Fishing report: Flooding rains continue to put damper on area fishing opportunities

Paul Wrabec, local car wash owner, jokingly put his boat in the water to fish at the flooded out intersection near U.S. Highway 24 in Independence.
Paul Wrabec, local car wash owner, jokingly put his boat in the water to fish at the flooded out intersection near U.S. Highway 24 in Independence. Submitted photo

Here is the fishing report for lakes and reservoirs in the Kansas City area and in Kansas and Missouri for May 22, 2019.


BULL SHOALS: mid 60s, clear (15 feet), 18 feet high Outlook: Del Colvin Guide Service reports: water clarity on the main lake is very clear, but there is color in the back of major creeks. 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 on the old shoreline. 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. Buzz baits and ploppers are starting to work. Use walk the dog style baits on open water and poppers on isolated cover. 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. No wadable water. The hot spot has been Wildcat 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: water generation is expected for a long time. Four full turbines are running, but one is still offline so officials are releasing 5,000 c.f.s. over the spill gates. That’s making trout fishing very rewarding. The water coming over the top is about 60 degrees, and the water running through the turbines is about 44 degrees. Trout like the warmer water as well as the bugs in Lake Taneycomo. There are big midge hatches every day, and the fish are absolutely full of scuds (freshwater shrimp.) Some threadfin shad are coming over the dam as well. Fishing is good out of boats but not so good from the bank or docks. The water is high and fast and it’s tough to get a good presentation to the fish from a stationary position. One needs to be out drifting to have a chance to catch anything right now. Folks have been doing exceptionally well drifting scuds close to the bottom between the dam all the way down to Short Creek, but the trout are not liking them below Short Creek. From Fall Creek down, anglers are finding finding some really nice-sized rainbows, up to 18 inches long. Stay in the middle of the lake, not on the bluff side when drifting and use a #4 split shot, either on line up from the scud or replace the bell weight on a drift rig, assuming you’re using four-pound line. You may not feel the bottom, but this arrangement will keep your flies from gathering algae from the bottom and gumming up your chances of catching a fish. Use a #12, #10 or even a #8 scud. Gray is working well, but also try an olive or tan scud. Use a scud that has some ultraviolet flash tied in for when the day turns sunny. From the dam down, use a #5 split shot. It’s a little heavier than a #4, and you’ll need it to keep close to the bottom. Be patient. Let your offering get to the bottom gradually. The takes are subtle but sure. Jigs have been good lately. White is producing but only up close to the cable below the dam. Try brown, black, or sculpin when drifting past the first island below the dam. 3/32nd oz jigs have been good on 4-pound line. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

NORFORK: 72 degrees, creeks stained, main lake clear, about 14 feet high and rising. Outlook: Bink’s Fintastic Guide Service reports: the night bite for stripers is over and the top water bite is coming to an end. The water is warming up. Stripers are moving to the main lake at 40 feet.

LONGVIEW: 70 degrees, stained, high. Outlook: Longview Marina reports: all fishing has been slow. Water was clear before the rain came through. 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, 21 feet high and rising Outlook: Pomme Muskie Guide Service reports: 50 C.F.S is being released. Same as last week. Fishing has been poor. Clarity in the lower lake is excellent. Bass have been biting, but sporadically. You can find them along the shorelines. Crappie have been caught shallow and deep.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS: mid 60s degrees, stained, 2 feet low Outlook: Gier’s Bass Pro reports: crappie are moving off the banks. Minnows or jigs are still working where you can find them. 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: largemouth bass good on chatterbaits and top water. Bluegill are fair on small jigs. Channel catfish are fair on prepared baits. All other species slow. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

STOCKTON: 71 degrees, clear, 11 feet high and rising Outlook: Tandem Fly Outfitters reports: with the water being high, fish are moving to shallow cover. Spinner bait, square bill, topwater, wacky 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 ¼ oz road runner tipped with 1/2 a night crawler. Crappie can be caught trolling flicker shad (white bass and walleye will be mixed in). They can also be caught casting a swimming minnow on a ⅛ oz road runner head. Stockton Guide Service reports: catfish are and will be excellent as long as the water is flowing into the lake, but that will be over in the next day or so. Walleye have been pretty good even with the high water, but they really showed down the last couple of days. With the water as high as it is, a lot of fish are in the brush and extremely difficult to get to. Best bet is to use jig and crawlers in 12 to 17 feet of water. Crappie are suspended 15 feet down in 25 to 50 feet of water. Bandits and flicker shad trolled in coves have been doing decent, but again, it slowed down over the past couple of days. Bass are in 8 feet of water in the flooded brush. Pitch jigs up there and hope you get a big fish instead of a tree.

