Outdoors report: Enjoying the ice, and Smithville Bassmasters tourney schedule set

The author shows his catch of tasty bluegill caught through 10 inches of ice last weekend around Trenton, Mo.
The author shows his catch of tasty bluegill caught through 10 inches of ice last weekend around Trenton, Mo. Submitted photo

Here is the fishing report for the Kansas City area and lakes and wildlife areas in Kansas and Missouri for the week of Feb. 20, 2019.


BULL SHOALS: upper 40s, clear, 6 feet high and rising Outlook: Del Colvin Guide Service reports: deep bite is still hit or miss in 35 to 50 feet. Use a drop shot, spoon, or damiki rig. Try near points leading to the main channel or bluff ends in the creeks have been better if you find the shad. A-Rig has been better in the upper end of the lake. The temp are cooler up in the muddy waters. On windy days, you can crank the wind blown banks with a rock crawler or wiggle wart. The jig bite is picking up as the shad are moving. Look in 10 to 15 feet early in the day or in cloudy conditions. Or, look for them 20 to 35 feet down under sun flat conditions. Key in on shallows close to drop offs, main channel swing banks, or bluff ends. Below the dam: John Berry of Berry Bros. Guide Service reports: The White has fished well. The hot spot has been the Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam. Very little wadable water, if any. 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 (#10) with a Y2K (#12) suspended below it. Use plenty of weight to get your flies down.

TANEYCOMO: 49 degrees, stained, full generation Outlook: Lilleys’ Landing reports: heavy generation is expected to continue at least a week. Some evidence of threadfin shad coming through the dam at Table Rock this week. Trout have been spitting them up when caught and they’re pretty bulked up. And they’re hitting almost anything white - plus other lures and flies. Common questions about the shad - how long will it last? How far down are the trout seeing shad? It’s tough to say. These runs are totally unpredictable in volume and length. Fingers crossed for more shad for the next few weeks. Most anglers are heading down lake to catch their trout. Monkey Island down to Bee Creek has been very good on mainly bait and some lures. Spoons have been good as well as some flies. Guide Bill Babler caught some nice rainbows on a white wooly bugger below the Fish House yesterday. Others this weekend caught fish on midges while trout were rising across from the Landing over the weekend. Power Bait and Gulp eggs are good for fishing when the water is not running, or when it’s running pretty slow, but they’re softer than Power Eggs and fall off the hook faster. As the sun changes throughout the day, you’ll likely have to experiment with different colors. Night crawlers and minnows are also effective and will likely yield a chance at bigger fish. Trout can be finicky and steal your bait. If it keeps happening, pick the smallest minnow in the bucket and see if that helps. Stick baits and drifting crank baits have been okay this past week. The Bomber Fat Free Shad along the bottom has been producing browns up to 22-inches. The 1/8th ounce jigs should be your go-to in this fast water. Look for slower water as you drift like eddies where fish will be holding. Fish the inside banks, or if you’re fishing the channel or bluff banks, work the eddies and places out of the current. 4-pound line in Vanish or Trilene XL (green or clear) is okay to use. If you’re not losing a few jigs, you’re probably not catching very many trout. You need to be down where they are and that’s usually down where there’s some snags. Drift a fly on the bottom in the trophy area and all the way down to Trout Hollow. A bigger scud (#12) in gray or olive, an egg fly or big San Juan Worm, or even a Mega worm. The bottom is fairly clear of moss so you’ll get a clean drift this time of year. Make sure it’s on the bottom. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

NORFORK: 42 degrees, stained, about 7 feet high. Outlook: Bink’s Fintastic Guide Service reports: the lake is rising. Stripers are still up lake. Trolling with umbrella rigs 40-50 feet down is productive. Crappie have moved up into the brush piles and are feeding aggressively. Bass have been good and moved to deeper banks, creek channel banks, and swings. White bass have been excellent throughout the lake on Bink’s Spoon vertical jigging.

LONGVIEW: low 30s, stained, 0.5 feet high. Outlook: Longview Marina reports: lake is partially ice covered. None of it is considered safe. No fishing activity to speak of currently. 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. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

POMME DE TERRE: 38 degrees, clear (4-6 feet), 2.5 feet high. Outlook: Muskie Guide Service reports: 500 cfs being released. All species have been slow.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS: mid 30s, clear, 3.1 feet low. Outlook: Gier’s Bass Pro reports: crappie were okay over the past weekend near main lake and secondary points around brush. Nice crappie were caught, but not in large numbers. Bass fishing has been okay throwing a jerkbait or jig on main lake points. Sunny days can be very good for throwing a jerkbait.

