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Crappie fishing at Truman Lake

Crappie fishermen catch fish on spider rigs at Truman Lake. Video by Brent Frazee
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Crappie fishermen catch fish on spider rigs at Truman Lake. Video by Brent Frazee

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


BULL SHOALS: 47 degrees, clear, 2 feet high Outlook: Del Colvin Guide Service reports: lake levels dropped. The whites are moving up with the moon coming. Look for shad in pockets and runoff with warmer water nearby. Bass have been moving up. A Keitech around the shad will produce. Keep an out for seagulls to help you find the shad. Bluff ends and points leading into spawning areas are holding some fish. Try a grub, jig or ned rig on post frontal days. The cranking bite should pick up with the warming trend. If we have wind, red colors have been best lately. Spro rock crawlers, wiggle warts and square bills will work. Wind will help the crank bite. Carolina rig should be dusted off soon. Below the dam: John Berry of Berry Bros. Guide Service reports: The White has fished well. Heavy 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: 43 degrees, clear, 2 units of generation Outlook: Lilleys’ Landing reports: flood gates were open at Table Rock Dam last week and through the weekend, but there’s no flooding. The Corps is working on the intake screens on the lake side of the dam. Divers have to go down and pull off dead catfish and other nasty things that have piled up over the past few years on these grates. For that to happen, the turbines have to be offline, but because of the lake levels on Beaver and Table Rock, the Corps needs to move some water, so over the spill gates it came. This brought all kinds of fish with it including threadfin shad. Trout fishing was incredible over the weekend because of this flow, and the trout are still looking for shad now that the gates are closed and turbines running, but it has slowed down. They’re running anywhere from 1 to 3 units, and with rain in the forecast, it’s not going to slow down any time soon. So fishing in the trophy area has been pretty good throwing white jigs, spoons, small stick baits and shad flies. And these lures are still working well all the way to the Branson Landing because the shad drifted down that far. The best fishing has been from Monkey Island down through the Landing. MDC stocked quite a few rainbows late last week and it’s been pretty crazy. Best thing to drift with is pink or orange PowerWorms on the bottom, or if the water isn’t running too hard, under a float 5-7 feet deep. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

NORFORK: 51 degrees, creeks stained, main lake clear, about 3 feet high. Outlook: Bink’s Fintastic Guide Service reports: Lake is falling and the spring fishing is picking up. Stripers, hybrids, and white bass are all back in the creeks and feeding on the ½ oz Bink’s white jigging spoon. Non stop action.

LONGVIEW: 39 degrees, stained, 0.8 feet high. Outlook: Longview Marina reports: anglers are catching quite a few crappie around the marina, but have to work through a lot of small ones. Black and pink seems to be working well. Fishing is available from the marina seven days a week. Fishing hours are 8am-3pm. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

POMME DE TERRE: low 40s, stained, 5 feet high. Outlook: Muskie Guide Service reports: 3,000 cfs being released per Corps. of Engineers. All species have been slow. Only one bass was caught and weighed in over the weekend in a tournament with ten boats. Some crappie have been caught around docks.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS: 43 degrees, stained, 6 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. They are being found on just about every rocky bank now. Bass fishing has been okay throwing a jerkbait or jig on main lake points. Sunny days can be very good for throwing a jerkbait. Small jigs and crawdad crankbaits are starting to become productive near secondary points and chunk rock.

REED AREA: 44 degrees, clear, normal pool. Outlook: Missouri Dept. of Conservation reports: crappie fishing is good on sunny afternoons. Tube jigs and minnows near brush piles are producing the most crappie. Also, look for them on northern, wind-blown banks. Trout fishing is good using Powerbait, inline spinners and small jigs on windy banks. Channel catfish are picking up on worms and Powerbait. Bass are good on slow moving baits. All other species slow. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

STOCKTON: 49 degrees, clear, 3.7 feet high Outlook: Stockton Lake Guide Service reports: Walleye are finally on the move. Look for them on main lake points near lots of rocks throwing a jerkbait. If you really want to catch him, sit around in your boat until after the sunsets when you usually want to go home and start fishing. Crappie are still under schools of shad, but not like they have been. You’ll have better success if you can find shad and cover any place from 29 to 50 feet deep. For bass, throw a jerkbait and run the A-rig around 20 to 30 feet of water. Look for them mainly on points and chunk rocks on steep areas and bluffs. A few white bass have been up the rivers along with a few walleyes. So if you’re looking for a nice little walk through the woods, try way up the Sac River. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

JACOMO: mid to upper 30s, stained, a little high Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group reports: Crappie can be found around the docks and brush piles. Look for white bass to start moving in along the dam soon. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

BLUE SPRINGS: mid to upper 30s, clear, a little high Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: 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: 49 degrees, clear on main lake (7 feet), stained in rivers, a little high and rising. Outlook: Eric Prey of Focused Fishing Guide Service reports: white bass are moving up and feeding in the rivers. Try rooster tails and grubs. Walleye are still running in the rivers, stickbaits and crankbaits are effective. For bass, crankbaits on steeper rocky banks have been best, wind helps this bite. Swimbaits around standing timber on steep banks has been good. Jigs and Ned rigs on rocky banks and channel swings are producing when the wind is calm. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

TRUMAN: 44 degrees, stained, 9.25 feet high. Outlook: Richard Bowling Guide Service reports: Crappie are being caught in 20 feet of water and more fishing 18 feet deep. Spider rigging the creeks and pockets in the lower lake area has been productive. Minnows are the bait of choice. Catfish are being caught in the flooded bushes in 3 to 8 feet of water fishing 2 feet off the bottom. Fresh cut bait is a must!

