Early spring morning in Kansas wild turkey country
Here is the fishing report for lakes and reservoirs in the Kansas City area and in Kansas and Missouri for May 8, 2019. Read through to the end for Missouri spring turkey harvest figures.
BULL SHOALS: mid 60s, clear (10 feet), 9 feet high Outlook: Del Colvin Guide Service reports: water clarity is 10 feet on the main lake, but chocolate milk in the back of major creeks. No more than 1 foot of visibility there. Look for shad in pockets and runoff with warmer water. The shad spawn has started and most of the spawn action will most likely be done with the last wave this week. A tube in lizard, green pumpkin, or watermelon red colors is working. For fry guarding fish, try Senkos. If the sun is out, go deeper using ned rigs, carolina rig lizards, twin tail grubs, tubes, or shakey heads. Those are all good options dragged on points into spawning areas and bushy flats. Post spawners will most likely be out on the old shoreline or hanging around spawning areas. If there is wind, spinnerbaits and square bills will work. Wind will also help the look for rounded gravel points. Top water should improve in the next couple weeks. Poppers are working. Expect a little post spawn funk next week. Look for bream beds. Also try flipping a beaver style bait in the new bushes. Flukes and buzz baits are producing. Walleye guys have started trolling flicker shad and bottom bouncing with crawler harnesses. Vertical Spoons and drop shotting 20-28 feet on main lake and secondary points close to the main lake has been good. Below the dam: John Berry of Berry Bros. Guide Service reports: The White has fished well. Light generation and some 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 a prince nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it. Use weight to get your flies down.
TANEYCOMO: 54 degrees, clear, 15,000 C.F.S Outlook: Lilleys’ Landing reports: Table Rock Dam is now running three turbines full while one turbine is down for maintenance. So five spill gates are open one foot each to make up for the fourth turbine, equaling 15,000 c.f.s of flow. Four gates were open for about 24 hours on Monday when Table Rock’s level reached 920.3 feet, but dropped below 920 feet Tuesday morning. Taney’s water temperature is 54 degrees on the spill side, 44 degrees on the turbine side. When the extra gates were open, there was 60 degree water and a push of threadfin shad, just not as many as you’d like to see. There was also a deposit of warm water fish like white bass, walleye, and smallmouth bass. White jigs have not taken off as hoped with the spill gates open, but fishing is fairly good. Some are fishing a 1/32 oz white jig under a float 10-12 feet deep the first three miles of the lake while others are throwing 1/8th to 3/32nd ounce jigs straight on 4-pound line. Sculpin/peach jigs are doing well, too. Spoons like a silver Cleo or Boyaunt are producing as well. Work the eddies all the way down to Fall Creek using an 1/8th ounce earth color jigs like black, brown, or sculpin. Below Fall Creek, drift minnows, night crawlers, and Berkley Powerworm in pink, red or while on the bottom using drift rigs. The word is the trout are not in the creeks right now for some reason but if you’re out and want to try, you should because they really should be in there. The water isn’t going to be as fast down at the Landing so fishing down there will be easier. With this high water, watch where you’re drifting and stay mid lake. Don’t anchor in current and wear a life jacket if you’re at all uncomfortable in swift water. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.
NORFORK: 69 degrees, creeks stained, main lake clear, about 12 feet high. Outlook: Bink’s Fintastic Guide Service reports: lake is rising. 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. Topwater bite for stripers is really getting good from 6-8am.
LONGVIEW: 59 degrees, murky, high. Outlook: Longview Marina reports: crappie are being caught regularly. Quite a few are on the banks but the weather is impacting them coming in and out. The visibility in the water is very poor, less than a foot. 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: 68 degrees, clear, 10.5 feet high. Outlook: Pomme Muskie Guide Service reports: 2000 C.F.S is being released. Fishing has been poor. Clarity in the lower lake is excellent. Bass have been biting, but sporadically. Crappie have been caught shallow and deep. A lot of folks are marking them deep on electronics.
LAKE OF THE OZARKS: mid 60s degrees, stained, 4 feet low Outlook: Gier’s Bass Pro reports: crappie are on the bank on North Shore. Minnows or jigs are working. Crappie spawn has slowed down in the Gravois. The bass are on the bank in the Gravois arm. A lot of bass are being caught on jigs, lizards, and topwater.
REED AREA: 66 degrees, stained, normal pool. Outlook: Missouri Dept. of Conservation reports: crappie fishing is fair. Tube jigs and minnows near brush piles are producing the most crappie. Trout fishing has been slow with a few caught on Powerbait, inline spinners, and small jigs. Largemouth bass are fair on a variety of baits. All other species slow. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.
