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Fishing report: Spring! Morels are popping, turkeys are gobbling, crappie are biting

Morel mushroom hunting in Missouri

Here are some helpful tips for hunting morel mushrooms in Missouri.
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Here are some helpful tips for hunting morel mushrooms in Missouri.

Here is the fishing report for the Kansas City area and lakes and wildlife areas in Kansas and Missouri for the week of April 24, 2019.

Missouri

BULL SHOALS: mid 60s, clear (15-20 feet), high Outlook: Del Colvin Guide Service reports: Look for shad in pockets and runoff with warmer water nearby. Bass have moved up. Try a tube in lizard, green pumpkin, or watermelon red colors. Senkos, ned rigs, carolina rig lizzard, twin tail grub, tubes, and shakey heads are all good options dragged on points leading into spawning areas and bushy flats. If we have wind, spinnerbaits and square bills will work. Wind will also help the look for rounded gravel points. Smallmouth and Kentucky black bass are spawning. A jig in green pumpkin color should work for them pre and post spawn. Top water should improve in the next couple weeks. Below the dam: John Berry of Berry Bros. Guide Service reports: The White has fished well. Minimal generation and no wadable water. 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 an egg pattern (#12) with a prince nymph (#14) 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: it’s been tough for most of the main lake anglers. 1/32nd ounce black/olive jigs and darker patterns on 2-pound line has been productive on inside banks with slower current and in the main channel. The idea of a small jig is that in these conditions, the jig isn’t sinking very fast. The fast, jerky action of the jig must bring them out of the deep and the dead drop triggers the strike. The water is clear enough you can see the flash of the fish, slashing at the lure. The other hot spots have been the warm water feeder creeks. These creeks, namely Turkey, Coon and Roark, have a lot of rainbows in them. Try either a jig or a Berkley pink worm under a float only 2-3 feet deep is catching them. Some folks have been catching bigger rainbows and a few browns while drifting up below the dam with a variety of flies under an indicator. You can try a tandem which consists of a scud, zebra midge, egg fly and a San Juan worm. Numbers are low but the quality of trout they’re getting makes the trip up worth it. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

NORFORK: 66 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. A topwater bite has started in the mornings at 6am for both bass, stripers, and hybrids.

LONGVIEW: 58 degrees, clear (30-inches), a little low. Outlook: Longview Marina reports: an 8.5 pound bass was caught in the last week. Bass have been very good overall in the last week. Crappie are biting very well around the dock. On the main lake you have to move around a lot to find them but they should be staging soon. Fishing is available from the marina Monday-Friday. Fishing hours are 7am-5:00pm. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

POMME DE TERRE: 60 degrees, clear, 2 feet high. Outlook: Pomme Muskie Guide Service reports: 50 C.F.S is being released. The crappie are up on the shore. Water clarity has improved dramatically overall. Bass are also picking up. Whites are still being caught. All other species are slow.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS: 63 degrees, clear, 3.5 feet low Outlook: Gier’s Bass Pro reports: crappie are up on the banks. Jigs and minnows are both working. Bass are staging in shallow brush. Both bass and crappie have been great in the Gravois arm and Indian Creek. For bass, lizards and topwater have been productive.

REED AREA: 66 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. Largemouth bass and crappie are fair on a variety of baits. Target crappie with jigs and minnows. All other species are slow. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

STOCKTON: 59 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, spinner bait, 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, spinnerbait, or rock crawler. You can substitute a shakey head if you’re having a tough bite on the football jig. Walleye can be caught on main lake points with a ¼ oz road runner tipped with half of a nightcrawler. Crappie are on main lake brush. White bass and crappie are being caught up the tributaries with water temps in the low 60s, but the water still has some color to it. Fish are moving into the banks. Fish can be caught on ⅛ oz roadrunner head and swimming minnow body. Once you locate a higher concentration of fish, cast a 1/32 oz jig head with a gum drop Bobby garland baby shad 1-3 feet below a casting cork. Best bite is first thing in the morning or right at last light. Stockton Lake Guide Service reports: Crappie are hit and miss. Some are still 20 feet down in brush, some are in the shallow brush spawning. Walleye are fair on worms on main lake points, should start getting really good in next couple weeks. Bass are hitting rogues on main lake, and jigs and plastic in the river arms.

