Outdoors report: Lakes have turned over and region’s duck numbers are increasing

In 2008, Marc Murell called ducks at the Jamestown Wildlife Area in central Kansas.
In 2008, Marc Murell called ducks at the Jamestown Wildlife Area in central Kansas. KC Star file photo (Brent Frazee)

Here is the fishing and hunting report for lakes and reservoirs in the Kansas City area and regionally around Kansas and Missouri for November 6, 2019.



BULL SHOALS: 64 degrees, dingy to clear (5 feet) visibility, 3 feet high Outlook: Del Colvin Guide Service reports: Fishing is fair on cloudy days. The shad are at the surface to 25 feet down halfway back in creeks on secondary points to all the way back into major creeks and tributaries. No wind or sun, go deep on drop shots or spoons 20-30 feet down on points or bluffs close to old channel. Topwater is hit or miss. Bushes are still holding fish. Try jig on ledge transitions. Wind will help spinnerbait bite but need to stay in the wind. Walleye are fair trolling around shad 20-25 feet down early in the morning. Crappie are showing up in brush piles. Del Colvin also does a video fishing report on YouTube: Bull Shoals Lake Fishing Report. Below the dam: John Berry of Berry Bros. Guide Service reports: The Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam will close from November 1, 2019 to January 31, 2020 to accommodate the brown trout spawn. The State Park will be seasonal catch and release for the same period. All brown trout must be immediately released. In addition, night fishing is prohibited in this area during this period. On February 1, 2020 this section will open to fishing. The White has fished well. 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 cerise high water San Juan worm with an egg pattern suspended below it). Use long leaders and plenty of weight to get your flies down.

TANEYCOMO: 59-61 degrees, clear, consistent heavy flow Outlook: Lilleys’ Landing reports: Flood gates are open, limiting wading opportunities. Scud population is exploding and trout are hitting them hard. Drift a scud along the bottom without a float using larger sizes, 8-10, on four-pound line. Drifting white shad flies (aka pine squirrels) from the cable to the ramp has been a good option, too. 1/8th oz white marabou jigs are doing very well worked slowly along the bottom. Below Fall Creek, night crawlers have been bringing in fish, along with a few Powerbait eggs. ¼ oz weights are still recommended.

NORFORK: low to mid 60s, stained, about 1.5 feet high Outlook: Hummingbird Hideaway resort reports: White bass are very good on vertical jigs, ½ to ¾ oz. They will be on the bottom or suspended 15–25 feet down. The bait has moved out to the flats in 20-50 feet of water so you’ll find whites nearby. The bass continue to be shallow, very close to the shoreline. Shallow, sloping banks has still been the best, but they are showing up more and more on the rock bluff lines. Crankbaits are working very well, as are soft plastics. Cast right next to the shore. Topwater very early in the morning. The crappie bite is very good. You’ll need to move around to multiple brush piles to stay on them. ¼ oz spoon in firetiger, white and chartreuse, white and green and white and pink are good. The fish have been from 10 – 20 feet down over brush. Striped bass fishing is still the slowest bite. Not unusual for this time of year, but that bite should take off shortly. Once the lake finalizes its turnover and cools a few more degrees the bigger fish will move to the flats.

LONGVIEW: mid 40s, stained, normal Outlook: Longview Marina reports: Crappie are good lakewide using minnows or jigs 8-15 feet down with some big ones caught near the marina. They’ve been better in the coves than at the marina recently. Whites are hitting hard on windy banks. Fishing hours are 8am-12:30pm M-F. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

POMME DE TERRE: 58 degrees, clear, 3 feet high (1500 CFS Wed) Outlook: Pomme Muskie Guide Service reports: Nice limits of crappie are being caught on jigs and minnows near standing timber. Bass are still hitting shallow but have been on the smaller size. Muskies have been slow.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS: mid to upper 60s, stained, normal Outlook: Gier’s Bass Pro reports: if the sun is shining, crappie are sitting up shallow below the foam on docks or in shallow brush piles in 3 feet of water. Bass have been slow with recent lake turnover.

JAMES A. REED: 45 degrees, clear, normal Outlook: Missouri Dept. of Conservation reports: Crappie fair using jigs/minnows near brush. Catfish are fair using fresh cut bait. Bass are being found but not much size recently. All other species slow.

