Outdoors report: Recent blue catfishing on Truman has been great for some anglers

Mark Davis (pictured) and friend Denny Hartmann spent a day on Truman Lake recently where they caught a break from the rough weather. Their efforts paid off with more than 70 blue catfish caught in one spot. Most fish were released to be caught again by other lucky anglers.
Mark Davis (pictured) and friend Denny Hartmann spent a day on Truman Lake recently where they caught a break from the rough weather. Their efforts paid off with more than 70 blue catfish caught in one spot. Most fish were released to be caught again by other lucky anglers. Submitted photo

Here is the fishing and hunting report for the Kansas City area and lakes and wildlife areas in Kansas and Missouri for the week of Dec. 5, 2018.



BULL SHOALS: 54 degrees, clear, about 4 feet low. Outlook: Del Colvin Guide Service reports: on windy/cloudy days, a jerk bait over brush piles is producing. You can also try a crankbait, wiggle wart, or rockcrawler square bill on wind blown points and channel swing banks. There is a strong spoon bite if you’re around the shad, just have to find them first! Some are suspending around deep timber in 70ft with trees coming up to 35-40. Try drop shot or damiki rig on stubborn fish. Below the dam: John Berry of Berry Bros. Guide Service reports: The White has fished well. There was little wadable water in the last week. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. They have been some blue wing olive and some midge hatches (try a size twenty parachute Adams). 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 beadhead pheasant tail nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it. Use weight to get your flies down.

TANEYCOMO: 51 degrees, clear (12 feet), ½ to 1 unit, but expected to go up with colder days, enough for a good drift in a boat, but challenging for wade fisherman Outlook: Lilleys’ Landing reports: the windy days are good for throwing heavier lures that cut through wind and are reeled back pretty fast so the action isn’t affected much. Spoons, spinners, and hard baits like crank and stick baits are examples. The trout tend to be more active and more aggressive when it’s very windy. Minnows and night crawlers are the hot live baits right now. There has been a good crop of pond weed along the bank with schools of small forage fish moving in and out of this cover. Before long, the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers will open the turbines with heavy current, washing all of it out. This removes all the cover for these small fish, pushing them out where trout and other fish will feed on them. Marabou jigs, spoons and small stock baits will be the ticket for much of the winter months, too. Trolling or casting should be a way to productive catch a bunch of good trout. Scuds are still the best fly to catch fish almost anywhere on the lake but especially from Short Creek up. Tan, gray and brown are the best colors. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

NORFORK: 55 degrees, clear, a little low. Outlook: Bink’s Guide Service reports: Stripers are fair in the creeks and have been hitting on Bink’s spoon. Crappie are getting better on main lake Corps. of Engineers brush piles. Bass are hitting really well on wind-blown banks.

LONGVIEW: low 40s, stained, a little high. Outlook: Longview Marina reports: about the same as last week. The white bass are still excellent on silver or gold jigging spoons and kastmasters. Crappie are biting well, but have to work through some little guys to find the big ones. Black and purple jigs have been productive. Marina no longer has minnows available until the spring. Fishing is available from the marina 7 days a week now. Hours are 8am-3pm at the marina through November. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

POMME DE TERRE: mid to upper 40s, clear (4-6 feet), about 2 feet high. Outlook: Muskie Guide Service reports: about the same as last week. Crappie are still fair to good near docks and brush piles. Experiment on your depths as much as 20 feet down. Bass have been slow, but still some quality fish being caught on an Alabama rig.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS: mid to upper 40s, stained, 2.2 feet low. Outlook: Gier’s Bass Pro reports: not a lot of people fished in the last week due to weather. The pattern previously had been the following: Crappie – are starting to move to brush in 10 feet. Minnows or jigs. Bass are starting to chase shad. Topwater and shallow running crankbaits have been good. Bigger fish are still a little deeper for now. Spinnerbait bite has been picking up.

REED AREA: 40 degrees, clear, normal. Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: crappie are fair to good, try using jigs or minnows under a bobber near brush. Trout are excellent and being caught on a variety of baits from Powerbait, flies, rooster tails and more. Many limits are being caught. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

STOCKTON: 46 degrees, clear, 3.5 feet low. Outlook: Stockton Lake Guide Service reports: crappie are biting well on jigs along bluffs and ledges. Walleye and bass have been pretty slow lately. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

