Catching monster fish in Kansas
Here is the fishing report for lakes and reservoirs in the Kansas City area and regionally around Kansas and Missouri for July 17, 2019.
BULL SHOALS: 86 degrees, clear (15 feet), 29 feet high. Outlook: Del Colvin Guide Service reports: tough fishing lately. Water clarity on the main lake is clear, but there is color in the back of major creeks, especially after a rain. Look for shad in pockets and points. The shad are suspending in about 15-20 feet off main lake and secondary points. With no current bite has been green pumpkin, jig or watermelon red colors on the old shoreline. Keep boat in 30-35 feet. If the sun is out, go deep using jigs, twin tail grubs, tubes, shakey heads, or drop shot. Those are all good options dragged on points and secondary points either jig beaver or big worm Texas rigged. Jewel Gem Shad swimbait will move through those bushes well and catch those suspended fish. Summer patterns will most likely be out on the old shoreline points, islands, or humps hanging around bait fish. If there is wind, powerfishing will work if there’s a front moving in. Wind will also help the look for long points with a channel swing nearby. Topwater like spooks, gunfight sammy redfin ploppers, and poppers and are working. Use walk the dog style baits on open water and poppers onb isolated cover. Walleye guys are trolling and doing fair. Suspending fish are tough so be sure to get out early to beat the crowds and the heat. Below the dam: John Berry of Berry Bros. Guide Service reports: The White has fished very well. Heavy generation and no wadable water in last week. The hot spot has been the 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 pheasant tail nymph (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it. Use weight to get your flies down.
TANEYCOMO: 45 degrees, clear, light generation in mornings, moderate to heavy generation in afternoons. Outlook: Lilleys’ Landing reports: Dam operators are running four full units every afternoon and into the evening, probably because of the heat (creating power demands.) Powersite Dam is still broken. The baffled gates across the top of the spillway part of the dam are in the down position, causing Taneycomo’s “normal” level to be about four feet lower. Boating past Trout Hollow Resort is very tricky. Most anglers are dropping the trolling motor and running up to Short Creek where there’s deep water on the channel side. Going from there to almost Fall Creek Marina is still not easy. There are several stumps and trees in the channel that come into play. Boating past Fall Creek’s bar is another trolling motor ride. Folks are catching good rainbows on a Turner half micro jig under a float. He said olive is the color, with an olive head. Use two-pound line and set the float according to the depth of water you’re fishing. Fish it about a foot off the bottom. The pink or orange PowerWorm on a jig head under a float is also producing using two-pound line and at the same varying depth. You really have to watch the float and be quick on the set. Throwing small jigs straight-line is working pretty well, too, using two-pound line and 1/32- to 1/16th-ounce jigs worked in the deeper, channel water from the Landing up to Fall Creek. If you can get above Fall Creek, that technique works up there, too. Use darker colors over lighter colors. Try sculpin, brown, sculpin/ginger, brown/burnt orange. When the water starts, drift a #12 or #14 scud using a drift rig on four-pound line, from the dam down to Short Creek. Stay in the middle to the inside bend. Your weight should be on the lighter side, and you should check your flies for moss every 100-200 yards. I’ve been doing okay using different shades of gray, olive and brown scuds. White jigs from the cable down to the boat ramp are still catching trout, but that has tapered off quite a bit since the spill gates were closed. Use 3/32nd-ounce jigs even with four units on four-pound line. Stick baits are doing pretty well catching mainly brown trout from the dam down to Fall Creek working the channel side of the lake. Any medium diving lure similar to a MegaBass 110+ is what we recommend. You’ll get a lot of strikes and follows but not a lot of landed fish. But you have a better chance landing a big trout using this technique. Night crawlers are doing the best in the bait category. Drifting them on the bottom from Fall Creek clear down through the Landing area has been good, yielding some really nice quality rainbows. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.
NORFORK: 87 degrees, slightly stained, about 10 feet. Outlook: Bink’s Fintastic Guide Service reports: the topwater bass bite has been good lately early in the morning on Zara Spooks. Stripers have been hitting a Bink’s Spoon really well down at 60-70 feet.
