Outdoors

Fishing report: Punxsutawney Phil’s ‘early spring’ prediction hasn’t quite panned out

Jamison and his friend, Robert, took full advantage recently of a new Smithville regulation that allows for the keeping of 30 crappie per angler.
Jamison and his friend, Robert, took full advantage recently of a new Smithville regulation that allows for the keeping of 30 crappie per angler. 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 March 6, 2019.

Missouri

BULL SHOALS: 44 degrees, clear, 8 feet high Outlook: Del Colvin Guide Service reports: deep bite is still hit or miss in 25 to 35 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 temps 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. Afternoons can be better once sun warms up dirty water. Below the dam: John Berry of Berry Bros. Guide Service reports: The White has fished well. There was moderate generation and no wadable water in the last week. The hot spot has been The Catch and Release section at 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 bead head pheasant tail nymph (#14) with an egg pattern (#12) suspended below it. Use plenty of weight to get your flies down.

TANEYCOMO: 49 degrees, stained, 2 units of generation Outlook: Lilleys’ Landing reports: a new state record brown trout was caught over the weekend. Paul Crews was the lucky angler and caught it during an annual fishing tournament in honor of one of his friends. The trout weighed 34-pounds, 10-ounces. He caught it on 4-pound test line using a sculpin marabou jig made by PJs. Darker jigs have been working better this past week. Shad aren’t coming through the dam in the lighter generation and don’t appear to like the lighter colors as much. Monkey Island down to the Landing has been a hot spot for many people in the last week. The Landing area has been holding a lot of fish that were recently stocked. Anglers are drifting Powerbait and doing very well, too. Use the smallest weight to get to the bottom. An 1/8th-ounce bell on the drift rigs should work. Nightcrawlers and minnows are catching fish, too, and you’ll have a better chance catching a bigger trout using natural baits like these. Reporting on an anticipated event, the US Army Corps. of Engineers opened two spill gates, Tuesday, March 5th, for at least three days and shut down all turbine release to work on machinery at their facility. Gates 9 and 10 will be open 2-feet each and release about 3,900 c.f.s of water throughout the duration of the work. This should allow threadfin shad and other fish to drop into Lake Taneycomo, which should create a feeding frenzy with the trout. There should be some good fishing in the trophy area using about anything white to imitate the shad coming over the spillway. Even after the gates are closed, white should be a good color for days and even weeks to come. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

NORFORK: 45 degrees, stained, about 7 feet high. Outlook: Bink’s Fintastic Guide Service reports: the lake is rising. Fishing has slowed down overall. Stripers are still up lake. Trolling with umbrella rigs 40-50 feet down is productive. Crappie are in the brush piles. Bass have been okay and moved to deeper banks, creek channel banks, and swings. White bass have been excellent throughout the lake on Bink’s Spoon vertical jigging, but just have to find them first.

LONGVIEW: low 30s, stained, 0.9 feet high. Outlook: Longview Marina reports: lake is frozen. Still no fishing activity to speak of currently. Fishing is available from the marina seven 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: 37 degrees, clear (4-6 feet), 2.75 feet high. Outlook: Muskie Guide Service reports: 500 cfs being released. All species have been slow.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS: 40 degrees, clear, 5 feet low. Outlook: Gier’s Bass Pro reports: crappie can be caught with minnows around docks. Anglers are starting to find them with a bobber and jig at the backs of coves. Place your jig five feet below the bobber. They’re being found fishing anywhere in 5 to 15 feet of water. 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: 34 degrees, clear, normal pool. Outlook: Missouri Dept. of Conservation reports: lakes are iced over. Trout are fair on a variety of baits when water is open. All other species are slow. 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. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

STOCKTON: 36 degrees, clear, 1.3 feet high Outlook: Stockton Lake Guide Service reports: some ramps have been frozen in earlier in the week. Walleye are beginning to move towards some spawning areas. Some have been caught in Turnback Creek, as well as Son’s Creek, Maize and Turkey. Will be a couple weeks before the big females move up to spawn, but depends on weather and daylight. Jerk baits right at dusk on points can be very productive. Crappie are fair and following shad. Expect a shad die off with coming cold weather. Very few white bass have been up the rivers but it won’t be long. Bass can be caught slow rolling an A-rig or slow jerk baits over points and cover holding shad. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