JACOMO: mid to upper 60s, clear main lake, dirty in some coves, high Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group reports: ramp docks were underwater on Tuesday. Bass are slow but can be found in the backs of coves on rocky banks. Topwater was productive before the storm. Crappie are scattered and hard to find. 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. There will be Kayak Demo Days sponsored by Sportsman’s Outfitter & Marine and Jackson Kayak on Saturday, June 15th from 12-4pm where you can test out and learn how to safely operate sporting and fishing styles of kayaks for free. There will also be a kayak tournament that day put on by Mo-Kan Kayak Fishing Series from 2pm to dusk. More details can be found online. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

BLUE SPRINGS: mid to upper 60s, stained, high Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: crappie are scattered and hard to find. 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. Folks have been finding them from the bank as well where Jacomo flows into Blue Springs. 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), clear to muddy in rivers, 1 foot high and rising. Outlook: Eric Prey of Focused Fishing Guide Service reports: Bass 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: low to mid 60s, stained, 21 feet high. Outlook: Jeff Faulkenberry’s Endless Season Guide Service reports: A lot of marinas have closed due to high water but should be operating by the next week. Fish are really scattered. Spider rigging has been working best 15 feet down in 25 feet of water. Catfish were easier to find in the last week.

SMITHVILLE: mid to upper 60s, stained on main lake, rivers muddy, about 3 feet high Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: crappie spawn is pretty much over. The ones that are still spawning are hard to find with the muddy water. Quite a few white bass are being caught under the bridges. Black bass fishing has been very poor. Catfish have been very good on nightcrawlers anywhere the water is flowing into the lake.

MOZINGO LAKE: mid 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 Hog Tackle’s wired jigs are working well. Crappie are spawning up shallow in coves. UV Crappie Jigs as well as minnows are working well. Bluegill are biting good. Tube jigs or night crawlers working well up shallow in coves.


SHAWNEE MISSION PARK: 66 degrees, cloudy, high Outlook: trout are fair on Powerbait. Crappie and panfish are good on worms and minnows. Catfish are fair on minnows. Try nightcrawlers or chicken liver too. Bass/wipers are fair on plastics. Wipers can sometimes be caught on chicken liver under a bobber.

KILL CREEK PARK: 65 degrees, cloudy, normal Outlook: trout are fair on nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Crappie and panfish are good on worms or minnows. Bass are fair on plastics. Topwater baits early and late are also good. Catfish are fair on cut bait.

WYANDOTTE: low to mid 60s, clear, high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 5/10/19. Largemouth are good. Finesse baits targeting underwater vegetation is producing the most fish right now. Rainbow trout are good on worms, powerbait, and small spoons. Smallmouth are fair and can be caught targeting rocky bottoms with crankbaits, jigs, and swimbaits. Black crappie are fair if you target deeper structure with minnows and jigs.

MELVERN: 62 degrees, stained, 13.7 feet high Outlook: Melvern Lake Marina reports: crappie are poor. White bass have been poor to fair on crankbaits and minnows. Channel cats are fair lakewide and at the outlet park on nightcrawlers and livers. Blue catfish are poor to fair, catching a few at the west end of the lake and at the docks on shad sides and entrails.

CLINTON: 66 degrees, dingy, 11.5 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 5/20. All boat ramps in the State and Corps Parks are closed due to high water. Crappie are slow. Try jigs and minnows in 5-15 feet of water. Channel catfish are good using nightcrawlers in flowing water. Some action on cut bait.

PERRY: mid 60s, stained, about 23 feet high Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: all the boat ramps are closed so there hasn’t been much fishing. Catfish have been very good where water is flowing into the lake. Lake is expected to go up even higher.