STOCKTON: 53 degrees, clear, 0.8 feet high (40 CFS Tuesday) Outlook: Tandem Fly Outfitters reports: Walleye are fair to good on a Jakked shooter head tipped with a nightcrawler and trolling flicker shad in 12-15 feet. Crappie are suspended around brush from 15-25 feet on jig or minnow using a 1/16th-1/8th oz jig head. Bass are scattered. Have a jig and a crankbait tied on. White bass are scattered, but trolling a rooster tail or flicker shad will help you find them.

JACOMO: mid to upper 40s, stained, normal Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group reports: Crappie are have been a little more shallow recently and have been good around the docks. Look for them near brush or standing timber using minnows or jigs. All other species have been slow to fair.

BLUE SPRINGS: mid to upper 40s, stained, normal Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: whites and wipers have been fair. Windblown areas are the key. Crappie are fair and can be found 8-12 feet deep on jigs or minnows in brush or standing trees. Anglers are finding success from the bank recently.

TABLE ROCK: 62 degrees, clear to stained, normal Outlook: Eric Prey of Focused Fishing Guide Service reports: Some muddy water in the King’s River. Bass are finally starting to move shallow. Jigs, shaky heads and Ned Rigs have been effective on mixed rock and gravel points 5-20 feet deep. Spinnerbaits and shallow crankbaits have been working on cloudy and windy days fished parallel to steeper windblown banks. Wiggle warts and other medium diving crankbaits have been working on windy chunk rock banks 5-10 feet deep. Drop shot rigs and spoons are starting to work over deep trees 35-45 feet deep. Crappie have been slow with a few being caught out of standing timber in the river arms and larger creeks on live minnows or white crappie jigs.

TRUMAN: 53 degrees, stained, normal (15,000 CFS Tuesday) Outlook: Richard Bowling Guide Service reports: Crappie are being caught on the flats and in the creeks in 6-11 feet of water on minnows. On the lower lake, some crappie are moving to their winter pattern on steep banks in 25 feet of water fishing 18 feet down. Bass are being caught in the creeks and pockets on top water early then go to a spinner bait or shallow running crank bait. Catfish are in 5-10 feet of water on main lake flats.

SMITHVILLE: 46 degrees, clear, 0.5 feet high (8 CFS) Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: Crappie are excellent in main lake brush piles on minnows mostly, but jigs will work on and off. White bass are good on main lake points on windy days. Catfish are good lakewide. Very few walleye have been caught recently.


SHAWNEE MISSION PARK: low 50s, clear, normal Outlook: Trout were recently stocked and are great on Powerbait. Crappie and panfish are fair on worms and minnows. Catfish are fair on cut bait, stink bait, or chicken liver. Bass/wipers have been fair on jigs.

KILL CREEK PARK: low 50s, clear, normal Outlook: Trout were recently stocked and some lunkers have already been caught. They are biting well on Powerbait. Crappie and panfish are fair on worms or minnows. Bass are fair on plastics and spinner baits. Catfish are fair on chicken liver.

MELVERN: 54 degrees, stained, 1.3 feet high (20 CFS Monday) Outlook: Melvern Lake Marina reports: All boat ramps accessible. Crappie are good near submerged trees and along the docks on minnows and dark jigs. Smallmouth are good lakewide on tubes and shallow crankbaits. White bass are good on shallow crankbaits on wind blown banks. Channel cats are fair lakewide on nightcrawlers and livers. Blue catfish are fair at the west end of the lake and in the stilling basin on shad sides and entrails.

CLINTON: low to mid 50s, dingy, 11 feet high (500 CFS Monday) Outlook: KDWPT reports: Boat ramp #1 is open in the state park. Crappie are fair over brush on minnows and jigs. Wipers are showing themselves at the surface in the late evenings recently over rocky areas. Road to Lake Henry is closed, as crews resurface the parking lot. Cedar Ridge/Hickory/Walnut campgrounds in Bloomington East Park are closed for the winter.

PERRY: low 50s, clear, about 14 feet high (2500 CFS Wed) Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: Rock Creek Marina and Slough Creek boat ramp are open. Crappie are very good around the docks and moving more shallow in general. White bass and smallies have been biting well in the last week. Drifting for blue cats at the north end on flats is very good still.

COFFEY COUNTY (WOLF CREEK): 49 degrees, clear, 0.5 feet low Outlook: KDWPT reports: Not much fishing has occurred in the last week with heavy winds. Fishing was very slow for the few that made it out. Entrance gate phone number is 620-364-2475. Be sure to call ahead for lake conditions.

