Fishing report: Large fish are being found on big lakes and small around the region

Ashley Summers had the catch of a lifetime recently at James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Conservation Area. She landed this 7-pound, 12-ounce largemouth bass on a white chatterbait.
Ashley Summers had the catch of a lifetime recently at James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Conservation Area. She landed this 7-pound, 12-ounce largemouth bass on a white chatterbait. Special to The Star

Here is the fishing report for the Kansas City area and lakes and wildlife areas in Kansas and Missouri for the week of April 10, 2019.


BULL SHOALS: mid to upper 50s, 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. Heavy generation and 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, 6,500 C.F.S out of Table Rock Dam Outlook: Lilleys’ Landing reports: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened four spill gates last Monday and left those gates opened 1 foot each for one week, exactly. A good number of threadfin shad came into Taneycomo from Table Rock through the spill gates and now the trout are looking for about anything that looks like a threadfin - white jigs, white hard baits, white flies. Even spoons and spinners will work. These fish can be aggressive in their feeding, especially the bigger browns and rainbows that are used to eating bigger meals - like other trout and forage fish. So wake baits and larger jerk baits seem to be the ticket if you’re fishing for trophies. With 2 units running, you can easily boat up to the dam, just stay in the middle of the lake. Try using 3/32nd to 1/16th ounce white jigs, throwing them straight with no float and smaller 1/32nd ounce jigs under a float 4-7 feet deep. Switch out the color if they’re not taking white and try sculpin, sculpin/ginger, black/olive or white/gray. Those who are throwing big jerk baits are throwing a Megabass 110+ in shad colors. Suspending baits seemed to work better than floating or sinking. This is the time of year there is a lot of green moss on the bottom of the lake so drifting anything on the bottom is hampered by the green stuff. But that’s not to say you can’t catch trout on drifting a gray or olive scud, egg fly, San Juan Worm or a shad fly on the bottom. Use very little weight and no weighted flies if possible. Better yet, use a float and fish any of these flies under it 4 to 8 feet deep. Below Fall Creek, night crawlers are doing about the best along with minnows. White jigs are also pretty hot, even past Lilley’s and Cooper Creek. Guides are back to using the pink and red Berkley’s PowerWorm under a float 8-10 feet deep. The best area is from Monkey Island down past the Landing. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

NORFORK: 64 degrees, creeks stained, main lake clear, about 1 foot high. Outlook: Bink’s Fintastic Guide Service reports: Stripers, hybrids, and white bass are all back in the creeks and feeding on the ½ oz Bink’s white jigging spoon. Stripers have been very good at night on a stick baits.

LONGVIEW: 50 degrees, stained (12-15 inch clarity), about normal. Outlook: Longview Marina reports: crappie have been very good around the marina on jigs and minnows between 10-15 feet. Some good sizes have been caught as well. Walleye have completely shut down with the warm weather. Spawn is considered finished. 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: mid to upper 50s, clear, 5.5 feet high. Outlook: Pomme Muskie Guide Service reports: 500 C.F.S expected to be released starting Thursday. Lake has varying degrees of clarity. Crappie have been biting well on jigs and minnows over brush piles. White bass have been biting in the back of coves. Largemouth have been fair. All other species - slow or no reports.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS: 54 degrees, clear, 5 feet low Outlook: Gier’s Bass Pro reports: in the afternoons, the bass and crappie have been moving up in the backs of coves and pockets. Topwater for the bass has been productive. Crappie are hitting jigs or minnows and some guys are still getting them using a jig and bobber.

REED AREA: 54 degrees, clear, normal pool. Outlook: Missouri Dept. of Conservation reports: trout fishing is fair on Powerbait, flies, inline spinners, and small jigs on windy banks. Channel catfish are fair on minnows and cut bait. Largemouth bass good on a variety of baits. Crappie are good on small jigs around brush. A few wipers have been picked up in Coot in the last week. All other species slow. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

STOCKTON: 55 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, jig and shakey head. 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 a jerkbait or rock crawler. You can substitute a shakey head if you’re having a tough bite on the football jig. Walleye spawn is wrapping up on the main lake and fish are much harder to find in numbers. Crappie are moving in to main lake brush but still not seeing strong numbers. White bass and crappie are being caught up the tributaries with water temps in the upper 50s, but water is stained. You can catch fish moving in to the banks. Chartreuse and white are great color options with the water color.