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, high Outlook: KDWPT report last updated 5/9: Entrance gate phone number is 620-364-2475. Be sure to call ahead for lake conditions. White bass and wipers have been good. Use shad imitation lures like small spinners, crankbaits or bucktail jigs. and look for schools of shad or focus on wind blown flats or points. They were up shallow on points and riprap in good numbers. Smallmouth have been fair on crankbaits, swimbaits, and finesse plastics around rocky habitat. The bite is starting to pick up and fish should be moving in to the spawning grounds. Walleye are fair. Fishing around the flats and humps should be most productive either dragging a jig and crawler or trolling cranks. Don’t be afraid to look shallow with crankbaits.

LA CYGNE: 75 degrees by the outlet, mid 60s on the main lake, clear, full pool Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 5/17/19. The water level is very full and has flooded lots of weedbeds that are full of crappie, channel catfish and bass. Bass are good. Fish the rip rap areas, use cranks, plastic worms, lizards, spinner baits, or shad imitation baits. Bass over 10 pounds have been caught recently. White bass have been good to excellent at the hot water outlet. Use shad imitations or silver spoons. Most of the fish caught at the hot water outlet have been in the 1 to 2 pound range. Crappie are fair but picking up. Some have been caught off of marina coves and along the dam. There are a good numbers of fish 10- 12 inches long. Best lures to use are jigs/ minnows near structure. At the dam, bounce jigs off the outlet wall, but don’t go over the restrictive cable. Try any of the brush piles or Georgia cubes placed for fish habitat. There are some close to the marina shoreline. For information on the Linn County Marina boat ramps, call 913-757-6633. Good shoreline angler access is provided by the Linn County Park on the west side of the lake. Join Southeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

POMONA: 66 degrees, stained, 20 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 5/17/19. Most fishing is slow recently. 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, 21 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 5/21/19. Catfish 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 slow to 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 are slow on jigs.

HILLSDALE: 61 degrees, stained, 9.8 feet high and rising Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated report 5/17/19. All fishing has been fair. Catch of crappie has slowed slightly with the high water, but some are still being found. Crappie are still shallow so target shallow brush, vegetation edges, and upper creek arms. Most crappie being caught right now are 8-10 inches, but keepers greater than 10 inches are still being found. Jigs and minnows are productive baits right now. Largemouth bass can be found near shallower structure right now. Plastic baits and topwater baits near shoreline vegetation are producing the most fish. Target white bass off wind blown points. Jigs and shad imitation lures are the best baits 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): 71 degrees, clear, about 3 feet high Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reports: last updated given 5/16/19. 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. There have also been decent numbers of fish caught over the grate and in the outlet below the dam. Remember to measure your crappie carefully with the new 10 inch length limit. Anglers have been catching good numbers of walleye around the Cawker City Causeway, the flats south of the golf course, and off the state park points. Most fish are coming from 10-15 feet of water using jigs and worms or jigs and minnows. White bass are biting very well and 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 have also been caught up the river channels and along the rocky banks while spawning which should continue for the next couple of weeks. Black bass are good. 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.

TUTTLE CREEK: 58 degrees, stained, 50 feet high. Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: KDWPT last updated report given 5/21. 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, 3 feet high. Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 5/21/19. All boat ramps are usable. Black bass are good on soft plastics and jerkbaits along rocky shorelines and reed grass. Spinnerbaits work well when the wind is blowing. There has been recent reports of keeper Blue Catfish being caught throughout the reservoir. Try points in Hell Creek and shoreline habitat near West Minooka and Elm Creek. Use fresh cut bait. Stripers are fair with a few reports coming near the bluffs on the upper end and the river channel near Duvall. Try spoons and jigs/road runners in 12-20 feet of water. There are reports of big walleye being caught off points and flats from Duvall to Rock Town on the north shore.Try jigs and swimbaits in the early morning and late evening.

EL DORADO: mid 60s, stained, 8 feet high. Outlook: KS Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reports: last updated report given 5/17. Ramp Update (as of 5/17) - due to high water, all but one of the lake’s boat ramps are unusable. The Shady Creek Area 1 Boat Ramp is the only functioning ramp. The courtesy dock is flooded. Use extreme caution and be on the lookout for floating debris if you take a boat out on the water. No reports on anything since the flood other than for catfish. Both blue cats and channel catfish are being caught in the creeks and other areas with current. Worms have been productive as well as fresh cut bait for blues. There is a 25 to 35 inch protective slot limit on blue catfish and a 5/day creel with no more than 2 blue catfish over 35 inches.

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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