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. Smaller males are moving in shallow and bigger fish are still a little deeper. Some big ones have been caught around the marina and other docks. Minnows have been most productive. Bass are fair on jerkbaits and jigs. A little wind will help the crankbait bite. Look for wood laydowns in the water when you target the largemouth. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

BLUE SPRINGS: upper 50s/low 60s, clear, a little high Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: Crappie are being found in 12 feet of water in staging areas leading into spawning grounds. Look for them to be moving to the banks soon. White bass and wipers have been slow lately. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

TABLE ROCK: 63 degrees, clear on main lake (7 feet), slight stain in rivers, 0.5 feet high. Outlook: Eric Prey of Focused Fishing Guide Service reports: Bass are moving to spawning pockets, some on beds but a few are locked on points near spawning pockets. Fish with tubes, Ned rigs and swimbaits. Cruising males are in the spawning pockets and can be caught on weightless senkos, floating worms, and flukes. Crappie are moving toward gravel banks and pockets to spawn. White marabou jigs, swimming minnows, and baby shad baits are doing well. White bass are slowing down but can still be caught up the rivers on swimbaits and swimming minnows near spawning flats. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

TRUMAN: upper 50s/low 60s, stained, 7.3 feet high. Outlook: Richard Bowling Guide Service reports: 29,000 C.F.S released from the dam. Spider rigging in the creeks in 15 feet of water and more fishing 14 feet down has been good for crappie. Try using double minnow rigs and fish the back half of the creeks. Keep on the move and move slowly. The bank bite should start any day.

SMITHVILLE: 58 degrees, stained, two feet low Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: crappie are being caught lakewide. The evening bite has been better. Above W bridge and up in the arms has been more productive. Jigs and minnows are your go-to baits. White bass are being picked up along with crappie. Black bass are fair, but the quality has been very good. They are feeding up and moving into spawning mode soon.

MOZINGO LAKE: upper 50s, 1-3 feet of clarity, normal. Outlook: Fishing With Nordbye YouTube channel reports: Bass are good and moving back in coves to prepare to spawn. Jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, plastics, and crankbaits are working well. Crappie are moving back in coves. They are hanging in channels and on trees until they move up to spawn. Join Northwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

Kansas

SHAWNEE MISSION PARK: 61 degrees, clear, normal Outlook: Trout are good on minnows. Crappie and panfish are good on worms and minnows. Catfish are fair. Try nightcrawlers or chicken liver. Bass/wipers are fair on plastics.

KILL CREEK PARK: 61 degrees, cloudy, normal Outlook: trout are good on nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Crappie and panfish are fair on worms or grub style baits. Bass are fair on spinners. Catfish are good on cut bait.

MELVERN: 59 degrees, clear (2 feet), 1.65 feet high Outlook: Melvern Lake Marina reports: crappie are poor to fair with a lot of small fish (8-9.5 inches) being caught. More keepers above 10-inches are being caught in and around established brush piles and at the Marina docks. Small jigs and minnows are best. Smallmouth are fair lakewide using shallow crankbaits along shoreline. Channel catfish are fair lakewide and at the outlet park on nightcrawlers and livers. Blue Catfish are being caught near the west end of the lake using shad sides and entrails.

CLINTON: 58 degrees, dingy, 2 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 4/18. Anglers have caught crappie from shore this week using jigs or minnows about 2.5 to 3 feet under a bobber. Join Northeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

PERRY: upper 50s/low 60s, stained, about 12 feet high Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: not a lot of great reports in the last week. All species are fair. Access points for fishing from the bank are limited due to the flooding. The boat ramps are mostly underwater except for the one in Slough Creek. Anglers are also using the ramp at DJ’s Marina.

COFFEY COUNTY: 65 at north end, 74 at hot water outlet, 55 at the inlet, 53 at the dam, clear, full pool Outlook: The Gatehouse reports: Ramp is usable. Largemouth and smallmouth picked up in the last week. White bass were the best biting fish. A good number of channels were caught in the last week.