JACOMO: mid 40s, stained, normal Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group reports: not much is changing. Little fishing activity in last week. If bass fishing, slow your retrieve down. A big spinnerbait or swimbait retrieved slowly along windy banks can still be productive. Jerkbaits are starting to produce in other area lakes. Be sure to have a noticeable pause between jerks the fish will want a slower moving target in colder water. Try different cadences on your retrieve and when you get a bite be sure to duplicate the cadence that caused the bite. Crappie have been found in good numbers and sizes around the docks and brush piles. White bass are fair and can be found using rooster tails or crappie jigs. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

BLUE SPRINGS: mid 40s, clear, about normal Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: not much is changing. Little fishing activity in last week. Crappie continue to be good around the marina and brush piles 2-10 feet down. Be sure to slowly retrieve your line on a vertical presentation with a jig or minnow. They seem to be aggressively chasing bait to the surface. White bass and wipers can be found in good numbers. Largemouth bass are fair, with solid keepers still being caught regularly. Jerkbaits are starting to produce. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

TABLE ROCK: 51 degrees, clear (7 feet), about 3.5 feet low. Outlook: Eric Prey of Focused Fishing Guide Service reports: The deep bite is best right now so be on the lookout for areas 50-70 feet deep on a spoon or jigging rap. Try a Ned Rig, shaky head, or finesse jig on gravel mixed with rock banks and points. Crankbaits are starting to produce on steeper chunk rock banks. Fish are starting to follow shad in creek channels 25-50 feet deep and can be caught on spoons. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

TRUMAN: mid to upper 40s, muddy, about 0.5 feet high. Outlook: Jeff Faulkenberry’s Endless Season Guide Service reports: crappie are still good to excellent. Some fish being caught in the creeks in 10-12 feet of water on bottom. Catfish have been hit or miss depending on if you can stand the rough weather conditions. Look for them on creek channel ledges 15-18 feet down. Some anglers have had some stellar days lately on blue catfish in the past week.

SMITHVILLE: 34 degrees, clear, about one foot high Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: Some ice has been present lately, but doesn’t last throughout the day. Use caution. Catfish are fair. The backs of the creeks where water flows in should hold fish. Crawlers, shrimp, or cut bait should all be good. You want to find current to catch fish. White bass continue to be found near windy, rocky main lake points but have slowed down a bit. They can be caught from the rock jettys which are easily available for bank fisherman. Road runners or small rooster tails are effective. The more wind the better. Crappie are fair, but some really nice ones have been caught recently jigging minnows or jigs around the docks.

MOZINGO LAKE: Upper 30s, 1-3 feet of clarity, normal. Outlook: Fishing With Nordbye YouTube channel reports: Bass have been fair. They are on grass lines along banks, and near shallow standing timber. Fall patterns are transitioning to winter patterns. Find the shad, find the bass. Jerkbaits have been good shallow. They have also been hitting a chatterbait and spinnerbait shallow, as well as a Boyd Duckett squarebill. They are biting texas rigs and jigs as well around trees and grass. They have been hitting a Tightlines UV 4” Jig Trailer on the texas rig around trees. The slower you fish, the better your chances are at catching one. Crappie are fair. Try fishing next to main lake or main lake brush piles. Most crappie are 7-8 feet down with an occasional crappie between 10-14 feet. Jigs or minnows are best. Bluegill are fair. They are spread out, some shallow around grass, some deeper on points and next to trees. Best baits are worms, crickets, and panfish jigs. Join Northwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook Group for more updates on Mozingo and more.


MELVERN: 44 degrees, stained, 3.5 feet high. Outlook: Melvern Lake Marina reports: Crappie are poor with a lot of small fish caught, more keepers are being brought in around established brush piles and the marina. Small ice jigs and soft baits are best. Smallmouth are poor along the shoreline and rip rap face of the dam using spoons and shallow crankbaits. White bass are fair lake wide on jigs and minnows. Largemouth Bass are poor with no reports. Channel catfish are poor to fair on nightcrawlers and cut bait. Blue Catfish are poor to fair using cut bait and crappie entrails. Walleye are poor with a few shorts caught on the south side of lake near points of coves.

CLINTON: 39 degrees, clear, 0.9 feet low. Outlook: Kansas Angling Experience Guide Service reports: Wipers/White Bass: fish are moving shallow following warmer water. You can find fish up creek arms or close to the bank. Crappie: good and getting better. Fish are being caught in good numbers on brush piles and deep channel breaks. All ramps usable-please be safe, and courteous to others when using the ramps in below freezing temperatures. Let your trailer drain at the bottom of the ramp before pulling forward. Join Northeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily fishing updates.