REED AREA: 30 degrees, clear, normal pool. Outlook: Missouri Dept. of Conservation reports: lakes are mostly frozen and very little fishing going on. Remember, no ice is 100% safe. It takes a minimum of four inches of good ice to fish. Be sure to avoid off colored ice. Do not venture out on the ice alone. Trout have been good if you can break through the ice around the dock. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

STOCKTON: mid 30s, clear, 1.5 feet high. Outlook: Stockton Lake Guide Service reports: cold nights are icing things up. Be prepared to change ramps because some of them are definitely iced in. Check the temperature ahead of time. If you can get on the water and find shad schooled up in the coves or along the front of the bluffs, crappie and walleye should be underneath those schools of shad. Most of the shad have been in about 40 feet of water. You can also run A-rigs through the schools of shad for bass. Bass have seemed to be a little bit shallower in the 30 foot range. Your best bet is to go after the crappie and hopefully catch a walleye while you catch crappie. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

JACOMO: low 30s, stained, normal Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group reports: Ice is present on a lot of the lake. There is some open water around the docks. You may have to break some ice with cooling temps. Crappie can be found in numbers and sizes around the docks and brush piles. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

BLUE SPRINGS: low 30s, clear, about normal Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: Ice is present intermittently throughout the lake. Crappie can be found around the marina and brush piles 10-15 feet down when the water is open. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

TABLE ROCK: 44 degrees, clear (7 feet), 0.5 feet high. Outlook: Eric Prey of Focused Fishing Guide Service reports: The deep bite has slowed with the generation through the dam. Jerkbait bite has been the best on steeper, rocky main lake and secondary points near isolated timber. Allow the bait to sit for 5 - 10 seconds to draw strikes. Wind makes the bite better. The jig bite is also strong on these same points when it’s calm. The fish have been 15-25 feet deep. The crankbait bite has picked back up. Target rocky banks with wind 8-12 feet deep. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

TRUMAN: 35 degrees, stained, 2.6 feet high. Outlook: Richard Bowling Guide Service reports: releasing 24,000 cfs early in the week. There is a lot of ice in the mid to upper lake. Dam area is open. Crappie are being caught in 30 feet of water and more, fishing 25 feet down. Bite is good! Spider rigging and two pole trolling are both working. You’ll find the best bite near bluff pockets and along bluffs.

SMITHVILLE: 32 degrees, clear, 1.5 feet low Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: the lake is virtually all ice covered, but is not safe. There are some open areas around the Camp Branch Marina to fish but that’s it. Reports of a few crappies being caught is all that’s showing up. The remainder of the 2019 Smithville Bassmasters tournament schedule is as follows: 3/23-24: Stockton Lake 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; 4/6-7: Pomme De Terre Lake 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; 5/11: Smithville Lake 6 a.m.-3 p.m.; 6/1: Lake of the Ozarks 6 a.m.-3 p.m.; 6/2: Truman Lake 6 a.m.-3 p.m.; 6/29: Mozingo Lake 5:45 a.m.-3 p.m.; 7/14: Truman Lake 6 a.m.-3 p.m.; 8/18: Smithville Lake 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; 9/7: Palmer Memorial Classic, Smithville Lake 7 a.m.-3 p.m. (open fundraising tournament); 10/19-20: Club Championship, Pomme De Terre Lake 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

For more information about the club, a complete tournament schedule, photos and results of recent events, visit Smithvillebassmasters.com or facebook.com/smithvillebassmasters.

MOZINGO LAKE: low 30s, 1-3 feet of clarity, normal. Outlook: Fishing With Nordbye YouTube channel reports: The lake is frozen up. The ice is 5-8 inches thick in a lot of places. Use caution! Join Northwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.


MELVERN: 32 degrees, stained, 1.5 feet low. Outlook: Melvern Lake Marina reports: Ice coverage as of Monday morning was around 40%. Crappie are poor to fair with a lot of small fish being caught. More keepers are being caught in and around established brush piles and at the Marina docks. Small ice jigs and soft baits are best. White bass are poor to fair lake wide on jigs and minnows. All other species - poor or no reports.

CLINTON: 32 degrees, clear, 1 foot low. Outlook: Kansas Angling Experience Guide Service reports: Lake is mostly frozen. Ramps are unusable. All species slow.

PERRY: 33 degrees, stained, 0.5 feet high. Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: Lake is mostly iced over. Boat ramps are unusable. Rock Creek and Slough Creek have been the best spots for ice fishing with 5-7 inches of ice still present. Anglers are doing okay on crappie using ice jigs tipped with plastics. Use caution on the ice!

COFFEY COUNTY: 49 at north end, 60 at hot water outlet, 40 at the dam clear, full pool Outlook: Linn County Parks reports: All species. 31 white bass were caught in the last week and that was the most of any species. A total of 12 boats were out in the last week.

