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on Lake of the Ozarks

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Fishing Reports for Lake of the Ozarks

May 1, 2014

Several fish species are spawning right now. Crappie and bass are on beds right now throughout the lake. Some coves and areas are going to be better than others but it is a great time to come to Lake of the Ozarks. Look for this to continue for a couple more weeks. A variety of patterns and lures will work for bass. On cloudy days keep a topwater handy. Plastic worms on Crock O Gator shaky heads have been working great. Carolina Rigs have also been working. Crappie have been shallow in the afternoons and suspended 5-15 feet deep the rest of the time. It's not too late to get in on some of this great crappie fishing. Most years the crappie are finished by now but since we had such a harsh winter we should be able to catch them for a bit longer. Catfish have been biting well also. Several blue catfish eat the remains of cleaned crappie. So catfish outside of fish cleaning areas for big blue catfish. Gar are just starting to show themselves and look for them to be active as the month continues. Gar are under appreciated as a sport fish and I have taken several customers in the past to catch big gar. Rope jigs tossed immediately in front of a toothy gar is a fun way to catch a big fish. Good Luck Fishing. Go to my new website www.LakeoftheOzarksFishingGuide.com for new pictures and information. My old website will remain up but get updated less and less. 

 

April 2, 2014

Overall it has been a cold winter and cool early spring this year.  We are seeing several spring like days here lately with highs in the 60's and a few in the 70's. Main Lake water temperatures are hanging in the mid 40's. Most of all my guide trips have been in the river sections of the lake. Areas like the Gravois arm, Grand Glaize, upper Osage and big and little Niangua have been significantly warmer. Water temps in these sections of the lake range from 50-57. Bass fishing has been good some days and difficult if not impossible other days. The traditional late winter/early spring baits have been working like jerkbaits and jigs. Look for coves with a mixture of rock with some small gravel in areas. Sunshine for part of the day has helped activate the ecosystem thus making the bass more active. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and chatterbaits can work too. Especially if anyone is fishing the Big Bass Bash this coming weekend try a big swimbait. Remember it's not about catching regular fish, it's about catching THE fish.

Crappie fishing has been excellent. This year we are seeing some of the healthiest big black crappie I've ever seen. Black crappie can be more moody than regular white crappie and can turn on and off depending on the weather and conditions. It's so worth it though and these big stingers full of 12 inch crappie is something that never gets old. These crappie are really better not fired but grilled because they are so big. Look for this April to continue to be a stellar crappie fishing month.

Look for some fish to start spawning here in a few weeks but I'd say the majority of fish to spawn in May. The weather will really warm up here soon and there will be a rush or wave of spawning crappie with in a couple weeks. I believe the full moon is around the 20th or so. We'll have some great but inconsistent fishing for the next couple weeks. Late April and May will be hot and heavy with lots of action. Traditionally I am a main lake guy due to that is where the majority of my business comes from but the river fish will warm up faster and the main lake fish will come later. The spawn will be spread out this year due to the low lake temperatures compared to the warm river temperatures.

Lake level is still low which is pretty typical for right now. Look for a gradually rising lake level over the next 6 weeks. This will help the fish move shallow and hold to the banks. Several boat ramps are inoperable right now so be careful if you have a nice trailer.

                  

January 27th, 2014 Brrrr I hate January. Why can't it be warm year round? At least I don't live any further north where it just stays cold for weeks and weeks. At least here it'll be cold for a few days and then it'll jump back up into the 50's for a day or two. Eh, spring's coming soon enough. Few more long weeks and things will really be changing here. The day light hours have already been getting longer and longer. The lake has been really cold this winter. Shad kill has been pretty significant. Fishing for bass has been about as slow as I've ever seen. Actually most of my fishing for the last few weeks has been for crappie cause they've been biting decent to good and the bass have been slow to very slow. Most of the tournament competitors have been getting skunked the last few weeks. Typical for what is traditionally the toughest time of the year. Those big females will be biting here real soon. The fish are really grouping up in big wintering schools now. The lake has dropped due to the winter draw down. Water temperature is 36-39 for the most part but the upper ends of the creeks frozen. The north shore/Bagnel dam area is about 40 degrees. The mid lake area has been the best for me crappie fishing. Straight vertical with a tube or a drop shot have been the best techniques around brushpiles in the 30 foot range. Been pretty productive too with each spot producing several crappie.  The lower end of the lake has been producing some bigger crappie and more black crappie. That's where dock shooting has been so good this year. Big slab crappie that fight like a bass have been hiding under that dock thinking that we can't get to them. Until this dock shooting technique came along we couldn't. It's a real fun method to cast to the hard to reach spots. My buddy Eric Prey came up here last week to do a video on it. It should be on his website soon www.bransonTV.com check it out, it's all free.

I've got several sport shows and appearances scheduled this year. Kansas City Boat show, 3 Bass Pro Shops events (next one is Feb14,15 Crappie Madness Weekend) and the St.louis Boat Show. Come by say hi.

December 6, 2013

I bought a new boat!! Wahoo, I'm loving it, it's smoking hot! It's a Nitro Z9 with a big Mercury 250 ProXS on the back, tricked out with the best electronics Humminbird has! Thanks to Bass Pro Shops, Nitro boats and Mecury Marine for all chipping in and coming on board as new sponsors of Jack's Guide Service. Any body interested in seeing it or doing a test drive let me know. As far as I'm concerned it's the best boat on the water, and I'll show you why on the water. I looked and test drove a lot of boats, before I decided which boat to get. I'll put a couple pics up of my new work boat on the client picture page.

Fishing has been up and down again.  Me and Bassing Bob did great in this big tournament a couple weeks ago then only to have a crappy guide trip earlier this week, some days they're biting some days they're not. Been catching some big ole bass on black buzzbaits the last few weeks but I'm afraid with this snow storm moving through right now that might be the end of any kind of topwater action. That's fine I'm ready for some good traditional winter time fishing. I've got my jerkbaits all ready, my finesse jigs all tied up, and the cold weather has moved in.  Pretty soon the dam operators will begin to draw down the lake (usually this has already started) and that will actually help fishing quite a bit. It will make the bass and crappie school up more in predictable locations. Channel swings, points, steep banks are the typical winter time hang outs. The fish don't roam around as much when the lake is lower. If you get lucky you can catch the biggest sack of bass you'll ever catch this time of the year. Look up last year's top tournament weights, they were well over 22 pounds a piece, several almost 25 pounds. Some fish have been biting the jerkbait pretty well for a while now. I went our yesterday (high temp was 26 degrees! brrr) and the first rocky bank we hit we caught them. After that we got away from the wind and the bite slowed but I know what we need to do. Jigs are working well too and usually December is a great month to throw a jig, maybe my favorite. Alabama rigs will soon be part of the equation also. I'm not a big fan of them but hey they've got their place.

Crappie fishing for big black crappie has been pretty good too.  Cloudy days head for the clear water sections and fish the corners of docks down a few feet with a slow retrieve. Sunny days head towards the mid lake section and look for the deepest brush you can find and vertical fish. Both patterns are working fine and should be even better here shortly. Both patterns require a certain touch too so stay on your game. Good electronics will help you a lot in crappie fishing.

November 12, 2013

Fishing has picked up considerably since my last report. October is always a tough month. November is much better for fishing, always has been. The largemouth never come easy but right now we are talking spinnerbaits and buzzbait.  Those baits are pretty easy compared to most lures. It's about covering water quickly picking off the aggressive fish. Points have been good. The coves have been less important as the fish begin to move out to deeper water. The lake has been really quite lately because everyone is in the woods hunting. I love deer hunting but a good buzzbait bite is hard to pass up. The lack of fishing pressure is already making a difference and I'm really enjoying the mild weather before it starts to get really cold in January. 

The black crappie are really starting to bite in the Glaize arm.  Black crappie are a little more like bass in the winter and can be pretty predictable on the cloudy days. We cleaned a mess yesterday that were some of the most consistent and best quality I've seen in a long time. Berkley 2 inch curl tail grubs seemed to be the best bait yesterday. White pearl is my best color.

October 2, then updated Oct 9

Fishing has been up and down lately particularly for largemouth bass.  One good day followed by one bad day is pretty typical of the fall transition mixed with parts of the lake starting to turn over. Fishing for bass can still be successful it just depends on the day.  The Big Bass Bash is this weekend so someone will win $61,000 by Sunday afternoon! That's a lot of Money! I'm sure it'll take a big 6 or maybe a 7 pound bass to win it all. Topwaters have been working great in the morning and after the sun really starts to shine pitching docks has been the ticket.  Crappie will be less effected by the turnover along with white bass. In fact we've had a few very good days for white bass lately on the windy afternoons.  That's certainly one of my favorite bites of the whole year.  Strong winds are a must to really catch whites. This past Saturday while white bass fishing we had 3 walleye on the line up to the boat.  Unfortunately we lost two of them at the boat but we landed the biggest walleye in the afternoon as the rain was coming down.   But you need to get out there on the windy days to catch these whites, they are absolute blast. Crappie fishing has been really good lately too. They're moving shallower too. Fall is a great time to get out on the water. The trees and turning pretty colors, cool temperatures and the fish are feeding as the water cools. Wind is the most important factor right now.

September 13, 2013

Wow what a pretty day here on Lake of the Ozarks! 70 degrees, sunny, a light wind and the fish are biting. The fall is a great time to get on the water and enjoy the lake with out the heavy recreational boat traffic. Several tournament are getting underway every weekend now and for the next couple of months. I fished the FLW BFL last weekend and won the Big Bass award with a monster fish that weighed almost 7 pounds! I was using a Berkley swimbait and somebody was smiling down on me. I was fishing docks and catching a lot of average sized bass when that big fish bit. Docks are key for this time of the year. Wind is another big factor, and shad. Those three key ingredients are what you need to look for. The crappie have started biting really well too. The cooler nights and shad getting active are sparking the fish to follow their typical fall patterns. Also I have to brag a little more I was just recently asked to be on the local news for KY3 on their sports segment with Ned Reynolds to do a piece on fishing Lake of the Ozarks. It was really cool, and I helped Ned reel in a big old Bass!

                                                                                      

August 19, 2013

The heavy boat traffic is now a thing of the past now that the kids have gone back to school.  The weekends will still see considerable traffic through the next few weeks into the fall but the weekdays will is surprisingly quite will very few boats seen or heard.  The lake Shootout is next weekend and Labor day weekend is around the corner, after that the fall tournaments will be in full swing.  Water temps are around 80 degrees with a variety of patterns working right now. Generally speaking fishing has been tough for a variety of reason but some days they just turn on and bite like crazy. Topwaters have been my most consistent bait followed by jerkbaits and plastic worms. The shad have been easy to fish and spread out through out the lake.  Shad are almost always an important ingredient in good fishing as we slowly progress into fall. The river bite has been fair but unstable due to water in flow and level fluctuations. The main lake has been slightly more consistent but will more smaller average sized bass being caught. There are some better quality fish out deep on points biting particularly well when the dam is generating water. For the next few weeks I would assume for things to get better as the water begins to slowly cool. Shad will become more and more important as will baitfish imitating baits and patterns. The water levels and clarity are both normal even though we had several inches of rain recently it did not effect the lake for very long. However you can expect current and a slightly lowering lake level.

Crappie fishing has been Ok. The current has them spread out feeding on the baby shad all over the lake. Large crappie can be caught but the average 10 inch fish have been so spread out that we're not seeing the high numbers we normally see this time of year.  20-30 fish days are still possible and most years are pretty typical for this time of the year. I imagine they will start biting very well any day.

Catfish have been more or less on the slow side also. We nailed a couple giant blues recently that we measured against out legs and the catfish reached all the way up to out belly buttons. Drifting cut bait is working good and a relaxing way to get bit even in the middle of the day. We're just drifting coves in no wake areas to hide from the boat traffic.

 Everyone check out BassingBob.com It's a new website here on the lake that's all about bass fishing Lake of the Ozarks. I've been working with Bob for a while now helping out here and there to do my part for this great bass fishing resource on the web. Bob is a great guy, good friend and smart business man that recently retired from his real job to start this website. BassingBob.com has everything like forums, videos, pictures, daily fishing reports, tournament reports, articles, and all of the best fisherman here on the lake are involved with Bassing Bob in some way shape or form. Check it out! You'll like it.