PERRY: low to mid 40s, stained, 6 feet high. Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: crappie and white bass have been good around the marinas. Quality fish are being caught, but having to weed through small ones. Ice spoons are starting to be used more often. Best jig color has been purple/chartreuse, brown/orange, or purple/orange. The Bobby Garland “Eclipse” color has been working well. Look for fish 10-20 feet down.

POMONA: mid to upper 30s, stained, 1.4 feet high Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: crappie fishing has been good around the marina. Quality 14-inch fish have been reported. Ice jigs are starting to produce.

MILFORD: 42 degrees, stained, about 2 feet high Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: KDWPT last updated 11/13. No major changes on fishing activity. Catfish are good along flooded flats on cut bait, worms, and shrimp. Crappie are fair 10 feet deep suspended near points, flooded brush, and ledges on jigs and minnows; walleye are fair and scattered near flats, points or ledges using jigs, worms, and crankbaits 20 feet deep; white bass/wipers – fair along windy banks, humps, and points chasing shad, try jigs, spoons, jigs, crankbaits and topwater have been very good lately; smallmouth – fair near deep gravel/rock points and banks on jigs, crank baits, and topwater lures; largemouth – fair 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: 41 degrees, stained, 1 foot high. Outlook: Jayhawk Marina reports: Crappie – fair on jigs and minnows 6-10 feet down; no other reports. The fishing dock opens at 7am, kids 12 and under are free. Join Northeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

GLEN ELDER (WACONDA LAKE): 40 degrees, clear, about 2 feet high Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reports: KDWPT last updated 11/26. Crappie are fair. Look for fish around the deeper brush piles and other structure during the day. Fishing with minnows and jigs tipped with minnows will often lead to some success. Several anglers have had moderate success fishing around the marina docks recently. Schools of crappie can also be found along the river channel in 25 to 30 feet of water. Walleye are fair. Good numbers of walleye can be found off the state park shoreline, especially off the main lake points, near the dam, and in Walnut Creek this time of year. The best sample numbers came in 30 feet of water along the river channel between Campground 3 and Wally World. Try trolling with crankbaits or vertically jigging slabs or swim baits. Good numbers of white bass and wipers can be found along the Cawker City causeway, off Campground 3, near the dam, and off the south bluffs They are very aggressive now so finding them is typically the hardest part as they will be willing to bite on just about any traditional lure. Anglers fishing around the marina slips have also been reporting good numbers of white bass while crappie fishing. Black bass have been slow lately. Shallow and deep running crankbaits cast along the rocky banks might work well along with Senkos and other soft plastics. Catfish can be found nearly lake wide, but anglers should concentrate near the outlet with the current outflows and up the rivers and creeks where there is still some inflow. Shad sides, shad gizzards, chicken liver, and shrimp are all good baits to try now.

TUTTLE CREEK: low 40s, stained, 8.1 feet high. Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: last KDWPT online update was 11/16. The lake is still very high. All fishing has been slow due to high water. Trout fishing season started on November 1st at Willow Lake, which is located in the Southeast corner of the Tuttle Creek State Park below the dam. Willow Lake was stocked with 800 pounds of rainbow trout on 11/15 and these fish should be biting now. A total of about 2,700 trout have been stocked. These fish are usually caught on commercial trout baits, worms, corn or lures. Limit is 5 fish a day. Join Northeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

WILSON: low 40s, stained, about 1.5 feet high. Outlook: Knothead’s Bait Shop reports: not much change from last week. Stripers have been good on the west end and are continuing to pick up. Walleye have been fair in the weeds. White perch have been good and have moved to deeper parts of the lake. Blue catfish are being caught all over, but the upper end is producing best. There have also been reports of smallmouth and largemouth picking up. White bass remain scarce for the most part.

EL DORADO: upper 30s, stained, 0.4 feet high. Outlook: Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reports: last updated 11/27. Crappie are good and being found 12 to 15 deep near timber or on brush piles using jigs or minnows. Wiper activity has decreased with the quickly falling water temps. Look for wipers on secondary drops in 12 to 18 feet of water. Slab spoons and vertically fished larger plastics would be good baits. Walleye are fair on slab spoons and jigs in 12 to 18 feet of water near roads, breaks, humps, and rocks. Trout were stocked on November 13 and November 27. Anglers have been doing well on a variety of baits including small spoons, spinners, flies, PowerBait, and small jigs.



BOB BROWN CONSERVATION AREA: There has been roughly 25,000 ducks on the area in the since Nov. 27. There was about a two-duck average per hunter on Dec 1-2.

FOUR RIVERS CONSERVATION AREA: Since Nov 26th, there has been about 95,870 ducks on the area. Hunters have averaged just between 2-3 ducks per person.