LONGVIEW: low to mid 80s, stained, about normal. Outlook: Longview Marina reports: fishing has been slow overall in the past week. The morning bite has been the best very early. Bass have been fair on plastics in brush piles and along weeds. Whites have been schooling intermittently in 5-12 feet of water near timber in the Little Blue River arm near drop offs. Catfish have been caught lakewide on worms or prepared baits. 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: mid 80s, clear to stained, 19.5 feet high. Outlook: Pomme Muskie Guide Service reports: 3,000 CFS being released. Fishing has really slowed down in the past week. All species are slow. Crappie are slow to fair trolling crankbaits. Lake is expected to drop 5-6 inches a day if the release rate stays the same.
LAKE OF THE OZARKS: low to mid 80s, slightly stained, 1.5 feet high. Outlook: Gier’s Bass Pro reports: fish are still being caught primarily on the main lake. Crappie are very good trolling crankbaits near main lake points. Catfish are very good on main lake and secondary points using cut bait 25-30 feet down. Bass are on main lake points and brush piles catching them on soft plastics and crank baits.
JAMES A. REED: 87 degrees, stained, normal. Outlook: Missouri Dept. of Conservation reports: overall fishing has been slow since the water became muddy with last week’s rain. Largemouth bass are fair on topwater early in the morning and late in the day. Anglers continue to catch 3-pound fish or bigger on a weekly basis. Channel catfish are fair on prepared baits and cut bait. All other species are slow. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.
STOCKTON: upper 70s/low 80s, clear, 17.5 feet high and falling. Outlook: Tandem Fly Outfitters reports: The fishing has been very good recently. With the water falling, the fish will be found on main lake and secondary points on the outer edge of the bushes. A Ned rig and a biffle head with a beaver on the old shore line has been producing lots of bites with most of the quality fish coming on the beaver. There’s a top water bite but the bass are very spread out and not finding large concentrations in one area yet. Walleye can be caught on main lake points in 25-30 feet on the bottom with a ⅛ oz road runner tipped with half of a night crawler or ⅛ oz jig head. Crappie can be caught trolling flicker shad in the middle for the creeks (white bass and walleye will be mixed in). Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.
JACOMO: mid to upper 80s, clear, normal. Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group reports: White bass have been schooling on the main lake late in the afternoon/evening. Try rooster tails, whopper ploppers or other small topwaters. Crappie are hard to find. Look for them in structure 10-15 feet deep or near the mouths of coves. Try trolling flicker shad in various sizes. Largemouth have been fair and found on the outside edges of flooded vegetation 10-15 feet down on finesse style baits. The bite has been tough so you’ll want to work very slowly. Bites have been subtle. Some walleye have been found on points on a jig and crawler. If you target them, 6-8 pound monafilament line is more than enough. Use half a crawler on an 1/8th oz jighead that has a good bait keeper. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.
BLUE SPRINGS: mid to upper 80s, clear, about normal. Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: the bass bite has been pretty slow in the last week. Look for them on the shady sides of wood vertical wood structure. Crappie are scattered and hard to find. Look for them in structure 10-15 feet deep. Trolling or casting small crankbaits seems more productive right now. Wipers are scattered, but will stack up together so use your graphs to find them and drop a spoon or cast a swimbait. Catfish should be patrolling areas with water coming into the lake. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.
TABLE ROCK: 84 degrees, clear to stained, 4 feet high Outlook: Eric Prey of Focused Fishing Guide Service reports: bass are hitting top water baits early and late around shad on main lake points and bluff ends. Drop shot rigs later in the day have been productive on fish 25 - 40 feet deep suspended over deep trees. Football jigs on main lake mixed rock and gravel points 12-20 feet’ deep has been working. Also try up the rivers flipping bushes with jigs and creature baits or football jigs and big Texas rigged worms in brush piles 10-20 feet deep. White Bass are slow with a few scattered fish surfacing with black bass in the mornings. You can also find them trolling small shad colored crankbaits. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.