STOCKTON: 65 degrees, clear, 8 feet high Outlook: Tandem Fly Outfitters reports: With the water being high, fish are moving to shallow cover. Spinner bait, square bill, topwater, whacky worm and Texas rigged plastics are all producing bites. The fish will be found on main lake and secondary points. Walleye can be caught on main lake points with a 1/4-oz road runner tipped with 1/2 a night crawler. Crappie are moving into the creek arms and are in prespawn on the main lake, but starting to move into the banks. The rise in water and unstable conditions have made them inconsistent. They can be caught trolling flicker shad (white bass and walleye will be mixed in). They can also be caught casting a swimming minnow at the bank the first and last hour of light. Try that on a 1/8-oz road runner. When you find a productive area slow down and fish a 1/32 oz jig head with a Bobby Garland baby shad in gumdrop 1-3 feet below a casting cork. Stockton Guide Service reports: The walleye are hitting on jigs and crawlers in 10-12 feet of water in the creeks and up to 16 feet deep in the river channels. Concentrate on main lake points and secondary points. Crappie can be caught throwing small flicker shad (size 5) at about one and a half miles per hour. Concentrate on coves. As the fish come off the beds, they will congregate out in the middle of the coves. Bass are on the beds and are difficult to get to through all the buckbrush. Catfish have been good on main lake points hitting nightcrawlers while walleye fishing.
JACOMO: upper 50s/low 60s, stained, high Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group reports: heavy rains have moved crappie off the banks and into some deeper water. Look for them in structure 10-15 feet deep. Jigs and minnows are best. Catfish should pick up near areas with lots of water coming into the lake. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.
BLUE SPRINGS: upper 50s/low 60s, stained, high Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: heavy rains have moved crappie off the banks and into some deeper water. Look for them in structure 10-15 feet deep. Jigs and minnows are best. Continue to look for wipers to concentrate around the “blow hole” on the south end of the lake. Catfish should be patrolling areas with water coming into the lake. 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, 4 feet high. Outlook: Eric Prey of Focused Fishing Guide Service reports: some bass are still on beds and can be caught sight fishing. Most have spawned and can be caught on topwater early or swimbaits on cloudy and windy days. Try tubes, Ned rigs, and shaky heads on main lake points 8-11 feet deep when it’s sunny and calm. There are fish in the flooded bushes that can be caught on jigs and Texas rigged creature baits. Crappie have been hard to come by since the water has risen. Most are being caught on swimming minnows and crappie jigs in flat gravel pockets 6 to 10-feet deep. White bass have been schooling on main lake flats early and late in the day. top waters, swimbaits, and small rattle traps have been working when they are up feeding. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.
TRUMAN: upper 50s/low 60s, stained, 3.5 feet high. Outlook: Jeff Faulkenberry’s Endless Season Guide Service reports: 18,000 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 hasn’t been good yet. Folks using one pole are also catching fish casting and dragging or dipping trees.
SMITHVILLE: low 60s, stained, 0.5 feet high Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: the crappie are spawning right now. Jigs and minnows are the best bait. You can find them along the bank. Black bass are spawning as well but have been slow. It was a low weigh-in during the most recent tournament. White bass have been found occasionally with crappie. Walleye are being caught as well. Main lake will have the better clarity.
MOZINGO LAKE: low 60s, 1-3 feet of clarity, normal. Outlook: Fishing With Nordbye YouTube channel reports: bass are spawning up shallow in coves. Some spawned out and are moving to points. UVenkos, BD Squarebills, and Fish Hogs Tackle’s wired jigs are working well.
SHAWNEE MISSION PARK: 61 degrees, cloudy, normal Outlook: trout are good on Powerbait. Crappie and panfish are good on worms and minnows. Catfish are fair. Try nightcrawlers or chicken liver. Bass/wipers are fair on plastics. Wipers can sometimes be caught on chicken liver under a bobber.
KILL CREEK PARK: 62 degrees, cloudy, normal Outlook: trout are fair on nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Crappie and panfish are fair on worms or minnows. Bass are fair on plastics. Topwater early and late should be picking up. Catfish are fair on cut bait.
MELVERN: 59 degrees, clear (2 feet), 7.3 feet high Outlook: Melvern Lake Marina reports: crappie are 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 near structure or shoreline. Smallmouth are fair to good lakewide using shallow crankbaits along shoreline. Channel catfish are fair lakewide and at the outlet park on nightcrawlers and livers. White bass are poor to fair on crankbaits and minnows. Blue Catfish are being caught near the west end of the lake and at the docks using shad sides and entrails.
