Fishing report: Walleye and crappie action starting to pick up across Missouri, Kansas

Michael Parker shows off a 32-pound blue catfish, his personal best on rod and reel, caught in Truman Lake last week.
Michael Parker shows off a 32-pound blue catfish, his personal best on rod and reel, caught in Truman Lake last week. 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 27, 2019.


BULL SHOALS: 51 degrees, clear, 1 foot 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. No wadable water in 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, 1 unit of generation Outlook: Lilleys’ Landing reports: the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers has been running three units consistently, but dropped it to one unit Tuesday morning. The trout seem to be in great shape, fighting hard when hooked. Midge hatches are occurring early and late in the day, which the trout key in on at times. No shad have been seen coming in from Table Rock through the dam. The best bite area has been drifting from Monkey Island through the bridges downtown using red, orange or pink PowerWorms on the bottom. Depending on the wind, anglers are using 1/4-ounce weight to get the bait to the bottom. PowerBait is also working okay, as well as worms and minnows. There are some slower parts close to the bank where people are anchoring and straight-lining bait and doing well. If you try this area be sure to pick a slow spot and have a knife ready to cut the anchor rope if you get in trouble. The “white bite” is a thing of the past, at least until the next time officials open the flood gates. There wasn’t a long enough run of threadfin shad for those trout to stay on the white jig bite this time. They’re back on darker colors like brown, black, sculpin, sculpin/peach and sculpin/ginger. It’s not that you won’t catch a fish on white, but just not as many. Below the dam, work the jig in slack water against the bank and in the middle on the bottom. Use 1/8th- to 1/16th-ounce jigs, depending on line size and what you’re working. Also, the wind becomes a factor. If it’s breezy, switch to a heavier jig to control it, and/or two-pound line. Fly fishermen are drifting a scud, egg fly or San Juan Worm on the bottom in the trophy area and doing pretty well, too. The best area has been the Narrows, about 1/2-mile above Fall Creek. Make sure you’re on the bottom there, or you won’t garner bites. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

NORFORK: 54 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. Also, the stripers are moving up on the bank after dark.

LONGVIEW: 44 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. Walleye are starting to move up on the dam, but are still mostly in staging areas. 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: 48 degrees, clear, a few feet high. Outlook: Muskie Guide Service reports: Two bass tournaments occurred over the weekend. Roughly 11-pounds and 19-pounds won each tournament. Things are looking up. Muskies are starting to be found as well.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS: 44 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. 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: 50 degrees, clear, normal pool. Outlook: Missouri Dept. of Conservation reports: crappie fishing is fair, try tube jigs or minnows near brush piles. Trout fishing is good on power bait, flies, inline spinners, and small jigs on windy banks. Channel catfish are picking up on minnows and cut bait. Bass are good on slow moving baits. Some big ones, 5-pounds or more, have been caught in the last week! all other species slow. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

STOCKTON: mid to upper 40s, clear, 3.2 feet high Outlook: Stockton Lake Guide Service reports: Walleye are picking up. 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 40s, clear, a little high Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group reports: Crappie can be found around the docks and brush piles. The tournament guys started fishing recently and were catching some nice bass. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

BLUE SPRINGS: mid to upper 40s, 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. The bass tournament guys finally got out and did okay on some nice fish. Look for them along drop offs. 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: not much has changed other than fishing is a little tougher overall.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: 47 degrees, stained, 10.9 feet high. Outlook: Richard Bowling Guide Service reports: the crappie are shallow early. Look for them 6 feet down in 10 feet of water down. After the sun comes up fish 10 feet down in 12 feet and more. The early bite has been better than midday. Catfishing has been tough lately.

SMITHVILLE: 43 degrees, clear, 1.5 feet high Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: The walleye are starting to move up in the evenings on the dam. Look for them on the dam. Crappie are still in deep piles. Bigger fish are starting to be caught around the docks. 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: upper 30s, 1-3 feet of clarity, normal. Outlook: Fishing With Nordbye YouTube channel reports: Lake is finally open. There may still be a bit of ice in coves, but you can put a boat on. Most fish are lethargic. Crappie can be found on main lake brush, as well as bluegill. Catfish are fair. Bass are fair. Jerkbaits and MO-Rigs are working best along rocks, old submerged vegetation, and along points. Join Northwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.


SHAWNEE MISSION PARK: 52 degrees, clear, normal Outlook: Clarity: trout are good on spoons. Crappie and panfish are fair on minnows. Catfish are poor. Bass/wipers are fair on plastics.

KILL CREEK PARK: 52 degrees, clear, normal Outlook: trout are good on worms or Powerbait. Crappie and panfish are good on worms. Bass are fair on worms. Catfish are poor. Try dough bait.

MELVERN: 45 degrees, stained, 0.7 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: 44 degrees, 1 foot high, 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. Wipers and white bass can be found along drop offs with current. Look for them near the bottom using swimbaits. You may have to use a ½ oz jig head to keep your bait down in the wind.

PERRY: low 50s, stained, about 9 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. Some are being found in brush piles at 15 feet in 20 feet of water. 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. 1264 whites reported caught in the last week, 16 largemouth, 109 smallmouth, 110 wipers, 181 channel cats, 56 crappie, and 85 blue catfish. Report comes from 213 people, 90 boats, and 50 bank fishermen.

LA CYGNE: 58 degrees at hot water outlet, 44 degrees on the south end, clear, full pool Outlook: Linn County Parks reports: a 50-pound flathead was caught in the last week. Crappie were good recently early in the 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: mid 30s, 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: last updated 3/18. 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. White bass/wipers are fair along wind banks and points using jigs.

HILLSDALE: 46 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. You can catch them along the entire water column. Some bass and walleye are being caught as well, including n 18-inch walleye off the dock. 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): upper 30s/low 40s, clear, about 3 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: 42 degrees, stained, 34.5 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, 0.4 feet high. Outlook: Knothead’s Bait Shop reports: No updated report submitted this week. Fishing is still slow all over the lake.

EL DORADO: upper 30s, stained, 0.2 feet high. Outlook: KS Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reports: last updated 3/21. Crappie are being found 16 to 20 feet deep near timber or on brush piles using jigs or minnows. The walleye spawn is approaching and fish are heading to the spawning areas along rocky shorelines. Anglers have been doing well at the stilling basin while releases were occurring. Rainbow trout were stocked the first week of March.

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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