Fishing report: Big whites and hybrids are being caught as their annual runs begin

Catching monster fish in Kansas

No place in the state has bigger, meaner fish than the Kansas River. The Kansas River, known as the Kaw to locals, starts at Junction City where the Republican and Smoky Hill rivers join. From there the river flows about 150 miles east to where it
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No place in the state has bigger, meaner fish than the Kansas River. The Kansas River, known as the Kaw to locals, starts at Junction City where the Republican and Smoky Hill rivers join. From there the river flows about 150 miles east to where it

Here is the fishing report for the Kansas City area and lakes and wildlife areas in Kansas and Missouri for the week of April 3, 2019.


BULL SHOALS: 51 degrees, clear, 1 foot high Outlook: Del Colvin Guide Service reports: lake levels dropped. Look for shad in pockets and runoff with warmer water nearby. Bass have been moving up. A Keitech 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, shaky head, jig, or ned rig on post frontal days. The cranking bite should pick up with the warming trend. If we have wind, spinnerbaits and square bills will work. Wind will also help the crank bite. Carolina rig and dragging a tube is starting to produce on gravel points. It’s about to bust loose the next couple of weeks.Below the dam: John Berry of Berry Bros. Guide Service reports: The White has fished well. There was some 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, moderate 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 1 foot 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: 47 degrees, stained (12-15 inch clarity), about one foot 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: 46 degrees, clear, 4.4 feet high. Outlook: Muskie Guide Service reports: bass continue to be fair to good. A few muskies are still being reported.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS: 44 degrees, clear, 4.5 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 in coves. Place your jig five feet below the bobber. They’re being found fishing anywhere in 5 to 15 feet of water. Look for rocky banks. 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: 38 degrees, clear, normal pool. Outlook: Missouri Dept. of Conservation reports: trout fishing is good using Powerbait, flies, inline spinners, and small jigs on windy banks. Channel catfish are fair on minnows and cut bait. Bass are good on slow moving baits. Big ones continue to be caught. All other species slow. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

STOCKTON: 47 degrees, clear, 3.8 feet high Outlook: Tandem Fly Outfitters reports: bass are starting to stage and the best bite has been from Mile Long Bridge and Masters up to the dam. Fish can be caught on a jerkbait, rock crawler, and a jig. The fish will be on main lake and secondary points with bigger fish being caught in 15-20 feet fishing a ½ oz football jig after finding productive areas with jerkbait and rock crawler. Walleye are on main lake points. The bite is really picking up. Still seeing more quality than quantity catching more females than males on head hunter jerkbaits. Crappie are in transition and still somewhat tough on the main lake with fish being caught on main lake brush. White bass and crappie are being caught up the tributaries with water temps in the low 50s, but water is stained. You can catch staging fish in deeper water 18-25 feet trolling flicker shad and shallower fish further up the river on road runners, rooster tails, and swimming minnows. Chartreuse and white are great color options with the water color. 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. Fish have been fairly shallow in the water column. Minnows have been most productive. Some walleye have been picked up on the rocky banks. The next week will be your best chance for them. Bass are fair on jerkbaits and jigs. 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: Some folks have started trolling for white bass and wipers and are picking up a few. Look for them to move in along the dam here soon. Crappie can be found around the docks and brush piles. Fish have been fairly shallow in the water column. Minnows have been most productive. Bass are fair on jerkbaits and jigs. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

TABLE ROCK: 49 degrees, clear on main lake (7 feet), stained in rivers, one foot high. Outlook: Eric Prey of Focused Fishing Guide Service reports: fishing has drastically improved overall in the last week. White bass are moving up and feeding in the rivers. That bite is very good right now. Try rooster tails and grubs. Walleye are still running in the rivers, stickbaits and crankbaits are effective. For bass, many fish are moving to secondary points near spawning pockets. Try crankbaits on steeper rocky banks, wind helps this bite. Swimbaits around standing timber on steep banks has been good, too. 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, 13.6 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: 45 degrees, clear, 3 feet high Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: The walleye are starting to move up in the evenings on the dam. Crappie are still in deep piles. Bigger fish are starting to be caught around the docks.

MOZINGO LAKE: upper 30s, 1-3 feet of clarity, normal. Outlook: Fishing With Nordbye YouTube channel reports: Lake is finally open. 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: 47 degrees, clear, normal Outlook: Clarity: trout are good on Powerbait. Crappie and panfish are fair on minnows. Catfish are fair on chicken liver. Bass/wipers are fair on plastics.

KILL CREEK PARK: 47 degrees, clear, normal Outlook: trout are good on nightcrawlers. Crappie and panfish are good on worms and small plastics. Bass are fair on worms. Catfish are fair on cut shad.

MELVERN: 47 degrees, stained, 1.45 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 jigs and minnows are best. All other species - poor or no reports.

CLINTON: 48 degrees, dingy, 1.5 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 3/28. Walleye are on the dam spawning. Anglers are using jerkbaits, Rapala Floating-Diving Minnow, and jigs on the dam. Crappie are fair to good. Anglers have been catching more small crappie lately, using chartreuse or crème with sparkle colored jigs. Limits are being caught around the Marina.

PERRY: low to mid 40s, stained, about 10 feet high Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: about the same as last week. Things have gotten a little slower. It is still 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.

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. Bass were slow this past week. Walleye have been picked up more regularly. White bass slowed down but were the best biting fish of any. Blue cats have been slow to fair, try fresh cut shad for bait. 71 people fished in the last week.

LA CYGNE: 55 degrees, clear, full pool Outlook: Linn County Parks reports: bass fishing has been very good in the last week. Several bass over 6-pounds have been caught. Crappie have also been very good in the last week. They are starting to move up in the water column. For information on the Linn County Marina boat ramps call 913-757-6633. Join Southeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

POMONA: 43 degrees, stained, 4 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: 50 degrees, stained, 8 feet high Outlook: Two Nolan’s Outfitting reports: lake is still rising. Blue catfish are being caught drifting. 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 starting to move up, look for them suspended near points, flooded brush, and ledges on jigs and minnows. Walley are starting to move up lake as well and will concentrate 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, clear, 0.3 feet high 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 still being caught. 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): low to mid 40s, clear, about 1.5 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. Purchase a trout permit before fishing the pond.

TUTTLE CREEK: 46 degrees, stained, 38 feet high. Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: 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: upper 30s/low 40s, clear, 0.4 feet high. Outlook: Knothead’s Bait Shop reports: Some walleye are being caught at the spillway and the dam. White bass at horseshoe and towards the river have been picking up.

EL DORADO: upper 30s, stained, 0.2 feet high. Outlook: KS Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reports: last updated 4/1. Wipers are fair to good casting jig and plastics to active fish. The fish aren’t staying in one place very long so the trick is finding the fish! Shallow points or flats with deeper water nearby are good early season locations. There has been some decent white bass activity in the creeks recently on curly tailed grubs or small spinners, too. Crappie are fair and have scattered from their wintertime areas and are a little tough to catch right now. As the water temps continue to increase, the crappie will start prespawn mode and begin staging off spawning areas. Channel catfish are fair using shad sides on windblown points and stink bait in the creeks. The walleye are fair to good right now. Walleye are spawning and can be found along rocky shorelines and points lake wide. Anglers have reported decent success while fishing spawning areas during the nighttime hours.

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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