July 15, 2013

The Lake of the Ozarks is still producing even in the middle of summer. Right now I'm running most of my guide trips out of TanTara Resort in the middle of the lake and having good success. The water temps are in the low 80's and slowing climbing.  Fishing success can be had right now with a few things must be kept in mind: Fish early in the morning, Fish around Baitfish, Fish deep, or fish the shade around docks.  Fishing in the summer can still be very productive and even great if you follow some of those basic rules.  Crappie fishing has been fine with decent numbers of eater size crappie right now around docks with brush. Bass can be caught on topwaters first thing in the mornings or latter with plastic worms.  Catfish can be caught trolling or jug fishing with fresh bait. There is a ton of tiny shad in the lake right now and they are easy pickings for all of the predator fish. 

June 29th, 2013 Bass fishing remains good through the heat.  I just had another great guide trip fishing offshore structure with heavy jigs.  It's a hard way to fish if you've not done much bass fishing before but it's one of the best ways to catch fish in the summer. Long points, or humps next to the old river channel are the best spots. Some days the fish are on top of the points in 6-15 feet of water, other days they're deeper in the 25-35 feet of water. Scattered rock and brush on the spot makes it all that much better.  After dark look for your bigger brush piles to fish big texas rigs through.  Crappie can be found on the main lake next to docks with current on them. Numbers have been good but this past week the size has gone down. Plus everyone has been stealing my spots lately which isn't helping.  Catfish have been good but the jug fishing has been producing better than trolling.  I prefer the trolling method but can't deny the effectiveness of the jugs, it's so easy it should be illegal! There is still certain things that have to be done to produce the most fish.  And please people don't leave your jugs out over night! it's illegal and you just lose them. Trotlines are fine as long as you run them on a regular basis.  The problem come in with the trot lines that have been out there for years that never get moved.  Other fisherman eventually snag into them because they are essentially trash left behind by lazy catfisherman.  In closing the fishing remains great you just have to adjust for the summer patterns.  Good luck and be safe out there this summer.   

 

June 6, 2013The bass fishing remains pretty good. Several patterns are working right now.  Usually by now the off shore bite is dominating however this year with the late spawn there are several quality bass still shallow. There are some fish on the points and there will be more showing up soon. Football jigs and 10 inch worms are working great out there.  Bluffs have been working also throughout the lake.  Plastic worms and shaky heads have been working the best there.  For the shallow fish buzzbaits, topwaters, frogs, senkos, flukes are all working.  The river bite has been the best. The lake is full right now helping a lot of the fish remain shallow.  Catfish are going good with several blues being caught as they prepare to spawn.  Crappie are also doing well as they have settled into their summer pattern.

May 16, The best bass fishing of the year is going on right now! Lots of bass are locked on beds and protecting their nests. Topwaters, spinnerbaits, Berkley SickFish swimbaits, sinking worms, just about any lure is working right now. Look for protected pockets to find the spawning bass.  Water temp has jumped into the low 70's. I caught a big 5 pounder yesterday on a frog. Several areas have thick pollen collecting on the surface creating a mat of floating debris, throw your frog in that nasty stuff. It's a blast!

The crappie fishing is nothing like it was a few weeks ago. There is a few stragglers up shallow still but by and large they are small males.  There are a few groups here and there still spawning on the main lake. The key has been to keep covering water until you find them. Fish fast with a 2 inch Berkley grub on windy banks or points. You almost never fish fast for crappie so take advantage of it while you can.  Some fish are starting to show back up out deeper again.

My calendar is booked solid for the next two weeks, after that there is a few opening in June but not a lot. July is mostly open. Fishing will remain good through the summer months however the heat/boat traffic will cause us to fish early in the morning and late in the evening. Overall people are surprised how productive our fishing is in the summer. Many people think the spring and fall is the best but those seasons are consistently changing. Summer and winter are actually great fishing time. Late spring (like right now) is the best, and early fall is really good but before the turnover.

 April 26,

Quick report here: The crappie are going nuts, Get down here ASAP! The past few trips have been crazy good. Anywhere from the Niangua's, Hurricane deck, Linn Creek, the TanTara area, Glaize, to the Lodge has been outstanding.  Only area not doing great is the dam area. That area will heat up with a little more sunshine, maybe by next weekend. Get down here and fill your freezer!

April 15, Sorry for the lack of fishing reports but I've got a good excuse, me and my wife had our first baby! A little baby girl has been taking up a lot of my time lately.  Fishing has been slow to warm up this year due to the cool weather the last couple of months.  The lower end of the lake is still about 50 degrees with your typical winter patterns dominating like jerkbaits. Alabama rigs doing well and still winning tournaments down there.  The rest of the lake is warming into the upper 50's with some pretty stained water.  Fishing went through a real tough spell more or less but is starting to get better. A major shad kill has been going on that has negatively affected fishing for the last few weeks.  Heavy current and muddy water also played a role in sub par fishing.  Look for the peak of the spawn for bass and crappie to be in May this year. While some bass and crappie are starting to move up to the banks this past weekend more unsettled weather is predicted this week and up coming Big Bass Bash. 

Anyone looking to book a fishing trips April is already booked solid. May has several days available during the week.

 

February 22, 2013

Everyone interested in fishing Lake of the Ozarks needs to pay special attention to this year's Bass Master Classic.  It's being held right now on Grand Lake in North Eastern Oklahoma.  Of all the lakes in the world Grand is the most similar to Lake of the Ozarks. The majority of Classic competitors are using jerkbaits which is a Lake of the Ozarks staple in the winter time.  Grand is a highland type of reservoir in the Ozark mountains with docks everywhere.  It's water clarity is pretty similar to our lake and the water temperature is about 5-7 degrees warmer than our lake.  Jigs are another bait that is going to play a big role in the tournament.  For those of you guys that are hard core tournament fisherman you should study everything you can about this tournament.  With all of the GPS tracking, media guys, and everything they are doing down there to show you some inside secrets of exactly where these guys are fishing.  It'll be on TV next weekend but right now you can follow it on the internet.  Ike is leading it so far, but it's really early.

Our lake hasn't changed to much lately.  We started to warm things up only to have another strong front come in and cool things down again. The tournaments have been taking some absolutely staggering weights to win all winter.  The guys have been bringing in bags of over 24 pounds to win for a while now, it's incredible!  Alabama rigs, A-Rigs, Schooling Rigs, whatever you call them are catching some big fish.  My most consistent bait has been the jerkbait still. I'm not catching 25lbs a day but I an doing just fine with the occasional big fish in the 5-6lb range along with a limit of bass most days. Crappie are biting fine, some days are lights out if you've got some warm weather to pull them shallow.  I've been fishing on the lower end of the lake, toll bridge, Lodge, mouth of the Gravois area.  I've been shooting a lot of docks to catch some real quality slab crappie.  It's a pretty cool technique, but be careful if you've never done it before because you can get a hook in your finger.   

 

January 27, 2013

Water temp is about as low as it gets around here.  I've seen skim ice a few times in large sections after some cold and calm nights.  Lately I've spent a few days up around Hurricane Deck bridge to Purvis Creek on guide trips.  Both times we were able to put together nice buddy bass limits on Jerkbaits, primarily fishing steep rock banks inside of coves.  Finding our fish in groups was the norm.  Some nice Kentucky bass one day; I think we had 4 Kentucky bass all around 3 pounds or more.  The next day we had several solid Largemouth.  Jerkbait colors changed because the sky conditions changed.  Water temps were around 41.  Next I fished a few days down at Bagnel Dam, primarily fishing secondary points with wind and throwing a jerkbait.  Water temps were around 44.  I had one spot, a little secondary with brush below, I caught 4 good keepers on.  The bass are really bunching up right now.  One of those bass was a really big fish.  It came on a jig after I had fished it several times with a jerkbait.  The water is very clear down there. The customers also wanted to concentrate on winter time Crappie fishing.  We caught about two dozen, mostly around docks, fishing slowly and vertically.  It was hard to get bit fishing brush and they almost all came from docks.  I have recently spent a few days on the lower Glaize.  We primarily crappie fished but also did chase some blue cats and caught a real nice one while drift fishing though some shad.  There is a very large population of shad in this region, mostly around deep water and bluffs.  We put my boat in at PB2 and never went too much past the 5mm or so of the Glaize.  The water temp in this area is very low and some shad are starting to die off.  This is usually a good thing.  Some of the schools of shad were large and even coming up to the surface.  Crappie fishing up there was fine but we never found a big group of them. The fish were on brush piles in deep water, typically around 20 feet or more if we could find it.  Plus with the lake level dropping due to this time of year, deep brush is getting harder and harder to find.  We had 25 and could have finished our limits but got distracted fishing for those big winter blues.  I recently hit two different warm water springs with two drastically different results.  I fished Ha Ha Tonka with a customer with very few fish caught.  Water temp was all the way up to 56 degrees by the spring, and yet very little action.  That area of the upper Niangua is very shallow and the fish are usually either on or off and they where off that day.  The other spring I took a customer to was very much "on"!  We boated several nice smallmouth on jerkbaits and jigs.  I estimate we landed almost 30 bass that day with about 6 of them above 16 inches.  Fishing is best there when the weather is cold; the colder the better.  It condenses the fish more to be right by the spring.  (see pic below) This is special spot that I can't divulge on the internet.  Yesterday I went out fishing by myself around the Lodge of Four Seasons area.  I struggled for a while but worked at it and finally put together a nice day.  Found a big pile of crappie suspended around this dock and I limited very quickly with some real slabs! I was using a 3 inch crappie bait which has a pretty slow fall with a 1/16 oz jig (which is lighter than what I normally use).  The water clarity is pretty dingy on the main lake but once I figured out that the big coves had some clearer water then that is where I concentrated my efforts.  I also caught an absolute HOG bass on an Berkley Schooling Rig with 4 inch Hollow Bellies. (see pic below) Winter time has a unique set of challenges. It's a puzzle that some days even I don't figure out.  There are some days when the challenges met and the rewards are even greater! When you put together a pattern during the coldest month of the year you've done something that most fisherman can't do. Give me a call if you're up for a real challenge.  There are several days available with high temps that are very tolerable to any fisherman.  

 

  

 

I wrote this article for a write up I figured I'll post it on my site.