JACOMO: low to mid 30s, stained, normal Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group reports: Ramps were frozen earlier in the week. Crappie can be found around the docks and brush piles. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

BLUE SPRINGS: low to mid 30s, clear, 0.8 feet high Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: Ramps were frozen in earlier in the week. Not much fishing activity to report on. Crappie can be found around the marina when the water is open. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

TABLE ROCK: 43 degrees, clear (7 feet), normal. 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. Swimbaits over deep trees 20 - 35 feet down in the bigger creek arms is working as well. The crankbait bite is good. 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, 3.2 feet high. Outlook: Richard Bowling Guide Service reports: releasing 32,000 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 in the mouths of creeks.

SMITHVILLE: 32 degrees, clear, 0.4 feet low Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: the lake is frozen up now. Some guys are ice fishing, but use caution! 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. There will be a brush pile project on March 28th where you can volunteer to help place brush piles. You can call the MDC or Corps. Of Engineers for more details.

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 10 to 15 inches in a lot of places. Use caution! Join Northwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

Kansas

SHAWNEE MISSION PARK: 36 degrees, mostly ice covered, normal Outlook: Clarity: trout are good on worms or Powerbait. Crappie and panfish are fair on worms or jigs. Catfish are poor. Bass/wipers are fair on jigs or chicken liver. 3,800 hundred pounds of trout were stocked on Feb 20th. There will be a second stocking on Friday, March 8th at 3:45pm. Fishing will be closed that afternoon after the stocking and then open up on Saturday, March 9th at 5am.

KILL CREEK PARK: 38 degrees, mostly ice covered, normal Outlook: trout are good on worms or Powerbait. Crappie and panfish are fair on worms. Bass are fair on jigs. Catfish are poor. 1,600 pounds of trout were stocked on Feb 20th and opened it up to fishing on February 23. There will be a second stocking on Friday, March 8th at 2:30pm. Fishing will be closed that afternoon after the stocking and then open up on Saturday, March 9th at 5am.

MELVERN: 32 degrees, stained, 0.4 feet low. Outlook: Melvern Lake Marina reports: Ice coverage as of Monday morning was around 90%. 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. All other species - poor or no reports.

CLINTON: 32 degrees, dingy, 1 foot low Outlook: Kansas Angling Experience Guide Service reports: the lake has been completely frozen in the last week.

PERRY: 33 degrees, stained, 2 feet high and falling Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: Lake is 75% iced over. Boat ramps are unusable. Rock Creek and Slough Creek have been the best spots for ice fishing. 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: Ramp is usable. All species slow.

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. Blue cats off the banks at the north end were good. Crappie have been caught in decent numbers in the last week. Whites and wipers have been good around the hot water outlet. 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, 0.9 feet high Outlook: Lighthouse Bay Marina reports: Corps. Of Engineers reports: 90% ice coverage. Crappie fishing has been a bit slow in the past week. Use caution anywhere near the ice! They are letting out 500 cfs currently.

MILFORD: 33 degrees, stained, 2.8 feet low Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: Corps. of Engineers reports 6,000 c.f.s being discharged as of Monday. The lake is 95% 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, 1.3 feet low. Outlook: Jayhawk Marina reports: lake is about 50% 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, 5.6 feet high. Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: Corps. Of Engineers reports: 99% ice cover. KDWPT last updated 2/26. 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. 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 125 pounds of rainbow trout on 02/26/19. So far this trout season the lake has been stocked with 6,700 catchable sized rainbow trout. Fishing has been good to excellent. Ice conditions have been changing weekly, 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. Best baits are commercial trout baits, worms, corn or lures. Limit is 5 fish a day.

WILSON: low 30s, stained, about normal. Outlook: Knothead’s Bait Shop reports: 90% ice covered currently. Some people are ice fishing and catching some stripers, white bass, and catfish.

EL DORADO: low to mid 30s, stained, 0.45 feet high. Outlook: KS Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reports: the lake locked up with ice this past Saturday night and was 90% ice covered as of Monday afternoon. All boat ramps locked up. Ice not thick enough for safe ice fishing. Crappie were biting in 16 to 20 feet of water before ice up. The KDWPT stocked 400 pounds of rainbow trout in the trout stream Monday evening and have one more stocking to go. Trout fishing should be FANTASTIC when the ice melts and allows access to the fish.

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.

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