NODAWAY VALLEY CONSERVATION AREA: A lot of ducks left the area and about 7500 are being observed. However, hunter success rates have remained good, hovering around 2.5 ducks per hunter.

GRAND PASS CONSERVATION AREA: Since Nov. 29, there have been about 240,000 ducks observed on the area. Hunters were averaging close to 3 or more ducks per person over the past weekend.

FOUNTAIN GROVE CONSERVATION AREA: Since Nov. 26, there has been about 267,000 ducks on the area. Hunters have averaged just under 2 ducks per gun.

MONTROSE CONSERVATION AREA: As of Dec. 2, about 5500 ducks were observed. Hunter success rates have been averaging a little more than one duck per hunter.

LOESS BLUFFS CONSERVATION AREA: On 11/27, 50,676 geese and 49,194 ducks were observed. About 48,000 mallards were present. 50,115 snows made up the majority of geese present.


CHEYENNE BOTTOMS: Ducks have not really moved back into the area. Currently there are 500 - 2,500 ducks. Mallards currently make up about 50% of the ducks on the area and rest of the birds are mixed species. Goose numbers have dropped to around 10,000 - 25,000, mostly snows. Almost all the birds are using the refuge at this time. Expected hunting success is fair. For the period of 11/26-12/4, hunters have averaged 1.21 ducks per hunter. During that period, 66% of the harvest was mallards. Very few geese are being harvested at this time.

MARAIS DES CYGNES: On Dec. 4, 50,000 ducks were observed along with a few hundred geese. All hunters must check-in daily using iSportsman electronic check-in from a PC, smartphone, or by phone before hunting and check out at the end of the hunt regardless of harvest. Hunting success: Weekend (Dec 1 & 2): 256 ducks / 163 hunters = 1.6 success. Season: 2,686 ducks / 1,543 hunters = 1.7 success. Season goose harvest = 19.

NEOSHO: On Dec. 4, 40,000 ducks were present, mainly Mallards and Teal.Good numbers of Gadwall, Pintail, Wigeon, and mixed divers were also present, along with about 1000 Canada Geese and 1000 White-fronted Geese. Hunting continues to be good. Hunters have been averaging around 2 birds per hunter. All hunters must check-in daily using iSportsman electronic check-in from a PC, smartphone, or by phone before hunting and check out at the end of the hunt regardless of harvest. There are still hunters that have not checked out of the iSportsman system. Please check to make sure it is not you and please remember to check out by 11:59 daily.

PERRY: Last update was on Nov. 29. At that time, about 15,000 ducks and 2,000 Geese were observed around the area with nearly all being down around Lake Perry as the wetlands froze over. Mostly Mallards were observed and various diving ducks are around as well. USE CAUTION WHEN ACCESSING KYLE MARSH’S WEST UNIT AS WATER LEVELS ARE STILL ABOVE NORMAL AND SOME AREAS ARE UNABLE TO BE ACCESSED BY WALK IN HUNTERS. Both East and West Kyle are full and boat access is available. They will continue to draw any units down that are above normal pool to get them down to a more desirable level. iSportsman (electronic daily hunt permit system) is required for all hunters. There is now a zero tolerance policy on failure to comply with iSportsman and check station requirements.

TUTTLE CREEK: Last update was on Dec. 3. 2,000 ducks and 20 Canada Geese were observed. The Hunting success is expected to be poor. The water level is rising so be careful. A permit/survey is required to hunt the Tuttle Creek Wildlife Area.

MILFORD: On Nov. 29, there were about 2500 mallards, 2000 mixed ducks and 750 geese on the area. Expected hunting success has improved and is considered fair. The boat ramp on Gatesville/Lower smith is now accessible along with Mall creek.

QUIVIRA: Last update on Nov. 16. A total of 84,041 geese and 17,123 ducks were observed. Over 60,000 were snow geese, followed by 9,500 white-fronted geese. The majority of ducks were mallards and Green-winged teal.

MELVERN: All hunters must check-in daily using iSportsman electronic check-in from a PC, smartphone, or by phone before hunting and check out at the end of the hunt regardless of harvest. Last updated online on 11/21 and the following was observed: Willow Marsh- North and South units are pumped and full. No waterfowl were observed at the time of the survey. Sundance Marsh- No waterfowl were observed at the time of survey. Lowman’s Cove - Full of water. Shoveler Slough - 100 mallards and 20 unknown ducks were observed at the time of this survey. (NOTE: Motorized boats are prohibited). Refuge - 150 mixed divers, largely Goldeneye. Along with approximately 75 Canada geese, 30 gadwall, and 25 mallards.

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.