Posted 17 January 2013

Winter Time
Right now is really a nice time to get on the water. I love getting out there in the winter for a couple reasons: you have the lake to yourself (almost) and it's a unique challenge to locate and catch a bunch of fish this time of the year more than any other time. The difficulties and then the lessons you learn now tend to help you in the future more than most times of the year. Water temps are just about as cold as they are going to get and I know most people are just going to wait till spring, but not me. I know it's cold but if you can pick the nice days and dress warm it's not that bad. Here in Missouri our average high right now is 42 degrees in the month of January, now it gets colder than that plenty of days but that's the average. I generally don't fish too much below 32 degrees (anymore) and there are plenty of days during the week when you can look at the 7 day forecast and choose the warmest days that are above the average. Make sure you pay attention to the fore-casted wind when deciding what clothes you are going to wear. North winds compared to south with make a big difference along with the strength. Wind is a major factor in comfort all year but even more important in the extreme months. Strong winds can go right through some inferior clothing and make even the short boat drives unbearable. Layers are always important factor in addition the expensive, high quality rain suits for your outer layer are worth it when they keep you warm. Brands like Bass Pro Shops 100mph suit, Pro Qualifier, Cabela's Guide Wear and others have recently become on the market that do a good job. Skin left exposed is going to make you uncomfortable and eventually wear you down. When it comes to my hands I prefer not to wear gloves unless my hands become too uncomfortable then I like the cheap brown cotton (Jersey's) gloves. They can absorb moisture and you'll have to keep several pairs handy to exchange them for any rainy days on the water. They are cheap so buy a big pack for 10 bucks and you'll be set for several years. You can also easily modify them to be fingerless, or thumb-less with a simple pair of scissors. Now for driving the boat on the coldest days I keep a pair of extra thick ski gloves near by. To fish with these would be a joke but for driving, they are perfect. The extra thick insulation and warmth is nice because they allow my hands to almost catch up to normal temperature during runs to our next spot. As far as keeping your feet warm I actually like just regular tennis shoes. I have found that boots actually make my feet colder and they are very cumbersome in the boat. It has something to do with having enough air movement so your feet don't sweat. I do look for shoes that have just the right amount of ventilation, not too much or too little. I'll buy a pair the next size up from normal to have room for larger socks plus room for warm air to pool up inside your shoe. One of the things I need to utilize more is those heat packs. I usually find them on clearance or on sale after Wal-Mart is getting rid of their fall hunting inventory. I try to buy them in the large bags or bigger quantity so I have a few in the boat and house. It's best if you start to get them warmed up early, like before you leave the house, so the are warm as soon as your hands start to get cold. The larger heat packs work better and get hotter. The exposed skin on your face can be covered up with a baklava or some type of covering just to keep the wind off your face will make a big difference. Another winter time must is the motorcycle helmet for those really fast or long boat drives. Keeping that wind off your face and head is essential to maintaining body heat. Now normally I like to drive about 30 mile per hour and only a few minutes at a time but there are times when you have really move and that’s when you need to get the helmet out and arrive at your fishing spot comfortable and not frozen. You'll fish better by making better casts, better decision making, and stay out there longer. For those short drives a sweatshirt with a hoodie and drawstring is a must. I add a toggle to the two ends of the drawstring for fast tightening keeping your head warmer and out of the wind. It’s a small and easy tip but that's what works. It has to be easy and quick so you do it every time even when you think you don’t really need it because it’ll make a difference by keeping you comfortable for longer.
Winter time fishing can be frustrating at times and one of the main problems is simply locating fish. Whether we are talking about crappie, bass, or catfish they all group up together in the winter. Since they are so grouped up that means it's much harder to simply stumble upon an active fish here or there like we all do most of the year. This is why you hear all these stories about great winter time successes because if you get onto one of these schools you can load the boat with quality fish in a short period of time. Now the fish are more sluggish and often times a little deeper than normal so you have to work your baits a little slower and more deliberately. Fish finders like the Humminbird Side Imaging units make a big difference by helping you easily see fish and schools of shad. Baitfish are always important but I would say right now they are more important than any other time of the year. The reason this is because they will lead you to the most active fish in the area. If you find those fish right by baitfish that means they are in the right mood to feed. There is a lot of dead water in the winter. So I do a lot of idling around looking on the fish finder this time of the year, it's part of the game in the winter. You need to be a lot choosier in the winter and don't just fish average spots. I bring plenty of snacks too for a couple reasons 1) it gets boring just slowly driving around looking for the sweet spots to fish 2) your body will burn more fuel in the cold so it keeps you running more alert.. Use those electronics you have, that's why you have them! There are times when the fish are going to be shallow even in January and times when they're going to be deep; your electronics will tell you what's going on or when to simply keep moving. In the future I'll discuss in detail of how to locate bass, blue cat and crappie in the winter time. I look for certain things for each of these fish species in the winter year in and year out.
Safety Concerns for winter- Okay guys listen, every year someone (a fisherman) dies here in the Ozarks this time of the year. Cold water grabs a hold of your body and you cannot do what you normally would be able to do like swim. Your families rely on you and do not let something you love turn into something that could hurt you. I fish by myself all the time in the winter and it is simply not a good idea. I have to, I work on the water, it's my job but I strongly encourage everyone to take a friend fishing. Fishing with a buddy is always more fun and this time of year he can save your life. Wearing a life jacket is important and nowadays with the inflatable PFD's you hardly know they're on. I use the ones that look like a belt going around your waste that you pull a cord if you fall in the water. I make my customers wear one as a wintertime rule. I understand that the inflatable PFD's that expand when in water can often times prematurely expand in storage. I believe there are some new style brands that only expand after being submerged under water for so long and under so many inches. I believe those are probably the best now but haven't heard how they are really lasting. Take extra time at the boat ramps. They often times have a thin layer of ice from a previous boater. Also with all the extra layers of clothing it is more difficult to get in and out of the boat at the ramp so be careful. Wet feet at the end of the day is one thing, at the beginning of the day can make for a big mistake or at the very least you'll likely catch a cold. The fact is mistakes happen eventually and you can’t let a small misstep become a life changing mistake.
Good luck, good fishing, and let me know if you found this informative. Check my website out for my guide service details and pricing. www.FishingLakeoftheOzarks.com

 

Jack Uxa

Jack's Guide Service

 

December 17, 2012

Crappie fishing has been excellent lately.  They have moved to their deep wintering holes and are in large schools.  Deep brushpiles are the key.  Vertical jigging over deep structure is easy as long as you have a few spots that fit the pattern.   Top of the line electronics don't hurt either!  Winter time is Crappie time here at the Lake.  Just talk with any of the local fisherman hanging out at the tackle stores what they do on their days off.  You don't even have to go out early in the day, you can just wait until the day warms up and then head out.  It won't take very long and you'll be putting together a nice mess of delicious cold water crappie!

Bass fishing has been exciting too.  They are starting to bunch up like they do in the winter time.  When they bunch up like this you might go a long time without finding any active fish and next cove you pull into and load the boat!  It has to do with a few factors such as wind, shade, baitfish, water clarity, and the right type of bank.  The traditional baits like jerkbaits and finesse jigs are working very well.  Many of you have heard about the super hot Alabama rig or a-rig.  Well it's working again and actually very well right now.  Now, it's not magical but it can be pretty impressive on the right day.  It's just like any other bait, you've got to fish it the right way and in the right place.  It has it's days when if you're not throwing it you will be embarrassed at the end of the day at the boat ramp.  I've been primarily using 4inch Berkley Split Belly swimbaits on the back of the rigs.  There are a lot of details and special laws you have to remember.  It's important to have the right equipment to lob such a large offering.  In the past I used big rods but they just weren't big enough.  I just bought a 7'9" heavy Garcia VERITAS rod and it is awesome!  25lb Professional Grade Fluorocarbon is the best, NOT braid! Not for me, and I love braid for a lot of techniques.  Berkley Schooling rigs are the best a-rigs that I've found.  I've made my own in the past but now that you can buy them for $15 that pretty hard to beat.  Good Luck Fishing Everybody and Merry Christmas

Last Chance for Christmas Gift Certificates!!!

   

November 13

We've been having a pretty good white bass run for the last few weeks. Primarily fishing windy points with rocks and some shallow water are the best.  Cloudy days are the best, but sunny days are still good as long as you have some wind to work with.  If you don't have any significant wind don't bother chasing the whites, it's that important.  The whites have been ranging from 1 to 3lbs while the biggest one caught was a hybrid that was about 9lbs.  Light action rods are nice so you can throw the light weight jigs and so the rod can easily bend to absorb the fight these white bass give you.  We've been using the Fenwick River Runner 6'8" light action rods, with 6lb Stren Gold, 3/32 oz jigs paired with Gulp! Jigging Grubs in pearl white or white. You'll have a tremendous amount of fun chasing these guys around the lake this time of the year.  This is about the only time of the year you can really catch them day in day out on the main lake part of Lake of the Ozarks.  Whites are ok to eat, maybe not as good as crappie but what is? The whites have some red meat that you need to shave off as you're cleaning them.  Easy to do as long as you practice it so you don't lose any meat.  Or just catch and release because they are just so much fun to catch.  The number one key is to read the wind and learn how and where it hits the spots the hardest.  Don't waste to much time on one spot either, hit lots of spots, duplication of what worked on the last one on the next point and keep covering water.  One more important secret is to start your retrieve before the lure even hits the water.  That way the lure doesn't get stuck in the rocks and it is in the strike zone for the maximum amount of time.  The white bass fishing should be ending soon so come on down the next windy day you can. 

Crappie fishing has remained solid to good.  I take for granted how consistently great our crappie fishing is.  I know one of the other fishing guides from the Branson/Table rock area even comes up here to crappie fish because our lake is so much better than his area. Once you get the pattern down, it's easy!  Crappie are a fisherman friendly fish meaning that they'll bite when many of the other fish have turned up their noses for the day because of the tough conditions. I tell my customers to pay close attention to the rod and simply and slowly reel steady.  No jigging or extra action needed, save that for the walleye and  trout fishing.  Light jigs heads paired with a crappie tube (Johnson tubes are good), then top it off with a crappie nibble.  Don't get to worked up on colors just make sure it has a little chartreuse in it.  A big secret of mine is a little dab of super glue in-between the jig and tube will make your jigs last 10 times longer!  Just be careful with that stupid super glue, it can make a mess.

Bass fishing went through a real rough stretch during the lake turn over the last month.  The turn over is a big pain the my butt and I'm glad it's over and the bass are biting much better again.  Buzzbaits are about as much fun you can have on the water and every year in November we have some great days for it.  Generally black with a gold blade is my favorite but lately chartreuse and white has been the ticket.  Cover water and keep your eyes open for active shad near the surface.  Early mornings or even during the day if you've got some clouds.  Stay away from the windy or choppy water for your best buzzbait conditions.  Other baits will work then like the spinnerbaits or jigs but not buzzbaits.  Jigs have been working well on the high pressure days.  In particular the more compact jigs 7/16 oz or so.  I have caught some fish on the jerkbaits too but haven't done too much with them yet.  

 

Oct 3, 2012 The Big Bass Bash is coming to town this weekend! There will be a lot of fisherman out on the water to say the least.  That amount of pressure takes a huge toll on catching bass.  The lake might be starting to turn over.  Which also can hurt fishing in some ways and finding clean and clear water will be difficult.  Last year this week it was starting to take hold.  Fishing the river is sometimes better because the water is getting more oxygen. Crappie fishing is not usually effected and can remain excellent.  I caught a pile of them just from my own cove yesterday for dinner last night. 

 

Sept 26, Water temps are slowing falling.  Shad are in the big creeks and are very active.  Warm afternoons the baitfish are near the surface. Gizzard shad and the smaller threadfins are running together in many locations.  A variety of baits are working right now.  Your traditional fall/shad patterns like shallow cranks, compact spinnerbaits, topwater but also a magnum shaky head and a Berkley Power Hawg (green pumpkin). Great bass fishing overall for numbers.  Size hasn't been bad but some days the big ones are going to be hard to find, which is pretty typical for fall is commonly referred to as "fun fishing" because you should be able to catch fish just not always the big ones.  Our big fish have been coming from the Power Hawg fished along and outside of docks with brush. Fished slowly and through the brush on a texas rig.  Shaky heads on rocky points with a little wind are perfect, particularly on the very cold mornings.

We caught 3 limits of crappie yesterday.  Most of our fish came from brush not related to docks.  This is a big change from last month when docks were key.  Darker colors on the cloudy days, brighter colors on the sunny days.  Chartreuse in some part of the jig is important, or a crappie nibble. 

White bass are acting like typical white bass, hear today gone tomorrow.  We've had some good days for them but they aren't really going yet.  At least they're not on the main lake, the rivers might be different. 

 

 

 

August 26, 2012

It always seems to surprise me how the bass will start running early fall patterns before it really turns into fall.  This August has not been the typical hot, dog days or summer.  We have had several fronts come in bringing cool and comfortable weather.  The afternoon highs have been ranging from 80 to 90, typical for Missouri, however the over night lows have been cool.   The cool overnight temps and plenty of cloudy weather has dropped the shallow water temperatures to about 79 degrees bringing the baitfish into the shallow water and the bass have followed.  I've had several successful guide trips the last couple weeks chasing schools of baitfish and the bass are around in the area.  This time of year the bass are somewhat unpredictable and nomadic.  A great example would be that normally a particular shallow water piece of cover has a good history of producing a bass, so you make several good presentations and nothing.  Frustrated you make a long cast out into the middle of the cove to clear a backlash and guess what, you hook up with a bass!

You can pattern the bass by running the big long creeks. Some days the bass  are really shallow other days the bass are just in the middle of the coves relating to docks. Wind is helpful and can make the fishing very good at times with the docks.  Some days you really need the wind for good fishing.  Afternoons are just as good as early mornings and the reason is because the shad are more active and closer to the surface in the afternoons. Depending on what is going on some days when the fish are more on the docks than anything else the short distance high accuracy types of casts are important.  Casting styles like pitching, flipping, skipping, roll casts will help you present your offering in a way the you don't spook to many bass.  Bass that are sometimes as shallow as 10 inches below the surface hiding underneath the dock in the shade.  Keep your eyes open and look for shad and active fish feeding.  Senko's, flukes, topwaters, and crankbaits are my main players right now. 

Crappie fishing is still pretty solid.  We had a couple limits the other day in just over an hour.  Main lake docks with shade and brush by bluffs.  The bridge pilings have also been good and they are so easy to fish because there isn't and brush to worry about.  Blue and white; light purple and clear sparkle tail; or black, orange, and a chartreuse tail have been good for me but other colors will work too I'm sure.  Add a Berkley Crappie nibble instead of wasting time with minnows that just die anyways. 

Just want to take a moment and says Thanks to everyone for another good summer.  It's been a busy summer and I'm glad to have a break right now.  Boat traffic has dropped off drastically (except for next weekend being Labor Day) and the really hot weather is behind us, I hope.  With Bow season coming up I'll be climbing up in a tree soon enough waiting for a nice doe to come wondering by.  Little does she realize a redneck sniper is waiting for her.  The fall fishing season is always pretty nice in September through December as this big lake slowly cools down.  The fall turnover is always a challenge.  It will start on the upper end and make it's way down lake with time.  Luckily since I fish full time we can avoid the bad areas and either run from the rivers or to the rivers.  Also last year below Bagnel dam was excellent for quality bass. 