LA CYGNE: low to mid 50s, stained, normal Outlook: KDWPT reports: no major changes. Some good white bass are still being caught near the hot water outlet. Largemouth are slow to fair on deep side of riprap areas and weed beds. Use cranks, plastic worms, lizards or spinner baits. Slow moving baits are the ticket. Crappie are close to brush in 5-12 feet of water on jigs or minnows. Catfishing has been excellent. For information on the Linn County Marina boat ramps, call 913-757-6633.

POMONA: 50 degrees, stained, 2.2 feet high (15 CFS Monday) Outlook: KDWPT reports: Channel catfish are good using worms, dip baits , sunfish entrails, cutshad, or stink/prepared baits. Crappie are fair, but very quality fish are being caught around the docks. All other species are slow.

MILFORD: 53 degrees, stained, 16 feet high (4000 CFS Monday) Outlook: KDWPT reports: Most boat ramps are still closed. Channel catfish are fair on cut bait, worms, and stink bait. Blue catfish are fair on fresh cut bait. Target wind blown flats. Anglers are also targeting flooded areas around the lake for catfish. Crappie are fair to good and are 10-20 feet deep suspended near points, flooded brush, and ledges on jigs and minnows. Walleye are good near rocky or wind-swept mud banks with jigs, crankbaits, or bottom bouncers. White bass and wipers are fair on jigs in the river on the north end of the reservoir.

HILLSDALE: 50 degrees, stained, 1 foot high (3 CFS Monday) Outlook: KDWPT reports: No changes. Crappie are fair in brush piles using minnows about 8-10 feet down. Bass are picking up near shallow vegetation on plastics or topwater. Some recent reports on walleye using crankbaits and jigs. Channel catfish are good on cut bait and nightcrawlers.

GLEN ELDER (WACONDA LAKE): mid to upper 40s, stained, 1 foot high (900 CFS Tuesday) Outlook: KDWPT reports: The Marina and Boller Point boat ramps are still closed. Open ramps include Osage, Granite Creek, Walnut Creek, Schoen’s Cove, and North Fork Bridge. Several blue cats are being caught throughout the reservoir but the best luck is from Minooka West and Duvall to Horseshoe bend in 6-20 feet of water. Walleye are fair to good in 4-10 feet of water early and late in the day near vegetation lines using soft plastics. Smallmouth have been very good lately around the state park and the dam. White bass are outstanding and being caught on the lower end of the reservoir around the dam and state park area as well as the Walnut Creek area. Good numbers of 15 to 17 inch fish with 4-10 pound wipers mixed in.

TUTTLE CREEK: 55 degrees, clear, 35.5 feet high (8,000 CFS Monday) Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: No changes. High water still limiting fishing. Very few anglers. Saugeye continue to be found downstream in the River Pond. Catfish have been fair on the main lake.

WILSON: mid to upper 40s, clear, 0.6 feet low Outlook: KDWPT reports: Stripers are fair and more have been caught shallow in cooling temps. Walleye are fair drifting soft plastics early and late near vegetation 4-10 feet down. Marshall Cove and the Sawhill/Duvall area are holding shallow walleye. Channel cats are good throughout the reservoir on worms and dough bait. Blue cats are best at Minooka West and Duvall to Horseshoe bend in 6-20 feet of water. White bass are fair on 1/16 oz. jigs on windblown points near Lucas. Black bass are slowing down a lot in the last week. Try deep diving crankbaits or slow moving plastics near bluffs and dropoffs.

EL DORADO: mid 50s, stained, 0.1 feet low (7 CFS Monday) Outlook: KS Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism: All boat ramps usable. Wipers and white bass are fair trolling or casting crank baits along windy shorelines. Blue cats are back in the river channels now. Crappie are fair near timber or brush piles on minnows and jigs. Walleye are fair trolling #9 and larger crankbaits along windblown shorelines, points, and flats.



Swan Lake: On 10/28, roughly 16,000 mallards, 2,000 greenwing teal, 2,300 Northern Pintail, 8,000 Gadwall, and 6,000 ring-necked ducks were observed.

Duck Creek CA: On 10/28, roughly 250 Gadwalls, 1450 Mallards, 2396 Mixed dabblers, 2680 Ring-Necked ducks, 1090 Teal, and 80 Wigeon were observed.

Four Rivers CA: On 10/28, roughly 1052 Gadwalls, 2138 Mallards, 2290 Mixed dabblers, 465 Mixed ducks, 1120 Pintails, 32 Ring-Necked ducks, 590 Shovelers, and 2500 Teal were observed.