SMITHVILLE: 42 degrees, clear, 1.5 feet high Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: the lake is thawed out. The walleye are expected to pick up the last week of March. Look for them on the dam. Crappie are still in deep piles. 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 still mostly frozen but is starting to show signs of open water. There is a gap of open water between the bank and the ice. Ice fishing is not recommended. Join Northwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.


SHAWNEE MISSION PARK: 43 degrees, clear, 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.

KILL CREEK PARK: 45 degrees, clear, normal Outlook: trout are good on worms or Powerbait. Crappie and panfish are fair on worms. Bass are fair on jigs. Catfish are poor.

MELVERN: 41 degrees, stained, 0.5 feet high Outlook: Melvern Lake Marina reports: 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: 39 degrees, 1 foot low, dingy. Outlook: Kansas Angling Experience Guide Service reports: Crappie are good. Size and numbers are still being caught on brush piles and channel breaks on jigs.

PERRY: 38 degrees, stained, about 8.5 feet high Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: pretty muddy on the north end. The south end of the lake is pretty clear. The boat ramps are mostly underwater except for the one in Rock Creek. Anglers are also using the ramp at DJ’s Marina. Crappie are being caught in the marinas, but nothing of any major size. Small plastics have been working. Channel cats have picked up where water is flowing into the lake. Some walleye have been caught on the dam.

COFFEY COUNTY: 64 at north end, 68 at hot water outlet, 47 at the inlet, 45 at the dam clear, full pool Outlook: The Gatehouse reports: Ramp is usable. 998 whites reported caught in the last week, 33 largemouth, 47 smallmouth, 62 wipers, 76 channel cats, 35 crappie, and 103 blue catfish.

LA CYGNE: 54 degrees at hot water outlet, 44 degrees on the south end, clear, full pool Outlook: Linn County Parks reports: a 34-pound blue catfish was caught in the last week. Numerous bass over five pounds have been caught in the last week. For information on the Linn County Marina boat ramps call 913-757-6633. Join Southeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

POMONA: 34 degrees, stained, 2.7 feet high Outlook: Lighthouse Bay Marina reports: Corps. of Engineers reports: Crappie have been biting very well around the dock and some anglers are starting to catch them shallow.

MILFORD: 40 degrees, stained, 4.3 feet high Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: anglers are starting to target blue catfish now since ice has come off the lake. Higher lake levels are expected, which could impact angling success. All blue cats between 25-40 inches must be released. Creel limit is still five, but only one can be 40-inches or longer. Crappie are fair 10-20 feet deep suspended near points, flooded brush, and ledges on jigs and minnows. Walleyes should start staging in spawning areas along the dam. Target rocky or wind-swept mud banks.

HILLSDALE: 38 degrees, stained, 0.3 feet low Outlook: Jayhawk Marina reports: Crappie – fair on blue and white, black, and silver jigs, as well as minnows. Small spoons are producing, too. Try 19-24 feet down. Some bass and walleye are being caught as well. 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, about 4 feet high Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reports: last updated 3/14/19. The recent winds have cleared the reservoir of ice except for the east end. Most of the boat ramps are open now and anglers should be able to launch a boat and fish nearly anywhere lake wide. 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. White bass can be caught in good numbers out here throughout the winter in a variety of locations. 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. Anglers have been catching good numbers of trout using cheese, Powerbait, minnows, and worms. The latest stocking of trout occurred on March 12th with 300 more pounds added to the already stocked 2,000 pounds. The ice is gone and anglers should have no problem fishing in the pond. Make sure to purchase a trout permit before fishing the pond!

TUTTLE CREEK: 32 degrees, stained, 27.36 feet high. Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: ice is mostly off the lake. KDWPT last updated 3/5. 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 650 pounds of rainbow trout on 03/05/19. So far this trout season, the lake has been stocked with 7,675 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. 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: mid to upper 30s, stained, 1 foot high. Outlook: Knothead’s Bait Shop reports: ice is gone. Fishing is still slow all over the lake.

EL DORADO: mid to upper 30s, stained, 0.52 feet high. Outlook: KS Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reports: last updated 3/7. As of March 7, the lake is mostly ice covered and all boat ramps are locked in ice. 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 last week 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.