July 29, 2012     Great crappie fishing!  The crappie have been really consistently great lately.  Just as good as during the spawn for numbers and some good sized crappie in the mornings.  Mornings are the best too, because of the boat traffic the afternoons/evenings have been slower with not as many areas producing.  Crappie nibbles attached to small Johnson crappie tubes with a jig head.  I use a slightly heavier jig head nowadays too. This helps get down deep in a hurry and put more fish in the boat quicker with less time waiting for your jig to sink.  10 to 20 feet deep is the norm depending on fish activity.  Deep docks with shade and brush are the 3 key ingredients right now. 

Bass fishing has continued to be tough.  A few good trips here and there for bass but overall the average fisherman is not going to catch many nice bass right now.  We had an excellent evening trip on the lower Glaize using big Berkley 10 inch worms fishing brush piles in the 15 foot range last week.  And a couple days ago we ran into a pile of bass chasing bait in the back of a cove after a little rain.  Shallow crankbaits and a few small jerkbaits are working too at times.  The early fall baitfish patterns are going to become more prevalent in the weeks to come as we begin to have a few cooler night time temperatures.  Baitfish will move shallow and are easy pickings for the bass.  Gar fishing has been solid.  They love the heat and all the clear water has helped us see the gar easier this year.  Catfishing has been tough except for jug fishing is still producing nice fish. 

 

July 5, 2012

Welcome to the dog days of summer.  100 degree heat for the last 10 days has hurt the fishing.  Lack of current and boat traffic are also not helping.  Bass are difficult. Wacky worms, and Berkley 10 inch worms have been the best lately.   Crappie are good at times, just depends on the day.  We had about 2 dozen in a couple hours in several trips lately.  Blue cat are also biting just fine for the most part however jugging for the big blues is not my favorite way to catch them. Jugging is deadly effective and a great way to bring back a pile of cats for a fish fry. I've been running several morning trips lately and several trips in the evening.  The early trips start about 6am which is cooler with less boat traffic, but the evening trips have been slightly more productive.  Lots of openings in my calendar for short (4hr) trips.  Many people that come to vacation make their plans after they get here to hire a fishing guide.  I'll work you in my schedule and a time when it's convenient for you to make sure you catch fish on your vacation .  Bass, Crappie and Blue Catfish are my target species. Credit Cards accepted! 

 

June 18, 2012

The fish are in their typical summer patterns.  Fishing has been good.  Big bass have been getting harder to find but that is normal for this time of the year. Deep brushpiles and Texas rigged Berkley worms are a summertime standard here on Lake of the Ozarks.  I've been fishing them for a long time here either day or night.  Magnum Shaky heads are working good also but it's a little more of a early morning pattern off long rocky points.  Topwaters and crankbaits are also having their moments.  The thermocline is about 30 feet deep which means the majority of fish will not go deeper than that.  The thermocline is the coolest layer of water that still has sufficient oxygen for fish.  It actually pulls the big catfish shallower since the really deep water doesn't have enough oxygen.  Crappie finally returned from their vacation.  A lot of small crappie but it just depends on the day.  We limited up a day last week when we ran into a pile of them off a dock in 100 feet of water.  All 45 crappie were solid 10 inch fish.  I'd say the best way to catch fish right now is to go blue cat fishing for the average guy heading out.  Anyone can do it, if they use their depth finder.  Bass fishing is fine but coming into a guide trip right now without much bass fishing experience is asking for a learning experience compared to a fish catching kind of guide trip.  The guide trips lately have been 6 hours trips in the morning from 6am to noon.  The evening trips have been from 3-7 or 4-8 depending on fishing cleaning. 

One more quick note is that there are several schools of baby shad running around.  So little tiny baits have been working great on light rods.  Little crankbaits or spinners or whatever have been working good

May 2, 2012

Fishing for bass is finally the way it should be, and that is Great!   A number of circumstances this spring have effected fishing and just as many bad days as good days have left me puzzled.  Go out and do great one day then only to have the dam drop the lake a foot, or front come in, or crazy pressure take over and screw things up all over.  Things have finally stabilized.  Lake temperature has finally started to rise again after basically the last month hovering around 63 degrees.  Warm days and a full lake has lots of bass in the mood for some romance.  I took out some ladies today from Texas who had a really good time throwing plastics towards the bank catching good bass.  Water clarity in some areas is fairly muddy but most of the lake is just slightly more stained than normal. Very good fishing to come in the next week.  After this weekend I still have a few days open next week available for booking a trip. This is the time to take a couple days off work and get in on the peak of the bass spawn. Lower end of the lake and the Glaize have been the best for me. I'm sure the over areas are to turn on momentarily.  

April 26, 2012

Crappie fishing continues to diminish.  There are several small males guarding nests.  After a couple of weeks they should settle into their early summer pattern.  The bass fishing has really picked up.  The water temperature is 68 degrees.  They have moved to the shallows.  Bass fishing should remain good/great for at least the next two weeks.  Plastic worms have been the #1 bait.  Other soft plastics are also producing good fish.  The warm weather should strengthen the spawn in the next couple weeks.  We caught several bass spawning today.  Skipping or other specialized casting techniques really work to catch bass.  These techniques are a lot easier than you might think if you have the right set up.  They help you reach fish that the average fisherman can not access.

April 3, 2012

The most important factor in fishing success right now is the lake level. Several bass and crappie are on beds right now.  If they (U.E) stops dropping the lake level or the lake rises the fish will go nuts.  If they continue to drop the lake fish will remain kind of scattered.  Crappie are spawning like crazy at moments in spots a lot closer to the main lake than your typical spawning locations.  Most years crappie will spawn on a shallow brush pile behind a dock in the back of a cove this year I'm finding them on the first dock towards the mouth of a big cove, still behind a dock and still spawning and as black as black gets.  Very aggressive males and the afternoons are better than the mornings.  The lake  level in the morning in dropping and by the afternoon stabilizes. Bass are spawning too but not as easy and more random. I know of several males guarding the nest and a few pairs of male and female bass locked on beds.  Drop shots are working right now, really about any lure is working at times.  Every day has been different and you must stay open minded.  Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, topwater, shaky heads. Water temps are in the 70's now.  I have worked in the fishing industry since 1997 and have never seen water temps this warm and probably will never see water temps this warm this early again in my life.  I bet with some cloud cover the next few days the topwater bite will be dynamite!

   

 

 

March 22, 2012  The bite is doing much better with all this rain.  The Glaize and the Niangua rivers are dirty, the rest of the lake really isn't too bad.  Some creeks are off color but have already cleared quite a bit.  The lake rose quite a bit today and heavy generation is scheduled.  Crappie are still pretty easy to catch a limit, we limited up again today on my trip.  Bass are doing better too, the spinnerbait bite was off the hook last night.  The water is clear enough to run any pattern you prefer.  Alabama rigs to cranks, blades, topwaters, and jerkbaits are all working.  Fish the conditions, if it's windy and clear conditions fish a jerkbait, windy and cloudy equals spinnerbait, clouds no or light wind chunk a crank, or topwater.  There is going to be a lot of fishing pressure on the water again this weekend.  I haven't seen any bass the last couple days but I imagine some will start spawning again this weekend. 

March 20, 2012  Man the bass fishing has been tough!  The lake has been turning over and I hope this rain today is going to re-energize the oxygen levels.  A fall turnover is a yearly issue, but a spring turnover is a very strange occurrence and most years it does not happen.  Now bass fishing is good in the right spots at the right time. Your whole tackle box can and will work some days.  This past Saturday on a guide trip we found one small pocket of bass with size ranging from 1 pound all the way up to 5 pounds just sitting there.  Sight fishing right now is as productive as anything, even topwaters are working.  Typically water temps are in the 40's and topwaters are a joke this time of the year.  However this year we've had more days in the 70's and even several days in the 80's that has brought the lake temperature up in a hurry.  Things just need to settle down and stabilize and I imagine in a few more days (like by the time you read this everything will change) I'll try to post up a report as soon as I can.  Today some of the creeks and rivers muddied up overnight.  The main channel and most of the big coves are still clear.  The lake's crappie population is doing rather well.  The little Niangua and Tan Tara A area are doing exceptionally well for crappie.  I had a crappie guide trip yesterday and we limited up.  Most of our fish came from about 6 feet deep over brush.  Some crappie are even shallower.  Some of the spots that I'm seeing bass at I've seen crappie at too. Catfish are doing fine also.  We caught two really nice ones last week over 20lbs drifting shad. We released the big ones and invited the medium sized ones home for dinner.  My April calendar is pretty booked, especially if you wanted a full day trip.  May is getting more and more booked.  Half day trips are very doable in the evening if you just want to go out for a few hours.

On April 28th MDA is holding a tournament and I'd like to see some of you there.  It's going to be a great event and we're going to help raise a lot of money.  There is going to be a lot of fish caught and that time of the year is magical on the water.  Check out their website for more details. www.hsoil.com/mda/

  

 

March 1, 2012

Water temperatures are really starting to warm up on the Lake of the Ozarks.  Continued warm weather though the winter has really made a difference and this winter the lake temp never bottomed out.  Water temps are as warm as 55 degree in some of the upper reaches or creeks like Linn creek, Gravois, and Niangua rivers. The majority of the main lake is 46 degrees and fishing for me has been more productive where the two areas meet. The upper ends of the rivers have a lot of dirty water that warms quickly and has huge schools of shad in the off colored water.  Sea gulls are gorging themselves along with other fish species I'm sure.  I've caught a few fish in the dirty water but not as many I you would have thought.  A few fat pre-spawn white bass, a few crappie.  The better bass fishing has been in the clearer water with jerkbaits.  Crankbaits are starting to take some fish, and the Alabama rig is doing well also.  The jig bite has remained a solid method of taking fish.  It is doing particularly well on the sunny, calm days.  The last couple days I had a couple guide trips and there was a few times when I said "Wow, look at all the shad on the fish finder!"  and then within a few seconds one of my clients hooks up.  Very cool to see such a direct correlation between predator and prey relationship. We've had a lot of wind days too which has made it challenging in some parts of the lake, but luckily on this lake there is always coves and places to hide from the most intense of the winds.  Gust over 50 mph yesterday! Tablerock lake a few hours south of us was hit by tornadoes.  My thoughts go out to the families and businesses in that region.    

February 4, 2012    Boat Show!! 

Anyone is the St. Louis area that has questions or wants to meet me in person, I am going to be having a booth at the St. Louis Boat Show next week.  Stop by and say Hi at booth #1844.  I will be selling Jack's Guide Service Gift Certificates for Valentine's Day along with a couple of rods and reels. 

We had another warm week here at the lake.  Monday I concentrated on crappie and caught them pretty good.  Lots of keepers but I didn't find any big ones that I've been catching.  Tuesday, I had a gentleman wanting to target blue cat.  I haven't been doing much catfishing lately so I was a little nervous.   I was rather surprised to how well they were biting.  We caught several, low numbers overall but high quality big blue cats.  We were setting up off from stationary or fixed objects and also did some drifting.  Shad were a little difficult to catch at first but after a little hunting around we found them in about 30 feet of water in big schools.  We used both threadfin and gizzard shad.  The fish preferred the threadfin which is unusual, but happens in the winter.  All good fish roughly the size of your arm with big bellies.  You can tell they've been feeding well all winter.  The shad kill has still not really happened which makes for excellent fishing for all the species.

Bass fishing has been good most days on jerkbaits and jigs.  Thursday was the best day by far when we went way, way up the Niangua river.  We caught 38 bass!  38 is a good spring day much less to have that many in February.  It was great to say the least.  Good quality fish, but no giants.  About half of our fish were keepers.  Other days on the lake have been fine with fewer but more big fish than the day way up the Niangua.  Just to let you know we were so far up the river we caught several smallies on Thursday.  I'm planning on another smallmouth trip on another river (secret spot) this weekend.  Winter smallmouth can offer some excellent action if you find them.  The same can be said with all wintertime fish.  Winter fish school up so much that many people struggle to find them.  Once you find them, there are dozens of them stacked together down there.  That is the time to go slow and methodically pick them apart one by one. 

If you miss me at the St. Louis Show I will be at several Bass Pro Shop events later this month. 