Grand Pass CA: On 10/28, roughly 3500 Gadwalls, 4000 Mallards, 40 Mixed dabblers, 800 Pintails, 600 Shovelers, 2000 Teal, and 600 Wigeon were observed.

Mingo NWR: On 10/30, roughly 2961 Gadwalls, 5167 Mallards, 719 Mixed dabblers, 47 Mixed divers, 1635 Pintails, 815 Shovelers, 1538 Teal, 679 Wigeon were observed.

Otter Slough CA: On 10/28, roughly 2730 Gadwalls, 2955 Mallards, 61 Mixed dabblers, 50 Mixed divers, 4180 Pintails, 1600 Shovelers, 3935 Teal, and 3300 Wigeon were observed.

Fountain Grove CA: On 10/28, roughly 16,000 ducks were observed including 3000 Gadwalls, 3500 Mallards, 2500 Pintails, 2000 Ring-Necked ducks, 4500 Teal, and 500 Wigeon. 108 hunters harvested 288 ducks in the last week.

Loess Bluffs NWR: On 10/28, roughly 5475 Gadwalls, 19090 Mallards, 40 Mixed dabblers, 106 Mixed divers, 35120 Pintails, 1065 Ring-Necked ducks, 485 Shovelers, 3340 Teal, and 105 Wigeon were observed.

Nodaway Valley CA: On 10/28, roughly 10,800 ducks were observed including 4915 Mallards, 2500 Mixed dabblers, 770 Pintails, and 2700 Teal. 30 hunters harvested 114 ducks in the last week.


CHEYENNE BOTTOMS: On 10/31, freezing temps and low winds locked up the area overnight with 1/2”+ ice and moved the ducks out. There were 5,000-10,000 ducks, still a mix, but increasing number of mallards.25,000-35,000 geese, mostly whitefronts with snows and Canadas mixed in.

MARAIS DES CYGNES: On 10/31, 25,000 early migrants (about 35% mallards). 4,000 white-fronts. Waterfowl numbers changing rapidly with cold fronts and weather conditions.

NEOSHO: On 10/9, season is currently closed for this area. There were 15,000-25,000 early season migrants. Mainly Mallard, Teal, Gadwall and Pintail. 200 Canada Geese and few White Fronts.

PERRY: No update from last week. On 10/25, an increase in ducks was observed. A few hundred ducks were observed consisting of a few Mallards, good numbers of Teal and Shovelers, and also some Wood Ducks and Pintails. Due to significant and repeated flooding, wetland habitat conditions are poor and water levels are still very high. Several boards have been placed in every wetland and as lake levels continue to draw down, water will be held at full pool across all wetlands. West River Boat Ramp/Parking area and Kyle Marsh Parking area/ramps are still inaccessible due to flood waters. No estimate available for when waters will return to normal pool

HILLSDALE: On 10/31, a large influx of waterfowl occurred on the Hillsdale Wildlife Area. Mallards, wood ducks, gadwalls, Northern shovelers, blue-winged teal, and green-winged teal were all surveyed in the area. Large groups of geese with numbers in the 500’s have been seen in flight over the area, along with around 30 canada geese that have stayed close to the dam. Around 500 coots have also been surveyed in the area. Approximately 4000 divers were seen on the reservoir. Ring-necked ducks, goldeneyes, and scaup are likely to be represented in that group. Hunters have had success on the wetlands along with the main lake, with some bag limits being filled.

TUTTLE CREEK: On 10/30, 11,000 ducks and 14 Canada Geese were observed.

MILFORD: On 10/31, mallards made their appearance with 400 plus being viewed. A lot of birds were observed throughout the week using the lake and flooded areas around the wildlife area.

QUIVIRA: As of 10/31, there were roughly 40,500 geese and 5,100 ducks on the area. Ducks were mixed species of mallards, northern pintail, northern shoveler, redhead, american wigeon and others. Geese were primarily white-fronted and snows.

MELVERN: On 11/1, 3 Duck Marsh - Both units are partially pumped with approximately 45 mallards; Willow Marsh - North and South units are partially pumped, hunters were observed at the time of survey, 20 or so mixed ducks; Sundance Marsh - This unit is completely full, hunters were observed at the time of the survey; Lowman’s Cove - All units are completely full. No waterfowl was observed on the survey; Shoveler Slough - No waterfowl observed at the time of the survey; Refuge - There were no waterfowl observed on the survey.

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.

Related stories from Kansas City Star