LA CYGNE: 55 degrees, clear, full pool Outlook: Linn County Parks reports: bass fishing slowed down in the last week. Crappie continue to bite well. They are starting to move up in the water column. Blue catfish have been found recently, too. For information on the Linn County Marina boat ramps call 913-757-6633. Join Southeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

POMONA: 63 degrees, stained, 3 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 4/23. Anglers have really caught some fish at the outlet because of the high water releases. Overall, the crappie population is good with a few older fish that are in the 12 to 14-inch range and a lot of younger fish up to 11-inches. Nicer fish are being caught around the rock quarry and along Dragoon. Best baits are dark jigs and/or minnows. For catfish, use worms, dip baits, sunfish entrails, cut shad, or stink/prepared baits. The fish feeders are off. The outlet can be very good when releasing larger amounts of water.

MILFORD: 52 degrees, stained, 11 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: Walleye are fair and can be found targeting rocky or wind-swept mud banks with jigs, crankbaits, or bottom bouncers. Crappie are fair. Look for them 10-20 feet deep suspended near points, flooded brush, and ledges on jigs and minnows. At the outlet, catfish are fair on cut bait; walleye, white bass, and wipers on fair jigs. Fishing can be slower due to low releases from the dam.

HILLSDALE: 52 degrees, clear, 1 foot high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated report 4/17/19. Crappie fishing is starting to heat up and fish are starting to move shallower. Keepers (10 + inches) are being caught frequently. Jigs and minnows are productive baits right now. Target white bass off wind blown points. Jigs and shad imitation lures are the best baits right now. The walleye spawn is pretty much over, but some fish are being found on shallow rocky points and adjacent mud flats. Crankbaits and jigs are the most productive lures right now.

GLEN ELDER (WACONDA LAKE): 55 degrees, clear, about 0.5 feet high Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reports: last updated given 4/18/19. 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. The walleye spawn is about done and there are just a few fish being caught shallow 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, but catch rates are dropping. There are also high numbers of short males that need to be handled carefully and immediately returned to the water when caught. Walleye typically move west following the spawn and can be caught around Gibbs Point and the Wally World area. Bass are biting well. Angling opportunities should continue to improve as the water warms through the 50’s. Smallies can be caught along the dam and north shore around the state park area, as well as the south bluffs. Largemouth bass numbers are best in the back end of Walnut Creek, Granite Creek, Mill Creek, and Mealls Cove. Jig and Pig, white spinnerbaits, and Ned Rigs are all good options for early spring bass. Channel catfish are good. Anglers have been using shad sides, shad gizzards, shrimp, and stink baits to catch mostly channel cats with a few small blue catfish missed in. Best areas to try now include Carr Creek, Oak Creek, Fisherman’s Bridge, Boller Point, Cawker City dike, and Granite Creek. Anglers have been catching good numbers of trout using cheese, Powerbait, minnows, and worms. White bass can be caught in good numbers throughout the spring 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 begin moving up the river channels and migrate toward the rocky banks to spawn in the next couple of weeks.

TUTTLE CREEK: 52 degrees, stained, 41 feet high. Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: KDWPT last updated report given 4/11. 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. 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: 59 degrees, clear, about normal. Outlook: KDWPT reports: Walleye are finished spawning and reports of anglers catching them along the dam have diminished. Try jerkbaits, swimbaits, and jigs with a slow presentation at dawn, dusk, and throughout the night along rocky points and shallow flats adjacent to reed grass beds. The shallow flat east of Minooka point and the flats near Elm Creek might also start producing walleye as the water warms. Keeper blue catfish have been caught throughout the reservoir. Try points in Hell Creek and shoreline habitat near West Minooka and Elm Creek. Use fresh cut bait. The white bass are running up the river, but there doesn’t seem to be really high numbers at this point. Try jigs with grubs and/or road runners. Black bass are good. Try medium-diving crankbaits and finesse soft baits with a slow presentation throughout the reservoir. Texas-rigged soft plastics work well in the upper end of the reservoir but reaction-type baits (jerk baits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits) seem to work best for smallmouth in the lower end.

EL DORADO: low to mid 50s, stained, 0.3 feet high. Outlook: KS Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reports: last updated report given 4/15. Anglers reporting fair to good success this week on wipers 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. \u0009There has been some decent white bass activity in the creeks recently on curly tailed grubs or small spinners. Crappie 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. Shad sides on windblown points and stink bait in the creeks have been producing channel catfish. The walleye spawn is winding down, but some shallow fish continue to be caught. Spawning walleye can be found along rocky shorelines and points lake wide. Anglers have reported fair 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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