 

 

January 25, 2012

Fishing has been just fine lately on the lake (for January). Some days the bass are biting real well, other days have been real tough. You know how bass bite the best with clouds and wind? Well on this lake that is not always true. There are many different times in the year when I'm doing the best if I have sun. It usually correlates with a deep water pattern, deep brush, or dock pattern. However this is a time when a mixture of clouds and sun is the best. A manageable amount of wind is preferred also. Bright sunshine with no wind means tough bass fishing. Those are ideal conditions for crappie however. Right now I'm really only using a couple baits for bass. I’ve been using a Jerkbait for the most part and a jig just to change it up. Drop shot, shaky heads, crankbaits can work but have not caught a lot of fish lately. Jerkbaits are what everyone uses in the wintertime and as the name implies we jerk, jerk, pause, jerk, manor. Change up your cadence to match the mood of the fish. The colder the water the slower you work the bait. Several guys will wait up to a minute in between jerks. I've never been one of those guys to work a jerkbait that slowly. My typical cast lately takes about 2-3 minutes to get back. Right now the water temp is 48-44 degree range. With these relatively mild water temperatures (usually by now 39) fishing can be very good. As the water temps drop more the shad die off will start. Thousands of dying shad are easy pickings for all the game fish. It can help fishing and it can certainly hurt fishing just as easily. I have seen a few shad dying this winter, but not like most winters. We have been blessed with a very mild winter so far. After a cold couple of days this weekend is expected to return to the 50's again.

There are two main ways to fish a jerkbait. The first way is to fish points or creek channel banks. Cast to the rocky shore line and get the bait to the desired depth. Twitch your rod tip with some slack in your line to make it snap similar to working a topwater spook style bait. You want to have some decent water depth below your boat. These fish are generally suspended and you're going to be calling them up to feed. Fishing windy or shady areas make it easier for the bass to move up to your bait. Windy points can be main lake or secondary points. Secondary points are my favorite. Creek channel banks are steep rocky banks with a 45 degree angle to them. They are great for Jerkbaits or a jig this time of the year. Find a stretch without a lot of docks so you can make some long casts down them. Good chunk rock with wind and shade with some baitfish in the area is a killer combination.

Jerkbaiting brushpiles is another technique often used on Lake of the Ozarks. For this technique it is best if you fish brushpiles you already know about. You want to make specific casts to the brushpile and work your bait slowly by the submerged tree. Working your lure just above a specific spot helps you be more patient in between your jerks. An added bonus this time of the year is the giant crappie that can be caught while you are bass fishing. Crappie love brushpiles and the 4 inch long Jerkbaits can trigger some true slab sized crappie.

The best rods are medium action 6 to 6'6". Your rod length changes for how tall you are. I'm 5'10" tall so a 6'2 or 6'3" rod is ideal. My favorite rod is a 6'3" medium action Garcia Vendetta. You will want to fish a good baitcasting reel also. Jerkbaits can be troublesome to cast compared to most lures with a baitcasting setup. I use a Garcia Revo SX or STX to help eliminate backlashes. I can cast a long ways and these reels are very smooth. Spinning rods are also nice for jerkbaits and offer a change in the wrist action. After several days of Jerkbaiting your wrists can become tired and a spinning rod can be a nice change. 8, 10lb line is what is suggested to help you maximize lure depth. Plus clearer water is preferred and lighter line with help you get more bites. 6lb line is not out of the question with a spinning rod. Some of the brands of Jerkbaits that I have caught fish with this winter are Megabass, Lucky Craft, Lucky Strike, Smithwick Rogue, Berkley Frenzy, and Sebile. I prefer the Berkey frenzy jerkbaits on spinning rods because they cast much easier. The high dollar ($30) Megabass are being thrown on heavier line.

Have you ever wondered why some of these baits are so expensive? The reason is the bass literally study these baits 10 times as long as look at a typical lure. We have to fish slowly because of the cooler water temperatures. The fish learn obvious color schemes and even learn particular baits after months and months of regular use. That is why companies like Megabass and Lucky Craft have been so popular for so many years. Dynamic and lifelike colors or one of a kind paint jobs make a big difference when it come to jerkbaits. More than any other bait it is important to make your bait a little different than what everyone else is throwing. Red hooks, gill slits, finger nail polish, Spike-it lure dye, even permanent markers can easily make a difference for you without spending $30 on a bait. Berkley Frenzy work just fine for me after tweaking the bait the way I like.


January 1, 2012

I ended last year the right way with a nice warm day on the water catching fish.  Throwing Jerkbaits for bass is a well known Ozark winter pattern that if done the right way is a real blast.  Yesterday was one of those days, some short bass, a drum, a white, and a good handful of keeper bass.  The lake rose several feet last week, but thankfully did not change the water clarity. The large floating logs and debris have cleared away.  Some big bass, small small ones, just a mixed bag. The dam was pulling quite a bit of water, I imagine they will start pulling again soon.  Water temperature is 47 for the most parts of the lake.  Rogues, MegaBass, RC Sticks have all been working for me.  A variety of colors will work.  Shad pattern for sunny days, darker colors for cloudy days. 

I started this year the right way too, by catching fish!  Nothing to serious this morning, but I went out by myself since the crappie fishing has been so fun.  We've been catching some real giant crappie too.  Two pound crappie and lots of normal sized crappie have been biting real well off brush.  Some spots have been very deep, in fact the other day on a guide trip we had the boat over 36 feet of water just pulling one after another in the boat. 

Get out there everyone! Dress warm, enjoy the nice weather before it turns really cold for good.  The difference in 47 degree water and 37 degree water is huge.  Fish activity level will drop very low.  Shad die offs will be easy pickings for all the game fish and that is hard to compete with.  We have more good weather in the near future so take advantage of it. 

October 26,  2011    Fishing is pretty fun right now.  Cloudy days are very productive for largemouth.  The surprising part is that my most productive lure has been a plastic worm.  Generally spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, crankbaits are the typical fall producers.  Those baits are working and will continue to have a significant role over the next month.  Berkley 10inch worms and Senko style worms are still producing the best quality fish.  White bass and small hybrids are a blast on light tackle on the main lake points on windy days.  Berkley Gulp! grubs and in-line spinners are all you need.  Sunny days without winds have been tough, very tough. Crappie fishing has been nothing special, but still productive. 

 

October 13, 2011  The main lake turned over the last couple weeks.  Looks like things are getting back to normal now.   Turn overs are not fun, some of the toughest fishing of the whole year.  I'm glad it's over, and I hope it's really over.  It forced me to expand more and take all my guide trips on the river which worked out just fine.  The rivers are quiet and we caught some really nice sized bass down there.  Most days you would not get a lot of bites but you would hardly ever see a bass under 2 pounds.  2-5lbs was the norm down there.  It was a great way to spend the last week and a half and keep my clients catching fish.  Plastic worms on texas rigs or shaky heads for the most with some topwater.  Crappie are doing fine, not as good but we can still go out and catch a good mess of them for dinner.  

 

September 9, 2011

Water temperatures are starting to drop with the cool nights lately.  Water temps were around the 93 degree range a little while ago, but now they are down to 80 and slowly falling.   By Christmas time the water temperatures will be around 55.  Bass fishing has picked back up recently after a pretty rough stretch.   I'm basically fishing early fall patterns right now. Shad and baitfish are going to be extremely important for the next month. Shallow flats with bait and some isolated cover will be my first choice. Docks with wind and bait nearby will be my second pattern choice. Topwaters, cranks, swimbaits, jerkbaits (hard or soft). Think fast, fast, slow, fast, then kill it almost like a jerkbait retrieve but will all the baits.  Really concentrate on triggering the strikes. 

The crappie are really easy right now. (On the lower end of the lake at least) They are grouped up in large schools. Deep docks, or deep structure with help from your electronics. Not 15 inch crappie, but lots and lots of keepers.   Catfish are still biting pretty good and unfortunately I'm getting addicted to jugging.  I just can't deny the results and effectiveness of the jugs.  I like to rod-n-reel fish but the jugs offer such quick action and so many big fish.  A couple days ago me and a client easily caught another beautiful stringer of big blues.   Only problem is catching fresh bait some days when the bait has disappeared.
 

July 28, 2011        Crappie fishing and catfishing jugging have been great.  Both are species thrive in deep water which is a big part of successful fishing in the extreme heat.  Bass fishing has been brutal lately.  Small bass are pretty easy off docks but the big girls are hard to come by during the daytime.  To catch bass now fish docks with wind.  Or follow the masses of baitfish in what would normally be considered an early fall pattern.  

Crappie are in big schools suspended under docks with brush over deep water.  They are as easy to catch now just like they were in the spring.  Even easier, but not as many giant crappie, mostly keeper fish. 

Catfishing has been awesome!  The best catfishing of the whole year.  Last week we had several over the 30lb range.  Jugging for the most part.  Fresh shad for bait otherwise you are wasting your time.   Use your electronics to find the schools of catfish.  Everyone thinks catfish are bottom feeders and randomly roam the bottom.  That is channel catfish, I target blues.  We caught a blue last week suspended down 8ft over 40 feet of water that weighed 37lbs

 

July 2, 2011    Technical issues with my website have caused the loss of several pictures.  If you have some pictures from our recent trip that have not shown up yet on the client pictures page send them to me and I'll repost them.  July 4th weekend is here with all the heavy traffic, early morning trips and evening trips are a must.  July is a very busy month here at the lake for boat traffic. Once middle part of August comes around boat traffic will diminish. Night fishing is pretty good with plastic worms Texas rigged.  I like the Berkley 10inch Black and Blue and a few other colors.  I've been catching fish with those baits on this lake for years and years.  Generally speaking fishing has slowed down.  Two weeks ago it was basically the best of the whole year for big bass.  Now, it's not horrible just you're having to reach  inside the brushpiles and pull out bass the hard way.  Experienced fisherman can still thrive.  Beginner fisherman will still catch fish on docks.  Crappie fishing has picked back up big time because of the lack of current recently.  Not the great average size we routinely saw in the spring but catching keeper crappie is still satisfying.  We had 30 plus this morning and three in the 13 inch range.  Deep docks with brush and a bit of shade is good.    We took about half of the fillets over to The Hide Out restaurant and had them fry up our fresh catch.  Catfish have been spawning up the river for a while and have been slow for me.  This should get a lot better shortly.  Their best time of the year is usually the end of July early August.  White bass have not been a significant factor yet this year.  If heavy generation returns fishing will get hot again.  Downstream flooding on the Missouri river means light generation through the dams.  Right now brushpiles are going to be key to catching quality fish.  

 

June 8, 2011        The bass have finished spawning and are feeding on main lake points to regain some body weight.  Swimbaits, football jigs, big texas rigs, shaky heads are all working.  Long extended points, spots that stick way out in the current are the ticket.  Utilizing your fishfinders and mapping systems to locate key deep structure is key.  Making long casts with braided line or fluorocarbon will significantly help you reach the fish and feel what's going on down deep.  Another benefit of those lines are less stretch for better hook sets.  Strong hook sets are needed and several of my customers this week have lost a few fish because of less than perfect hook sets.  I really like this time of the year because average fisherman never find these spots.  Most fisherman just fish along the bank chunking and winding.  Many of these deeper spots are several casts away from shore.  Another aspect is that these fish often times are schooling fish.  Once you trigger one fish the rest can turn on and get active.  Bottom contact and feel for your bait takes a little bit of concentration.  Feel around for high spots, rock piles, brush, anything to hold fish and then slow down and make repeated casts to that little spot.  Bigger rods and heavy line is encouraged to deliver the baits and slam home the hook into big bass.  This pattern usually lasts until about the end of June.  After that big bass become harder and harder to catch until the water temperature starts to drop in the fall. 

Crappie have been fair on main lake docks with current.  Weeding through several fish to bring back a mess of keepers.  But at least we're still catching keepers, most people don't realize you can still catch crappie away from the spring and the fall.  Current is our friend, learn how to use it to reach spots otherwise not reachable.   

I just posted a bunch of recent pictures to show off some of our great catches.   A few monster catfish, several great bass, and just people learning how to become a better fisherman.  Water levels are normal, water clarity is normal, water temp is jumping up to almost 80.  Most morning trips are already booked for June, evening trips are available.  Any questions give me a call or email me jack@fishinglakeoftheozarks.com

May 21, 2011

The bass spawn is continuing on Lake of the Ozarks.  The main lake has been great with lots of limits being caught.  The gravois arm is past their peak with numerous smaller males left up shallow.  The rest of the lake is fishing great.  Pitching around docks, skip casting under docks, shaky head everywhere else.  A lot of rain but the main lake still has normal clarity.  I'm sure some of the rivers are muddy.  We just won a small tournament and almost all the bass I saw weighed in had bloody tails.  Big bass are getting harder to come by for most tournament fisherman.  Berkley heavyweight worms, floating worms, jigs, shaky head worms are my main baits.  Topwaters are doing great on cloudy rainy days.  Frenzy poppers slowly twitched along spawning areas can produce some big bass right now.  The rainy days have been great for topwater fishing.  Topwaters aren't generally a great producer on this lake most of the time.  Right now is the exception.  The majority of the bass are shallow right now and feeding.  The low light conditions make them more comfortable in shallow water and willing to chase down a topwater.  