TRUMAN: upper 70s/low 80s, stained, about 24.5 feet high Outlook: Richard Bowling Guide Service reports: total discharge is 50,000 CFS. Crappie are being caught on the flats around willow trees. Fish are in 25 feet of water and more with bait down 15 feet deep. The crappie bite has picked up and will continue to get better each day. Minnows and jigs are working. Bass are being caught on main lake points using 10-inch worms. Catfish bite has been good below the dam.
SMITHVILLE: 84 degrees, clear, about 0.4 feet high Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: Crappie and walleye have been biting well. The W Bridge has been a hot spot for all species. Look for fish to be moving to points. A jig and nightcrawler worked along points should be producing some walleye. Look for them in 8 feet of water or less.
MOZINGO LAKE: low 80s, muddy, high Outlook: Fishing With Nordbye YouTube channel reports: all species are good. Fish are staged in their summer patterns. Bass have been hitting , UVenkos, BD Squarebills, and Fish Hog Tackle’s wired jigs on points, weedlines in coves, and standing timber. For crappie, UV Crappie Jigs as well as minnows are working near deeper trees in coves about 10 feet down. Bluegill are biting good, and are moving up spawning. Tube jigs or night crawlers working well up shallow in coves. Andrew Nordbye is moving out of state at the end of the summer so will no longer be able to provide fishing reports at that time. If you, or someone you know, could be a good resource for Mozingo Lake fishing reports each week, please reach out to Tyler Mahoney.
SHAWNEE MISSION PARK: 86 degrees, clear, normal Outlook: trout are poor. Crappie and panfish are good on worms and minnows. Catfish are fair on cut bait or stink bait. Bass/wipers are fair on plastic jigs and nightcrawlers. Wipers can sometimes be caught on chicken liver under a bobber.
KILL CREEK PARK: 86 degrees, clear, normal Outlook: Crappie and panfish are fair on worms or minnows. Bass are fair on plastic worms and spinner baits. Topwater baits early and late are also good. Catfish are fair on cut bait or chicken liver.
WYANDOTTE: low to mid 80s, clear, normal Outlook: KDWPT reports: no change since 6/19/19. Largemouth are good on finesse baits targeting underwater vegetation. Smallmouth bass are good near rocky bottoms with crankbaits, jigs, and swimbaits. Crappie are fair near deeper structure on jigs and minnows. All other species slow.
MELVERN: 84 degrees, clear, 13 feet high Outlook: Melvern Lake Marina reports: discharging 1500 CFS. Crappie are poor to fair, mostly caught near submerged trees and along the docks on minnows. White bass have been poor to fair on shallow crankbaits and minnows. Channel cats are fair lakewide on nightcrawlers and livers. Blue catfish are fair, catching a few at the west end of the lake and in the stilling basin on shad sides and entrails. Smallmouth are poor to fair lakewide on minnows and shallow crankbaits. Walleye are poor to fair on deep crankbaits while trolling.
CLINTON: 81 degrees, dingy, 21.1 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 7/15/19. 2000 CFS being released. All boat ramps in the State and CORPS Parks are closed due to high water. Fish feeders will not be operational until water levels recede to normal.
PERRY: low 80s, clear, about 21.5 feet high Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: all the boat ramps are still closed so there hasn’t been much fishing. 1600 CFS being released. Folks have been catching blue cats down below the spillway but nothing much else to report. The Corp. won’t have any campsites open for Labor Day.
COFFEY COUNTY (WOLF CREEK): low to mid 80s, clear, high Outlook: KDWPT report last updated 6/28: Entrance gate phone number is 620-364-2475. Be sure to call ahead for lake conditions. White bass and wipers are fair to good using shad imitation lures like small spinners, crankbaits or bucktail jigs. Look for schools of shad or focus on wind blown flats or points. Smallmouth are fair on crankbaits, swimbaits, and finesse plastics around rocky habitat. Don’t be afraid to go offshore and fish deeper around humps and dropoffs, using drop shot rigs. Largemouth are fair around shallow cover and standing cattails, using reaction style baits should produce some fish. Jerkbaits, lipless cranks, vibrating jigs, or spinnerbaits. Some fish may be caught off rocky points using large plastic worm or shaky head. Crappie are fair vertical jigging around the standing timber or channel swings.
