Outdoors report: Ice cover on some area lakes and ramps demands caution

Blake Buford braved the cold and was rewarded when he landed some big largemouth bass on Blue Springs last weekend.
Blake Buford braved the cold and was rewarded when he landed some big largemouth bass on Blue Springs last weekend.

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. 12, 2018.



BULL SHOALS: 52 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 no wadable water. The hot spot has been Roundhouse 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: 49 degrees, stained, heavy generation on cold mornings off in the afternoon to light generation on warmer mornings and 1500-2000 c.f.s in the afternoons. Outlook: Lilleys’ Landing reports:

Fly fishing is good using #12 - #16 brown or gray scuds on the bottom from Short Creek to the dam. Strip olive woolies, cracklebacks and soft hackles in windy conditions. For midging trout, use a #16 root beer Zebra midge under a float 12 to 36 inches deep. Bait fishermen are doing well using minnows and night crawlers below Fall Creek. Trolling gold Cleos is working good from Monkey Island down through Branson Landing. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

NORFORK: 50 degrees, clear, a little low. Outlook: Bink’s Fintastic Guide Service reports: crappie are getting better on main lake Corps. of Engineers brush piles 25-30 feet deep. Stripers are biting well trolling umbrella rigs 50-60 feet deep between the bridges.

LONGVIEW: low 40s, stained, a little high. Outlook: Longview Marina reports: things have been a little slower, but white bass and crappie are still being caught regularly. Try silver or gold jigging spoons and kastmasters, or black and purple jigs. Marina no longer has minnows available until the spring. Fishing is available from the marina 7 days a week. Fishing hours are 8am-12:30pm and that will go through the end of February. The marina will be closed Dec. 23rd through Jan. 2nd. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

POMME DE TERRE: mid 40s, clear (4-6 feet), 2.2 feet high. Outlook: Muskie Guide Service reports: Crappie are fair to good near docks and brush piles. They have been caught shallow and as deep as 20 feet. Bass have been slow, but still some quality fish being caught on an Alabama rig.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS: mid to upper 40s, clear, 2.5 feet low. Outlook: Gier’s Bass Pro reports: Crappie are biting 15 feet down near brush. Some have also been caught on main lake points using jerkbaits. Bass are biting on spinnerbaits if the wind is blowing. They’re also starting to hit jerkbaits a little better but jigs have been most productive.

REED AREA: low 30s, clear, normal. Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: everything is froze over right now and the ice is not safe. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

STOCKTON: 43 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: low 40s, stained, normal Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group reports: the north ramp is open but the south was iced in recently. If bass fishing, slow your retrieve down. A big spinnerbait or swimbait retrieved slowly along windy banks can still be productive. Jerkbaits will start to produce as the winter months take hold. 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 slow to fair and can be found using rooster tails or crappie jigs. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

BLUE SPRINGS: low 40s, clear, about normal Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: the main marina ramp was still open 12/11 but the ramp by the dam was frozen in. 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. White bass and wipers are fair. Largemouth bass are slow to fair. 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: 39 degrees, muddy, about 0.5 feet high. Outlook: Richard Bowling Guide Service reports: crappie fishing is good. Target the mouths of the creeks or along the bluffs in 20 ft of water and more. You’ll find fish about 14 feet down in these areas. The best bite is on minnows spider rigging or 2 pole trolling. Be sure to move very slow. Catfish in the upper grand has slowed due to the water conditions. Fish the mid to lower lake and key on the channel edges. Fresh shad is a must.

SMITHVILLE: 34 degrees, clear, about one foot high Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: Corps. of Engineers reports 45% ice cover recently. 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: low 30s, 1-3 feet of clarity, normal. Outlook: Fishing With Nordbye YouTube channel reports: as of 12/10, lake was frozen over with 1-2 inches ice.


MELVERN: 41 degrees, stained, 2.2 feet high. Outlook: Melvern Lake Marina reports: Crappie are poor to fair 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: 36 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. Lots of limits being caught on brushpiles. 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: mid 40s, stained, 4.5 feet high. Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: crappie have been biting anywhere from 15-25 feet down near the marinas and brush piles. Running quite a bit of water right now out of the dam. Ice spoons are the go to. Best jig color has been purple/chartreuse, brown/orange, or purple/orange. The Bobby Garland “Eclipse” color has been working well. The ramp was pulled out in the last week as well.

MILFORD: 38 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: 39 degrees, stained, 1 foot high. Outlook: Jayhawk Marina reports: Crappie – fair on jigs and minnows 6-10 feet down; catfish are fair on natural or artificial baits. 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): mid 30s, 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, 18.1 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 1foot 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, about normal. 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: As of 12/9, about 44,500 ducks were present, including 44100 Mallards and 400 Mixed dabblers. 13 hunters harvest zero ducks in the last week.

FOUR RIVERS CONSERVATION AREA: As of 12/9, there has been about 157,158 ducks on the area, including, 149800 Mallards and 6350 Pintails. 56 hunters reported harvesting 94 ducks in the last week for a 1.68 daily average.

NODAWAY VALLEY CONSERVATION AREA: As of 12/9, 13,900 ducks were observed, including 12700 Mallards, 550 Mixed dabblers, and 650 Teal. 5 hunters reported harvesting zero ducks in the past week.

GRAND PASS CONSERVATION AREA: As of 12/5, there were 175,000 ducks observed. 120 hunters reported harvesting 274 ducks for a 2.28 daily average in last week.

FOUNTAIN GROVE CONSERVATION AREA: As of 12/5, 115,000 ducks were observed, mostly all mallards. On 12/5, 62 hunters had reported harvesting 82 ducks in the last week for about a 1.3 daily average.

MONTROSE CONSERVATION AREA: As of 12/9, about 5500 ducks were observed, almost all mallards. Daily hunter success rates have been averaging about than 1.5 ducks per man.

LOESS BLUFFS CONSERVATION AREA: On 12/4, 4,818 geese and 21,309 ducks were observed. Almost all ducks were mallards and almost all geese were snows.


CHEYENNE BOTTOMS: As of 12/7, bird numbers have been highly variable depending on day, time of day, and ice conditions. Ducks have not moved back into the area in large numbers. Currently there are about 500 - 2,500 ducks. Mallards currently make up about 60% of the ducks on the area, rest of the birds are mixed species. Around 10,000 - 25,000 geese are present, mostly snows, with maybe a 1,000 darks. Almost all the birds are using the refuge at this time.

MARAIS DES CYGNES: On 12/10, 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. Last 7 days (Dec 3 thru 9): 322 ducks / 208 hunters = 1.5 success. Season: 3,022 ducks / 1,782 hunters = 1.7 success. Season goose harvest = 20.

NEOSHO: On 12/6, greater than 35,000 ducks were present, mainly Mallards and Teal. Good numbers of Gadwall, Pintail, Wigeon, and mixed divers were also present. Also, 1000 Canada Geese and 1000 White-fronted Geese were present. 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. If the red check out sign is out at check station all hunters are required to stop.

PERRY: Last update was on 11/29. 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 12/3. 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 12/6, 832 ducks and 145 geese were observed on the area. Expected hunting success is considered fair.

QUIVIRA: Last update on 12/4. A total of 25,740 geese and 15,834 ducks were observed. About 23,000 were snow geese, followed by 1,100 Greater White-fronted geese. The majority of ducks were dabblers, followed by mallards which totaled about 4,300.

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.