May 3, 2011

Many of the ozark lakes are flooded resulting in poor fishing.  This is not the case for Lake of the Ozarks.  Our lake levels are normal to slightly below normal.  The Niangua arm has some heavily stained water.  The rest of the lake has remained clear.   No generation scheduled for the near future.  Water temps have remained steady for several weeks allowing the crappie spawn to linger on and on.   Some days I'm killing them super shallow behind docks, other days I'm having to fish deeper water to get our limits. While some bass have been spawning for a while the majority have not spawned yet.  This will change shortly.  Several days with highs in the 70's will rise the lake's surface temperature into the high 60's and the crappie will slow and the bass will really get hot.   Carolina rigs have been my best technique for catching good keepers.  Shaky head Chigger Craws have been the best for taking big fish in the 5-6 lb range.  I actually have several days available for guide trips this month.  With stable water conditions and stable weather heading our way the fish will react very well.  May is always a great month to fish Lake of the Ozarks.    

 

April 18, 2011      Crappie started spawning last week.  Several, several limits have been caught and filleted to bring home for dinner.  I look for crappie fishing to remain good for a little bit longer and then drop off.  In May they will regroup on deep docks and fishing will again be good.  Bass are starting to spawn.  Carolina rigged Berkley Lizards and Chigger Craws on shakey heads are the ticket for sunny calm days.   Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, chatterbaits, anything really, has been working the cloudy windy days.  Just fish the conditions, and be ready to switch, fish the moment.  The majority of the lake is in the low sixties.  The lake level has been raising for a while and should continue.    Bass fishing quantity will pick up even more in May, but now is the time to have a chance at a big fish.  The last four trips someone caught a fish over 5lbs.  

 

April 1, 2011   This is going to be a quick report.  Fishing is awesome!  The last few days I've caught them on crankbaits one day, spinnerbaits another day, and jerkbaits today.  Crappie are going nuts! They are stupid easy right now.  Get out here quick because they won't stay like this for long.  They dropped the lake several feet this week.   It's a good time to learn new brushpiles.  The water is about as low as it gets.  Pb2, Shawnee bend boat ramps are still fine, but many ramps are not so be careful.  

March 23, 2011         Well, it's time to go fishing.  Everyone is getting the itch to get out on the water.  Warm days and warming water temps have got fish moving shallow and feeding pretty good.   Water temps on the main lake this afternoon were around 53 degrees, and I'm sure the river sections are even warmer.   I've spent a lot of time lately up the Glaize, then up the Gravois last weekend, and the last 3 days around Tan Tar A.  I'm putting some fish in the boat, but have yet to find anything that has lasted for more than a few days.   Fishing some days is pretty good while other days we've struggled.   A variety of baits are possible now that the water temperatures have risen to around 50 degrees.  Crankbaits (wiggle warts) are working for lots of guys, crawfish patterns, plus orange and firetiger has been good in the off colored water.  I'm not a crankbait guy, I use them to cover water quickly parallel casting down the bank with the trolling motor on high, looking for an active fish, then I'll slow down with other baits.   Jigs in both the finesse style and the full size have produced some fish particularly in the back sections of coves on creek channel banks.   Spinnerbaits are starting to catch some fish and I would guess this weekend the tournaments might be won on a  spinnerbait.   Jerkbaits have still been my best bait for action and some decent quality fish.  The water has plenty of color to it right now but it's not so muddy that you can't still fish a jerkbait.   I lost a giant (over 6lbs) last week on a jerkbait right at the boat.  At least I wasn't in a tournament, thank God.   We've got a big cool down for the next 5 days or so that will effect some of these fish for sure.  I imagine the number of bites will go way down, but you'll get some quality bites that might make for some of the biggest stringers of the year.   The lake is very high for this time of the year and they might not be able to do much in the way of a winter draw down.  Heavy generation has been going on for many weeks, and will continue for several more I imagine.   You can use this higher water to your advantage and get into some spots that most years you can't normally get into until much later in the year.  But keep in mind that nothing kills a bite faster than muddy water fish that can't be on the bank.  Reasons they can't be on the bank can be they lowered the lake, big cold front, even cloudy weather can pull them off the bank.   If you have any of those conditions your best bet is to back off and throw a jerkbait.   Head to the lower part of the lake or river section to find clearer water.  Sunny warm conditions are the opposite, head to the banks and keep checking your temperature gauge to find the warmest water you can.  

Dogwoods and Redbud trees started blooming two days ago!  Several flowers and Easter Lilly's have also popped up lately.  Several crappie trips lately and some shallow crappie are being caught.  Most trips have caught several fish, but only a few where everyone limited up.  Some days these crappie are right on the bank.   Other days they are scattered just off the bank.   All sections (Gravois, Glaize, mid-lake) have produced well at times.  Minnows, jigs, minnow/jig combo, even bobbers are putting fish in the boat.  Keep your Chartreuse crappie nibbles handy in that off colored water. 

I haven't done much catfishing lately.  I know they're biting though, I went out fishing with another guide, Steve Brown and we have a good day up the Osage.  Catching them super shallow in like 5 feet of water.  We had one about 25lbs, and a bunch of eaters.  Paddlefish snagging opened last week and I hear the action is pretty good.  I haven't been myself yet but with all the current in the lake it should be pretty good.  Last year was horrible early in the season and was fair at best even late in the season.  This year looks to be different all ready.  Typically the last couple weeks of April are the best. 

 February 23, 2011     A lot of crazy weather lately, we went from a blizzard a few weeks ago to 70 degree days here recently.  It seemed like forever until the ice finally broke up.  I did a guide trip down on the Osage River below Bagnel Dam in which we caught close to 20 bass all on jerkbaits.  A fair number of fish but you've got to pay attention and work at it.  Once again they are grouped up this time of the year, half of those fish came from one little stretch of bank.  Below the dam and on the main lake the water temperature is 39.  I heard a report of some of the upper river water temps jumping up but have not seen that myself.  Finesse jigs, soft jerkbaits, and suspending jerkbaits are the main baits right now for bass.  Days with some wind and some clouds really help the bite.  Day time temperatures for the next week are going to be around 50 degrees.  I happy with that too, looks like the really cold weather has moved north for the most part.   Rains will bring us warmer lake water just hope it doesn't muddy the lake up to much.   I haven't spent a ton of time on the main lake fishing for bass since the ice went off.  That will change here in a couple days.  All the boat ramps are open, all the ice is gone, shad are still dying making for a decent jerkbait bite.  The lake level is pretty low so be careful.  Many small boat ramps are problematic this time of year.  It's also a good time of year to find uncovered shallow brushpiles with the low water. 

Crappie are biting good too.  On this past Sunday I had a guide trip for a half day, we started at 7am went till 11am, we brought back 44.  One shy of our limit!  It was my mistake, we were on the fish good enough to have quickly caught one more fish, but I made a mistake.  Still 44 is wonderful, all this in just a morning trip.  They are just stacked up in a couple spots I found while practicing for the trip.  Minnows and jigs are both working, I prefer jigs usually.  Fish around 20 ft deep around brushpiles, work your baits slowly, even hold them still for a while.  Sometimes you've got to warm them up first before you really start catching them.  Then there will be a little flurry of bites for a while.  As always crappie tend to bite light so pay attention too everything that is going on down there.  Try to work your baits around the brush, above the brush, hold steady, slowly reel, try a jig and minnow, drop shots work good for crappie too.  I usually will have two minnows or two tube jigs on a small hook, then a decent sized weight so it drops quickly.  Some docks are producing most are not.  Put your time in and you'll find your fish.  Then throw out the anchor and sit tight.  You'll get bit.  Go slow and pay attention, and good luck fishing.

 

February 7, 2011  Not much of a report because the lake has been frozen for a week.  We had some really warm weather before that and we caught a handful of fish.  I caught a limit of crappie off a brushpile outside of PB2.  They were in 20 feet of water eating jigs.  You had to hold it motionless.  I had a guide trip with a couple guys the day before and we lucked into about a dozen bass on jerkbaits.  Couple over 3 pounds, I was pleased and a little surprised.  Bass are grouped up now, you can catch your limit in one spot.  It helps you go slow.  Brushpiles are definitely still holding some bass.  Quite a bit of ice on the lake in some spots.  I was reeling in a crappie and it got off my hook at the boat,  but instead of getting away it was stuck on a chunk of floating ice!  We had to help it off because the ice chunk was so big.  It was quite a sight.  Warm weather this coming weekend might break up the ice.  It looks pretty thick right now.  We had 19-20 inches of snow during the blizzard.  A few docks went down around the lake.  I know the Lodge and Port-a-cima lost docks had trouble.  Check it out   http://www.lakeexpo.com/

Sport and boat show season is here.  I've recently been to Collinsville Il, Davenport IA, Des Moines IA, St. Roberts this past weekend.  St. Louis Boat show this weekend (maybe), then Lake of the Ozarks is having one the 19, 20, then Bass Pro Shops Spring Classic in Columbia MO the following weekend.  So if you're one of my past clients come by and say hi.   

 

 

January 6, 2011        Happy New Year!

This has been the best winter fishing in several years.  The lake has fished extremely stable with water levels remaining the similar and the lake is remarkable clear, helping the fish remain on the same patterns to find them in the same spots day after day.  Even though the water temps are low they are not so extremely cold that the fish have become dormant.  Plus it helps that I've been out fishing quite a bit lately.  In the winter is when I research the lake in detail.  It's a lot of time with the Side Imagining and looking around for new hot spots.  It is part of the "homework" that I do to make me a better fisherman.   Since I don't have a regular job and guiding is my full time job, this is the time of year I research, scout, practice, and learn new areas, spots, techniques.  Recently one of the things I have been working on is winter time catfishing.  After hearing about it for a couple years I have finally puts the pieces of the puzzle together and am catching the tar out of them.   Yesterday we caught 20 good sized blues.  See picture below.  We limited up in 2 hours!  It's so easy now that I figured it out the small changes you make for this time of year.  Those blue catfish are fat too, they have been feeding good this winter. 

Crappie fishing has remained good too.  I didn't know it but the last few years the crappie population peaked and then declined.  Lots of people struggled big time last spring to catch any number of decent crappie.  I still had some good spots that produced for my clients but that's only because I spend like everyday on the water.  Most people were struggling to catch the bigger keepers to bring home, small short fish were common everywhere.   I realized that crappie grow pretty quick because those little dinky 7 inch crappie from the spring were now all keepers in the fall.  So now and through the spring we will continue to see lots and lots of crappie.  This year will be very very productive.  Lots of limits will be invited home to dinner, however fewer numbers of giant crappie will be caught.  I had a limit just the other day from one dock slip.   

Bass fishing has not been bad either.  Jerkbaits fished along windy banks have been producing some nice fish.  Weighted to suspend or slowly sink Smithwick Rogues, MegaBass 110's, or Flicker Shads will also work.  The retrieve is jerk, pause, jerk pause, wait, wait more, then jerk again.  The longer you can wait in between jerks the better.  Just about any windy point, or steep bank will work but it's better if you have some shad schools near by.  The shad have not started dying yet, but they will soon enough.  I know they are not feeling very good because when I catch them for catfish bait they look horrible.  Jigs are working too, but I have put the jig rod down for the most part because the jerkbait/stickbait bite can be a lot of fun.  Usually when you catch one, they is a bunch of them there.  So try to slow down pay attention. 

After years of being cold I finally found something that really works to keep you warm.  It's the Arctic Shield line of clothing.   No sponsored deal or anything the stuff just works great.  Not cheap stuff but it makes a big difference compared to the old winter clothing like  a Carhart jumpsuit.  Plus if your feet ever get cold they make these booties that go over your shoes and really work great.  They look silly as can be but your feet won't be cold.  I'm still comfortable down to about 15 degrees.  Any colder than that and I don't need to be fishing anyways!