LA CYGNE: mid to upper 80s, stained, high Outlook: KDWPT reports: some anglers have reported 90 degree water in the last week. The water level is very full and has flooded lots of weed beds that are full of crappie, channel catfish and bass. All catfish species are excellent right now on sunfish or cutshad, worms, prepared baits, and liver. 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. White bass have been good near the hot water outlet. 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: 79 degrees, stained, 17.4 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: 1500 CFS being released. Channel catfish are good. Use worms or dip baits and sunfish entrails or cutshad, stink/prepared baits. The fish feeders are on. The outlet can be very good when releasing large amounts of water. There is the occasional harvest of the blue catfish. All other species are slow.
MILFORD: 81 degrees, stained, 27 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 7/15/19. Discharging 12,000 CFS. Jayhawk and Marysville boat ramps are back open but all other boat ramps remain closed as of 7/12. 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: upper 70s, stained, 9.8 feet high and falling Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 7/3. 500 CFS being released. All Boat Ramps are closed due to flooding. All camping areas in Jayhawk Park Area are closed. All fishing has been slow to fair. Look for bass along shallow, flooded structure. Some walleye are being found on shallow rocky points and adjacent mud flats. Some walleye are also being taken at the spillway. Crankbaits and jigs are the most productive lures right now. Crappie have been fair around Jayhawk Marina. Largemouth bass can be found near shallower structure right now. Plastic baits and topwater baits near shoreline vegetation are producing the most fish.
GLEN ELDER (WACONDA LAKE): 83 degrees, stained, about 9 feet high Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reports: last update given 7/5/19. The two state park boat ramps (Osage and Marina Cove) are closed as is the Boller Point boat ramp. There are still several open ramps that can be used safely including Granite Creek, Walnut Creek, Schoen’s Cove, and North Fork Bridge. This high water may stick around for awhile and boaters should be aware of any new potential hazards which could be showing up in the newly flooded water. Anglers have been catching fair to good numbers of walleye around the Cawker City Causeway, the flats south of the golf course, near Schoen’s Cove, and off the state park points. Most fish are coming from 15-20 feet of water using jigs and worms or jigs and minnows. 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 summer bass. Check for white bass around the dam and off main lake points along the north shore and near the south bluffs. Trolling along the Cawker City causeway can also be good if the water is not too murky.
TUTTLE CREEK: 80 degrees, stained, 52.8 feet high. Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: updated 7/3. Running 20,000 CFS. Most fishing has been slow due to high water. Very few anglers have been on the 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: 83 degrees, clear to stained, 9 feet high Outlook: KDWPT reports: last updated 7/3. All boat ramps were usable. Black bass have been fair. The hot water temperatures have the fish deeper and less aggressive. Try ned rigs off drop offs and points in the lower/middle areas of the reservoir. Topwater and jerkbaits are good for largemouth and smallmouth in the very early morning and late evening. 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. Black bass are good on soft plastics and jerkbaits have worked well along rocky shorelines and reed grass. Spinnerbaits have been working well when the wind is blowing.
EL DORADO: upper 70s/low 80s, stained, 4.5 feet high. Outlook: KS Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reports: 524 CFS being released. Ramp Update 7/15/2019: Bluestem Number 1 boat ramp and Sailboat Cove boat ramp are now open. The Shady Creek Marina Boat Ramp has been reopened. There are now four open boat ramps within El Dorado State Park including Shady Creek Marina ramp, Shady Creek Area 1 ramp, Bluestem Number 1 ramp, and Sailboat Cove ramp. Please be mindful of where the edges of the ramps are! Walkways to the courtesy docks are still partially underwater. Boaters have been launching from El Dorado Wildlife Area boat ramps. Both the Chelsea Boat Ramp and Jumping Bridge Boat Ramps are being used. Again USE CAUTION while launching. Wipers are fair to good trolling or casting crank baits along windy shorelines. White bass are fair along main lake points and windy shorelines on curly tailed grubs or inline spinners. Walleye are fair drifting jig and crawler combos or pulling worm harnesses on main lake points and flats. A few are also being picked up on larger crankbaits.
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.