CLINTON: 54 degrees, dingy, 7 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 5/3. Anglers continue to catch some crappie from shore using jigs or minnows under a bobber or casting jigs/small spinners. Saugers are slow but being caught using jig and nightcrawlers off the Bloomington Point area. Some white bass and wipers are being caught off the dam occasionally. Channel catfish are fair to good using nightcrawlers in flowing water. Some being taken on crappie entails and cut bait. Join Northeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.
PERRY: upper 50s, stained, about 16 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 (WOLF CREEK): 79 at north end, 68 middle of lake, 86 at hot water outlet, 68 at the inlet, 67 at the dam, clear, 2 feet high Outlook: The Gatehouse reports: ramp should be usable soon but is a little sketchy right now. White bass were excellent in the last week. Smallmouth also picked up significantly. Crappie, channel cats, and wipers are all fair to good.
LA CYGNE: 75 degrees by the outlet, mid 60s on the main lake, clear, full pool Outlook: Linn County Park reports: bass fishing was decent over the weekend but got better in the afternoon. There was an 18-pound flathead 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: 61 degrees, stained, 12 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: upper 50s, stained, 12 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 5/6/19. Catifsh are fair. Channel catfish can be caught on cut bait, worms, and stink bait. Blue catfish are typically caught on fresh cut bait. Target wind blown flats for catfish. Walleye are slow to 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: 64 degrees, stained, 5 feet high and rising Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated report 4/26/19. Crappie have been really good lately. Crappie have moved shallow and lots of fish 8-10 inches being caught, but a fair amount of keepers (10 + inches) are being caught as well. Jigs and minnows are productive baits right now. Largemouth bass can be found near shallower structure right now. Target bait fish to find the bass. 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. Channel catfish can be taken on a variety of baits using prepared or live baits. Channel catfish are biting lakewide right now.
GLEN ELDER (WACONDA LAKE): 60 degrees, clear, about 1 foot high Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reports: last updated given 4/26/19. There have been several reports of crappie being caught in 2 to 6 feet of water while spawning near the shoreline. Cold fronts and shifts in wind speed and direction can move fish off the bank so pay attention to the weather. Jigs, minnows, and jigs slowly retrieved under a bobber are all good options for catching spawning crappie. Remember to measure your crappie carefully with the new 10 inch length limit. The walleye spawn is over for the year and the walleye have primarily moved west and can be caught around Gibbs Point and the Wally World area. Anglers have been catching most of the walleye in 20-25 feet of water using minnows and nightcrawlers. Black bass angling opportunities should continue to improve as the water warms into the 60’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. White bass can be caught in good numbers out here 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 have also been caught up the river channels and along the rocky banks while spawning which should continue for the next couple of weeks.
TUTTLE CREEK: 58 degrees, stained, 40 feet high. Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: KDWPT last updated report given 4/30. Most fishing has been slow due to high water. The high release rates have been moving saugeye downstream from the Reservoir, which has led to some good fishing in the river pond, the river below the dam or at Rocky Ford. Everything else has been slow.
WILSON: 62 degrees, clear, about normal. Outlook: KDWPT reports: stripers are fair with a few reports from the upper end of the lake in 6-12 feet of water. Walleye are fair. 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. White bass are fair and there haven’t been any recent reports of white bass up the river anymore. Try jigs with grubs and/or road runners on steep banks and rocky points near the upper end of the reservoir in slightly stained water. 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. Black bass are good. Soft plastics and jerkbaits have worked well along rocky shorelines and reed grass. Spinnerbaits work well when the wind is blowing.
EL DORADO: upper 50s/low 60s, stained, 3.6 feet high. Outlook: KS Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reports: last updated report given 4/24. 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. \u0009Creek activity has slowed down on white bass. Crappie are beginning to head to shoreline areas on warmer days. Bobber and jig or bobber and minnow are good choices. A few fish are being caught in the creeks dipping jigs next to cover. 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. Windblown points and shorelines early and late in the day using crankbaits has produced some walleye. A few fish are being caught on jig and crawler on deeper sides of flats.
Turkey harvest totals for Spring 2019
MDC reports: “Preliminary data from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) shows that turkey hunters checked 36,231 birds during Missouri’s 2019 regular spring turkey season, April 15 through May 5. Top harvest counties were Franklin with 785 birds checked, Texas with 729, and Callaway with 672.
“Young turkey hunters harvested 2,546 birds during the 2019 spring youth season, April 6-7, bringing the overall 2019 spring turkey harvest to 38,777.
“Last year, young turkey hunters harvested 1,729 birds during the spring youth season and hunters harvested 34,072 during the regular spring season for a 2018 spring season total harvest of 35,801 birds.”
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.