 

 

December 8, 2010  A good topwater bite has been going on here the last couple of weeks.  Either a spook style topwater or a buzzbait worked slowly have been working at times very well.  These cloudy cool days have been perfect for a good topwater bite.  I don't know how long it will last because it is a very fickle time of year.  Big cold fronts have already hit us several times this year and these fish know winter is just around the corner.  Luckily the water temp has not dropped to the point where it makes fishing tough.  There have been a couple days with high wind that the spinnerbait bite has been the best.  Last week, on a guide trip, we got into a school of hybrids.  Caught most of them on spinnerbaits.  A jig bite along the bluffs has also been producing bass.  I'm typically fishing this way if we have a bright sky and less active fish.  The bluffs offer deep water close to cover and a way for them to get shallow.  Stickbaits/Jerkbaits are starting to produce.  This will be the predominant pattern once winter really sets in after Christmas.   It depends on the weather and the water temp.  When the water temp gets below 40 degrees fishing can be tough, it just depends on the day.  Crappie fishing is usually still productive and I predict this winter will be great.  The last couple years the crappie population has actually been low, but now it has rebounded big time.  I am still running guide trips and offer guide trips through the winter.  I prefer have the temperature above freezing if we can.  Dress warm and pick the days out of the week that are the most comfortable.  We're still catching fish, so don't be afraid to brave the chilly weather.

 

October 25, 2010        Fishing has been slow for bass the last couple weeks with much of the lake turning over.  The lake has been getting back on track here recently.  Spinnerbaits, topwater, and a few cranks are my best baits.  Fishing extremely shallow or extremely deep has produced some fish during the turn over.  It looks now as if it is finished.  The largemouth are biting again on windy points or steep banks, or even bluffs.   Some fish are still in the backs of coves chasing shad.  The warm fall so far has held the water temp around 70.  Don't be afraid of cold fronts this time of year, often times bass do just fine in the fall with a cold front.  Crappie fishing has been excellent for several weeks now.   Numerous limits of crappie just about every day.  No particular crappie jig color , just add a crappie nibble.  Mostly brushpiles near the main channel.   Crappie have very tasty fillets and winter is coming so stock the freezer now!  White bass fishing has also been good.  With all the wind this past weekend really got them going.  This is going to be a short lived fall feeding frenzy.  It will be over in the next couple weeks.  Shallow points with wind or flats in the backs of coves.  Small cranks, spinners, pop-n jig, have been working good.  Go limit up on crappie in the morning then get a bunch of whites in the afternoon.  You don't even have to wake up early for the fish right now.  Midday has been the most productive lately.    

 

Sept 13, 2010        Fall is a great time to get on the water.   During the week the lake is very quiet.  Fishing is pretty good and should remain solid for a while.  Daytime temps are in the low 80's to mid 70's.  The afternoon/evening bite has been the best for bass.  The morning has been better for crappie.  Had a guide trip the other day where we all three limited up on crappie in under 3 hours.  Crappie fishing has actually been great.  Not huge crappie but lots and lots of keepers.  Once again these crappie are the best eating fish I know of.  They are biting at a variety of depths, some deep some shallow, some around docks some just around brush.  For those of you not familiar with hiring a fishing guide I bring fillet knives and storage baggies for the fillets.  I've got lots of experience and can fillet a crappie in under a minute.  They are easy to catch if you're in the right spot, and that is my job.  There are several spots around the lake that have been producing, the dam, lodge of four seasons, tan tar a, my area (31mm). 

Bass fishing tournaments started back up now that it is past memorial day weekend.  Bass are following shad to the shallows up the creeks and coves.  Shad are being chased towards the surface baits such as topwaters, cranks, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits.  All your typical shad/baitfish/fall baits are working.  Soft plastics such as jerk shads, 10in worms, heavy weight Berkley senkos are catching the bulk of the fish.  It's more about right cove, right cast and triggering a strike.  The bass have plenty to eat, heck all they have to do is yawn and 2 shad will swim in their mouth.  Docks, flats, creek channels, any isolated cover or just the schools of shad itself is enough cover to hide a bass.  Accurate and quiet casting is a key to triggering a strike.  If you come down to the lake try to come down during the week.  The weekends have a lot of pressure, fishing pressure and it can really negatively affect the bass almost like a severe cold front.  The surprising thing is cold fronts in the fall are really just fine and don't usually mess up the fishing.  

Catfish have been solid during the rainy days.  White bass season is almost here!  I can't wait.  I love this time of the year. 

 

 

 

 

August 15, 2010  After a tough couple of weeks the fishing has picked back up.  Largemouth bass are still slow but if you're a guy who has some bass fishing experience you can still catch a few.   The heat wave has broken finally, but the water temps are still in the 90's.  I've been real busy doing lots of guiding trips many days 2 a day.  Now some kids are back in school so the water traffic is cooling off during the week.  Bass fishing has a number of different patterns to run deep plastic worms on points and brush piles, suspended bass off docks with wind, or even going to the mud flats in just a couple feet of water fishing shallow isolated cover.  Cranking and using a big worm to trigger a reaction strike.   Crappie fishing is actually very good right now!?  This past week we had 8 different trips of 20-25 keepers or more crappie.  Not a lot of big ones but this time of year I'm not being to picky, if it's a keeper we're going to invite home to dinner.  Deep brush close to the main channel or going down below the dam (Bagnel) and fishing trees.  White bass/ hybrids are always hit or miss.  We had a really good evening trip this past week for them when the wind really started blowing.  Jigging spoons and topwaters.  We also caught a few of them down below the dam.  The water temp below the dam is 84.  That is almost 10 degrees cooler than the main lake in the afternoon.   Catfish have been very good at times too.  Jigging spoons have been taking a surprisingly high number of catfish lately.  They must be biting pretty good to eat so many artificial baits.  Some mornings are tough, the afternoon can be good, but some rather good fishing can still be had this time of year.  Just need a little luck and to pay close attention.  

July 26, 2010   My computer was in the shop for a while so I'm sorry to those of you who where looking for your pictures on my website.  It's the dog days of summer now with water temps near 90.  Fishing has slowed up quite a bit for the most part.  Bass are good some days but other days pretty tough.  Plastic worms are the key either around docks or on points.  Some good fishing can still be had but this heat makes it tough for the beginner angler.  Catfishing has been slow but should be picking up any day now.  Actually right about now is usually the best catfishing of the whole year.  Crappie fishing has actually picked up a little.  Catching a few more keepers on jigs around docks.  I've got to go because I've got another trip tonight.  Good luck fishing everyone!

 

 June 22, 2010    They stopped pulling water because of the Missouri river flooding.  It's made the bass fishing more difficult for the average fisherman.  The best bass fishing is in the brushpiles with a 7 or 10 inch Berkley worm.  A guy had a 6plus today but they have gotten tougher the last couple weeks.  If you're a good bass fisherman there is still some very good fishing.   Good ole texas rig on points or brush.  Catching a few whites and a handful of hybrids.  The best bite has been the big blue cats!  Several limits of cats have been taken just about everyday.   Mostly good eaters around 5lbs.  But I kept saying we were due for a big fish and we got her yesterday.  42.7 lbs on the scale took over 20minutes to get in.  Let the big girl go and kept all the eaters.  Not before taking a few pictures though.  They will start pulling water again shortly, maybe a week or so.  Usually this helps the bite, but it might hurt the great catfishing.

June 8, 2010   Just when you think fishing can't get any better on this lake it does.   I've been so busy catching fish I haven't been able to post any reports.  Well the crappie fishing stinks but they are mixed in with the whites for the most part.  So it's still pretty fun because white bass are little crack heads running around the lake in a feeding frenzy.  Plus we ran into a couple hybrids this morning chasing the whites on ultralites!  Crappie are relating to deep docks on tube jigs same with most of my white bass.   I was catching a ton of little whites (like literally a 100 fish in a morning) but the big ones moved in and I guess pushed out the little runts.  Catfishing has been real good too.  Drifting cut bait 20-40ft deep in coves mostly.  Catching a good number of keepers 1-10lb range.  Either one of these patterns is great for novice fisherman or families.  Bass fishing has been the best out of everything.  They are moving out to summer humps and roaming around in schools feeding aggressively at times.  Even chasing shad out of the water in hot pursuit!  Football jigs, 10inch worms, DD22's, shaky head senko, and a spoon have been working.  Set up a milk run and make long casts and set the hook hard.  Good 4-5 lb fish every now and then with a bunch of keepers bass too.  PB2 has been hot, but there are lots of areas of the lake that have been good.  The main lake above the 25mm has been  rather stained but is really starting to clear.  Rest of the lake is light stained what I call "good green".  As always if you don't believe me check out my recent pics I just added.  No other guide here at this lake does what I do. 

May 20     Well the fishing hasn't really changed all that much.   The  bass are still shallow for the most part.   Some are moving deeper but see with the water temps still around 65 degrees most are still shallow.   Shaky head, wacky rig, carolina rig, a little topwater, but mostly soft plastics fished slow and shallow.   Still fishing around docks skip casting at times to the walkways.   A few of the big ones get off fishing this method but you still land most of them.   We have had a ton of rain lately and it has muddied up much of the lake.  I live at the 31 and viability is improving today.  I can see about 10 inches down now, which isn't horrible, but I generally prefer to take my guide trips to the lower part of the lake where the water is still clear.  Some bass are still on beds.  Mostly males, few females lots of the fish have signs of the spawn.  I imagine the shallow bite will remain strong for until the end of the month.  The lake has risen quite a bit the last couple of weeks.  The lake stills drops a couple inches and it messes with the fish to where they like to be on a slightly steeper bank instead of a flat shallow pea gravel spawning bank. 

Crappie fishing is ok I guess.  I had a crappie trip yesterday and we caught them better than what I thought we were going to.   We are just catching a ton of them, they are just small though.  We killed about 20 keepers yesterday in about 4 hours.  Not bad, just not a lot of good fish.  Mostly just keepers or just short of being a keeper.   We caught at least 50 fish to cull through the 20 keepers.   Jigs with minnows was the bait.  The Crappie were loosely related to some docks I had found in practice.  We would of had our limit eventually but they wanted to try some bass fishing. 

Catfishing has been good, although I haven't done all that much of it.  Some parts of the lake shad are at a premium.  Shad are the best bait and this past cold winter took it's toll on the shad population.  The Niagua and the Grand Glaize still has plenty of shad.  I've been fishing next to bluffs to catch em.  No giants yet,  plenty of good fish and some good eaters too. 

I've got this weekend open if anyone is interested.  All next week is booked solid. 

 April 28      I've spent almost everyday on the water this month catching fish.  Very few tough days, almost everyday has been great.  Lots of keeper bass plus lots of limits of crappie.  We have already had a good spawn which was the first wave of spawning fish move up and lock onto beds.  I expect more fish to be moving up soon because we have a full moon coming up.  My most consistent bite has been on the sunny pleasant days.  For the most part my bass fishing has been done with a carolina rig.   I have also been sight fishing for bedding bass if they are locked on a bed.  Tubes, jigs, plastic worms are also taking fish.  The crappie fishing for much of the lake is slow for most people.  Some keepers but lots of small fish in the 6-8 inch range.  I've been fishing a different part of the lake than I normally fish to get away from all the small crappie.  It's been working,  just yesterday we had our limits by 11:30.  Mostly keepers  all dark shallow fish.  Half on jigs half on minnows.  More waves of spawning fish are going to be moving up in the weeks to come.  Once again if you don't believe me look at my recently added fishing pictures.  Lots of fisherman talk about great fishing but I have the proof in the pictures.  

 

April 13    The fish are biting! Now is the time to get on the water.  In the last few weeks everything has changed, we had frozen water a month ago now the lake's water temp is as high as 66 degrees.  Most of the lake is around 59 with most of the fish are in full prespawn mode.  Secondary points, main lake points, steep banks, even a few fish have moved all the way back in the coves to where you can sight fish them.  There are a few beds made however I have not caught any fish on them yet.  Very spooky females for the most part, I can catch a few little buck bass sight fishing so far.  I imagine that will change this week with the 80 degree sunny weather for the next 5 days.  The entire lake has turned on however I'm still concentrating my efforts on the Niangua and lower lake section of the lake.  There is a good early morning bite, and good all day bite especially if you have some wind.  In the afternoon or early evening keep your eyes open and look for fish.  The surface water is the warmest and some fish are hanging around the docks or anything floating in the water.  Right now you can catch fish on the whole tackle box everything from jerkbaits, jigs, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, tubes, worms, mojo rig, beavers, brushhogs.  Fish the wind on the bright days and try to be as stealthy as you can while casting. 

 
The crappie are also biting really good.  Mostly on jigs with a crappie nibble fished around docks.  The crappie are also mostly prespawn.  However some people are catching spawning crappie.  My crappie are definitely turning darker every day.  The males change color during the spawn to a dark black from a silver white.  I would expect to catch at least one limit per person in about 5 hours.  Casting accuracy is key right now or if you have permission to fish on some of the condo docks is the key to success.  I've been using 4lb test line with a 1/16 oz jighead.  Colors haven't made a big difference however stick with your lighter colors for bright days.  Something with a silver flake in it.  Then a yellow crappie nibble to enhance your jig.  As always fish around brush for crappie.  Some are moving very shallow some are still around 10 feet deep.  The crappies are also moving up in the water column later in the day.  You're able to sight fish them also. 
 