JACOMO: upper 50s/low 60s, 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. Bass are fair on jerkbaits and jigs. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

BLUE SPRINGS: mid to upper 50s, 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: 54 degrees, clear on main lake (7 feet), stained in rivers, 0.5 feet high. Outlook: Eric Prey of Focused Fishing Guide Service reports: bass are staging on points near spawning coves. Swimbaits, tubes, jigs and Ned rigs have all been working. Crappie are staged in trees near spawning pockets and flats. Jigs, crappie tubes and swimming minnows are all effective. The white bass spawn is in full swing up the rivers. Rooster tails, grubs and swimbaits are all working on spawning flats. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

TRUMAN: 53 degrees, stained, 13.3 feet high. Outlook: Richard Bowling Guide Service reports: discharge is 26,000 C.F.S. as of Monday. Crappie are being caught in the creeks in 15 feet of water and more fishing 11 feet down. Spider rigging and two pole trolling is working with minnows. Early and late bite is the best. Catfishing has been tough recently.

SMITHVILLE: 50 degrees, slightly stained, a foot high Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: crappie have been fairly slow lately. There is lots of water being let out right now, which slows things down. White bass are biting well up in the Little Platte River arm. Catfish have been biting well on shad sides and chicken liver. Walleye have still been along the dam in strong numbers. Look for them at night.

MOZINGO LAKE: upper 40s, 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: 57 degrees, clear, normal Outlook: Trout are good on Powerbait or dough bait. Crappie and panfish are fair on minnows. Catfish are poor. Try nightcrawlers or chicken liver. Bass/wipers are fair on plastics.

KILL CREEK PARK: 57 degrees, cloudy, normal Outlook: trout are good on nightcrawlers. Trout are good on salmon egg imitation baits. Crappie and panfish are good on worms. Bass are fair on plastic worms. Catfish are poor.

MELVERN: 50 degrees, stained, 2 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. Blue catfish have been found recently near the west end of the lake using shad sides and entrails. All other species - poor or no reports.

CLINTON: 48 degrees, dingy, a little high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 4/4. Crappie have slowed down in the past week. Walleye are fair on the dam spawning. Anglers are using jerkbaits, Rapala Floating-Diving Minnow, and jigs on the dam.

PERRY: mid 50s, stained, about 10 feet high Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: there was a catfish and bass tournament over the weekend. It was tough for most anglers, but there were several blue cats caught over 35-inches and some channels caught that were pushing 15-pounds. Crappie are still pretty scattered and have been slow recently. More males are being caught starting to stage up shallow. The best place to look for crappie are in the creek channels. The boat ramps are mostly underwater except for the one in Rock Creek. Anglers are also using the ramp at DJ’s Marina.

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.

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

POMONA: 51 degrees, stained, 4.8 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: all species are slow overall. Some nice crappie are occasionally being caught around the rock quarry and along Dragoon. Best baits are dark jigs and/or minnows. Recent sampling indicates there are good numbers of larger crappie around the 11-inch or bigger range. Walleye can be found along the dam or along deeper steep banks on crankbaits or jigs tipped with nightcrawlers. For white bass/wipers, use minnows/live baits, cut bait. Sometimes for wipers you can use liver and shad imitation lures.

MILFORD: 51 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: 47 degrees, clear, 0.7 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated report 4/3/19. Walleye are in full spawn mode. Some success has been reported fishing the dam but targeting adjacent mud flats and banks can bring success too. Crankbaits and jigs are the most productive lures right now. Crappie fishing at the marina docks has picked up recently. Keepers (10 + inches) are being caught frequently. Target brush piles and structure in 20 feet of water. Jigs and smaller ice spoons are productive baits right now. Target white bass off wind blown points. Jigs and shad imitation lures are the best baits right now. Largemouth bass should be transitioning to deeper structure right now. Target baitfish to find the bass. Join Northeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

GLEN ELDER (WACONDA LAKE): upper 40s, clear, about 1.1 feet high Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reports: last updated given 4/4/19. Crappie are fair. There have been some crappie caught on the lower half of the reservoir along the river channel in 20 to 25 feet of water. A variety of small jigs are working best with chartreuse and black being the best colors recently. The fish will remain on the river channel and around brush piles until the water warms into the 60’s and thee fish move into spawn. Walleye are fair to good. Walleye are spawning now along the dam and the Cawker City causeway. Anglers have been having fair to good success catching legal walleye after dark using jigs and floating rapalas. There are also high numbers of short males that need to be handled carefully and immediately returned to the water when caught. 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 begin moving up the river channels and migrate toward the rocky banks to spawn in the next couple of weeks. Trout are good to excellent. 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. Make sure to purchase a trout permit before fishing the pond.

TUTTLE CREEK: 49 degrees, stained, 40 feet high. Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: KDWPT last updated report given 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 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: mid to upper 40s, stained, 0.3 feet high. Outlook: KS Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reports: last updated report given 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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