LA CYGNE: 37 degrees main lake, 58 at hot water outlet, clear, full pool Outlook: Linn County Parks reports: the ramp is clear so it is usable. Fishing has been fairly slow in last week, but crappie have been biting in deep water over by the dam. Flatheads and blue catfish have been caught on the north end. For information on the Linn County Marina boat ramps call 913-757-6633. Join Southeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

POMONA: 32 degrees, stained, 1.4 feet low Outlook: Lighthouse Bay Marina reports: Corps. Of Engineers reports: 100% ice coverage. Crappie can still be caught around the docks through the ice. Use caution.

MILFORD: 33 degrees, stained, 3 feet low Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: Corps. of Engineers reports 800 c.f.s being discharged. The lake is 75% ice covered. KDWPT last updated 12/20. All species are slow. Join Northeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

HILLSDALE: 33 degrees, stained, 2 feet low. Outlook: Jayhawk Marina reports: lake is about 30% ice covered. Be cautious using boat ramps. Crappie – fair on blue and white, black and chartreuse, black and silver, and pink jigs, as well as minnows. Small spoons are producing, too. Try 12-18 feet down. 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): 32 degrees, clear, 1 foot low Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reports: last updated 2/18/19. The lake is 90% ice covered. All of the boat ramps are iced in. Much better ice has formed west of the causeway with 7 good inches reported around Boller Point. Farther north, the ice is approximately four inches thick, but not as high of quality. There is still open water under the bridge and west of the boat ramp near the standing timber. Given the weather forecast for this week, ice fishing should be safe to try this week and into the weekend. Just be very careful and respect the ice. Do not fish alone and always check the ice ahead of you before assuming it is safe. There have been mixed reports of white bass and crappie catches this winter west of the causeway. Anglers can try fishing off the docks or fish in the outlet below the dam. Crappie are fair to good. Anglers have been reporting improved crappie catch rates from deep drops along the river channel and in the marina slips. Small jigs and minnows are working best. The bite is often best early in the morning and late in the afternoon. There have also been some fish caught off the brush piles around the state park area. There is now a 10 inch minimum length limit on crappie at Glen Elder! Walleye are fair. Anglers do not catch many walleye during the winter out here. Best bets to catch some now would be to target deeper water along the river channel in the lower half of the reservoir. During the day, fish can be found as deep as 40 feet, but they will move shallower at night. White bass are good. Check around the outlet area with the high outflows occurring right now. Also, fish can be found off main lake points along the north shore and near the south bluffs. Fish will also be stacking up west of the causeway and anglers should be able to find some along the river channels in that area. Trout are good. The latest trout stocking occurred on December 31st and the fish looked very good. The pond is currently covered with a thin layer of ice so it will be difficult for anglers to fish until the ice thickens or clears off. Once anglers are able to fish, the best baits to try include Powerbait, minnows, and worms. Don’t forget to purchase a trout permit.

TUTTLE CREEK: 32 degrees, stained, 2.5 feet high. Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: Corps. Of Engineers reports: 74% ice cover. KDWPT last updated 2/12. Most fishing has been slow due to high water. High water, dropping water and muddy water has greatly hampered the normally good winter crappie fishing. Catfish and saugeye have been fair. The high release rates have been moving saugeye from the Reservoir downstream, which has led to some good fishing in the river pond, the river below the dam or at Rocky Ford. Trout season is in full force 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 2/12/19. So far this trout season, the lake has been stocked with 6,460 catchable sized rainbow trout. Fishing has been good to excellent. Ice conditions have been changing quickly, but there have been some anglers able to get out on the ice or just breaking holes by the docks when the ice is not safe. Use caution! Best baits are commercial trout baits, worms, corn or lures. Limit is 5 fish a day. A trout permit is needed to fish at Willow Lake during the trout season, except that anyone under 16 years of age with a properly licensed adult can fish and harvest up to 2 trout without a trout permit.

WILSON: low 30s, stained, about normal. Outlook: Knothead’s Bait Shop reports: watch out for icy conditions. Stripers have been slow to fair on the west end but some have been caught. Some walleyes have been caught in the last week. White perch can be found in deeper parts of the lake. Blue catfish are being caught all over, but the upper end is producing best. White bass remain scarce for the most part.

EL DORADO: low to mid 30s, stained, 0.2 feet high. Outlook: KS Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reports: last updated 2/7. Some ice is present. The main lake is mostly open and the upper ends of coves and some protected arms are iced over. Use caution around boat ramps. Crappie are good and being found 12-15 feet deep near timber or on brush piles on jigs or minnows.

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.