention Boaters: Use caution launching boats at the wildlife area boat ramps in the upper ends of the lake. The Jumping Bridge and Hackler boat ramps continue to suffer from low water. Larger boats with longer trailers requiring deeper water may have difficulty launching with current low water conditions. Also use caution launching at the Area 1 boat ramp within the state park.

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 mahoneyoutdoors.com.