This has been the best early April I've seen in many years.  After such a cold winter we are now really cooking with lots of nice weather.  Fish during the week when possible because the weekends are seeing so much fishing pressure.  The more fishing pressure the more creative you have to be to still produce.  Some people are still struggling to catch fish and I don't know why.  Of course I get to fish almost everyday so I had better be on the fish pretty good.  Give me a call if you're interested in booking a trip or if you have any questions.
 

April 7, 2010    WOW fishing has really changed!  Water temps a month ago were frigid.  Now temps are up to low sixties up some rivers.  Spinnerbaits are easy to use and are catching fish.  We had a couple of 4 pounders the other day on spinners.  To catch more numbers stick with the jerkbait.  And you still have a great chance of landing a pig.  I caught a fish almost 7 pounds today with a jerkbait.  Fish the wind and steep banks.  If you've always heard about the jerkbait but never mastered it now is the time to book a guide trip to learn how to fish it properly.   The bass fishing has been really good, I would say it's the best April I've seen.  On to Crappie fishing, it's pretty good.  On the docks with shade, jigs only, no minnows are needed.  Much of the lake is overwhelmed with short 7inch crappie.  We must of had a good spawn a couple years ago.  I've got a couple areas of the lake that are still producing the nice crappie.  I'm not going to mention which part of the lake.  We've caught a few crappie up to 15 inches so far this year.  Those are really big for crappie!! 

 

March 25, 2010      Crappie bite is on!  We had a great day the other day.  No monster crappie but lots of keepers.  I wish everyday was like that.  They really moved since last week but the bite has gotten even better.  Mostly jig fishing with a handful of minnows  at times.  Bass fishing is still a little challenging.  At times you can find a big group of bass feeding.  Like 15 to 20 loaded up on a bank.  I catching them on a jig, and a soft plastic craw.  Little stickbait still on windy banks.  The bass have been a little sluggish still.  Maybe a few more warm days and I'm sure things will change again.

   March 15, 2010    The Crappie fishing has really picked up lately with the warm weather.  Crappie always like to be close to brush and this is no exception.  I'm finding crappie close to the bank and in good sized groups.  As the water temps continue to rise so will the crappie in the water depth.  Jigs for searching, minnows for catching.  There is not a ton of spots that have crappie, but the few spots that have them have  a good number of crappie waiting for you. 

Bass fishing has been tough for many people, Including myself, until recently.  There is a few guys that have figured out what some big bass are doing and the tournaments are taking 18 to 20lbs a day to win.   Weights quickly drop after the first few places.  I'm catching my fish on a crankbait, jig, and a tube.  All fished shallow, and slow.  The main bait has been the stickbait like a Megabass, Pointer, Rogue or the little smaller Frenzy Firestick.  Fishing has finally going good.  Spring has finally sprung  and warm temps are here most days.  Today's forecast is 67 and sunny.  I love this time of year! 

December 7, 2009        Water Temp low 50's to upper40's water clarity finally clearing up.  Water levels dropping with the beginning of the winter draw down.  The dams are now just pulling light generation after 2 months of heavy generation.  Crappie are quite numerous but you have to catch lots of numbers to bring back enough for dinner.  Which is fun but you have to go into it knowing most of the fish are going to be under sized.  Still after a nice day on the water their is enough for a good dinner.   Which I had a fresh crappie dinner just the other night.  Bass were on a great buzzbait bite on the cloudy days!  It was incredible.  Spinnerbaits in combination with wind and bluffs is now the best and more consistent bite.  Numbers have been down but size has been up.   You can cover a whole bluff and only get 2 bites.  Those few bites are going to be quality fish though and you can not let your guard down.  You have to be ready for the bites.  Slow your bait down and keep it steady coming back bumping the rocks to provoke a reaction strike.  Then just find the next bluff of steep rocky bank.  The famous Lake of the Ozarks stickbait bite is just around the corner.  The water needs to clear a bit more before it gets really hot.  Dress warm with layers and windblocker clothing, a good warm hat, and try to fish the warmer days with some sun.  Once your body gets accustomed to the cold even a 40 degree can really be quite nice and pleasant. 

 

Nov1, 2009        Well I'm a famous actor now guys.  I was invited to help a TV show called MonsterQuest on the History Channel.  They needed a professional fishing guide to help them find Piranha in the Lake of the Ozarks!  Obviously we didn't find any.   But there actually has been at least 3 caught by fisherman in the last three years.   It was a blast but I'm a horrible actor!  I'll stick to fishing.  Three days with the crew last week while we did a lot of under water scuba diving and filming, interviews with locals and a lot of playing around with a dead chicken.  Look for the show next spring. 

 Water temp 57degrees.  Most of the lake is turning over and heavily stained.  There is an area that still has clear water and fish biting.   Fishing trips have been up and down with the lake turning over.  Luckily I worked though it and found this area with good water conditions and it is not turning over yet.  Yesterday we had a 5 pounder, a 4 pounder and a few keeper largemouth bass to finish our limit.  Still catching white bass and small hybrids on windy points.   However numbers have gone down.   Crappie in that clear water are fair to good on brushpiles and bluffs.   Next week looks to be great weather sunny (no rain finally!) and temps around 60 degrees.  Spinnerbaits, football jigs, a little shaky head worm for the largemouth.  Small hybrids on white jigs, whites on in-line spinners burned back to the boat.  I've got Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday booked already --every other day open for calls.    

October 16, 2009       It's been chilly!!  Now is the time to put some fish in your freezer before it gets really cold.  White bass have still been my main species to try for most days.   A bit more spread out now but still the hottest fish biting.  20-30 keepers is average on any good windy day.  Caught a monster 35lb 42 inch blue catfish yesterday after catching a bunch of whites and a couple of hybrids.  The perfect finish to a great day.  Congrats to him on catching his largest fish ever.   Largemouth have been feeding heavy on shad.  Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits around the big groups of shad will produce numbers and keepers for you.   I had a few crappie guide trips before the dirtier water came in and hopefully the dirty water will leave in a couple of days.  Did well on taking a number of limits of crappie from brushpiles.  Between now and the end of the year fish are going to be feeding as the water temps decrease in advance of the extreme cold coming. 

 

        October 2,   2009      White bass are biting really good right now.  All other species have slowed.  Bass can be caught on spinnerbaits,  Frenzy cranks, Berkley heavyweight sinkworms,  and jigs.  Bass are very heavily pressured with lots of big tournaments so patterns have been difficult to run.   Slightly stained water has moved in and slowed down the crappie bite, they will pick up again in a few days.  The best has been the white bass fishing today we had 30 keepers, Tuesday we had 30, yesterday we only had 15 but most of them were hybrids.  So much fun, and good to eat.  Hard fighting, 1 to 3 pound crackheads in shallow water.   Any day that the wind blows this time of year we can get into a bunch of them!  And this is going to be a good year for them.  Come on down and get ya a stringer full!

September 16, 2009        Sorry for the lack of fishing reports, I've had a string of equipment problems and then I wrecked my truck.  I've been fishing again for most of the past week.  Yesterday we limited up on crappie before lunchtime all from brushpiles and a couple of docks.  The day before we had about 40 keeper crappie which is great.  They are feeding pretty good with a few big ones in the 13 inch range.  Wind from the north and east has helping some fall patterns come early this year.  White bass need a good wind to make them bite on points.  Largemouth are on docks in the backs of coves on wacky worms and shallow running crankbaits.   If they drop the water overnight the bass will suck out to slightly deeper docks with some structure to hold on to.  Casting accuracy is very important right now.  If you can put your bait where you want it you will get hit.  Often times right off the bat.   Play the wind in your favor but don't fish in spots that it so windy that it causes you to be on the dock every 5 minutes.   The baitfish have been moving around from main lake to back of the coves by the afternoon.  That is the best time to catch bass in the afternoon.  They pull tight to cover because of the sun.  All you have to do is quietly place your lure next to them and pay attention for the tick.  The mornings have been just so so.  Some mornings are good but they are hard to predict.  Most bass are one to two pounds while the big bass (4pounds or bigger) have been tight lipped.   We caught one big bass this week.  But much of my attention has turned to crappie.  Just like we did yesterday on a full day guide trip we caught crappie in the morning for a few hours and then turned our attention to bass to finish up the day with a few bigger fish.  The weather looks to be unbeatable they say next week with highs around 80 and lows in the 60's.   The lake traffic has died down to a crawl which is so nice for me.  I've got a lot of open days next week after three trips tomorrow, and Saturday and Sunday mornings booked with half days. 

August 13, 2009    Crappie are biting on deep water docks around brush suspended 2-20feet deep.  Some days we catch a bunch of little guys other days we are catching mostly keepers.  I've been hitting this one dock a lot lately and it is hot.  Crappie nibbles are worth their weight in gold to me!!  Catfish are improving quite a bit, lots of good evening trips with some nice fresh fish dinners for my customers.   Since my last fishing report we busted a 25lb blue and a 30lb Blue.  All on shad trolled behind the boat going real slow.  One ounce weight and 17lb test on basically bass tackle.  The big fish are not the norm but all very possible this time of year.  Once again I am not one of those fisherman that just talks about good fishing, I prove it with my client pictures.   I take average fisherman and try to make the most out of the conditions to have you catch more fish.  I fish 6 days a week (at least) and take fishing seriously.  I usually push my customers to expand from their previous fishing experience to the next step in learning how to be a better angler.  I just put up some more client pictures for you guys to enjoy.

July 27,  2009     Fishing has slowed down for bass.   We are still catching bass but concentration and diligence while fishing your plastic worms around brush and brushpiles is the key to success right now.   Yesterday we had a small limit plus a five pound  kicker fish.   So I guess I can't complain to much.  That's still pretty good.  There is lots of tournament fisherman that would love that.  Almost getting hung up and then as soon as your bait comes free is when most of the bites are coming.   The crappie are actually getting better on a couple of docks I got.  Mostly small but enough keepers to bring home a meal.  Catfish are fair, the numbers are good but we haven't popped a big one yet.  Any day it could happen, 30, 40, even 50 pounder are possible.   I've got lots of trips planned for the next couple of weeks so if anyone is looking for a trip I don't have many mornings available, however I can do evening trips starting usually about 4 or 5pm and end at 9pm.

         July 14, 2009       Fishing has finally slowed down this past week a little bit.   They stopped pulling water though the dams and the fish are still biting, but not lights out like it was.  The white are back to normal and bass are biting on plastic worms on points.  Still getting some nice fish occasionally, yesterday we had a 4 and a 3 pound bass to go along with a handful of 2 pound keepers.  We've been getting a lot of rain lately and I'm thinking that they should increase the current flow I hope.  Overall the fishing has gotten harder so in this situation you want to slow down most of your presentations and work the area thoroughly when you find a couple of fish.  Bouncing point to point means if they not there in the first 10 minutes it is time to move.  If they are there slow down, pay attention, and swing hard. 

July 3, 2009            I've been real busy with lots of guide trips and lots of fish being caught!  The last few days the white and hybrids have been schooling up at this one spot topwaters worked fast have been the best and spoons when you don't see them popping.  Yesterday between two guide trips we had o ver a hundred fish!  Whites, hybrids, catfish, largemouth, a walleye and crappie all being caught.  This won't last long.  Whites are rare around this lake, hopefully this will be a good year for them.  They are good eating and second in flavor only to crappie.  Aggressive, hard fighting, and good eating is pretty hard to beat. 

June 16, 2009          Summer is here and fishing is hot.  Now the bass are on points in schools chasing baitfish feeding at times very aggressively.  Football jigs and jighead worms, even a little swimbait action.  Hitting the school right is a timing issue.  I've been running back and forth from spot to spot catching some quality fish.  The docks have been also producing lots of fish but they are small, but fun.   We hit one dock today that we caught about 25 to 30 bass.  Mostly small but really really fun.   We're not catching as many quality bass as we were a few weeks ago.  Still caught 3 bass over five pounds this week and a number of 3pound bas. 

 

           May 26, 2009        Fishing is still really good right now.  We had 14 keeper bass this morning all on plastic worms shallow around spawning areas.  2 to 3 pound bass with a 4 pounder every now and then.   If you like to catch bass in shallow water right now is the time to come down.   I haven't messed around with crappie or catfish but I hear they are biting.  The bass have been pretty solid for a couple of weeks now.  The lakes have been very full and conditions I'm sure will change, they always do.  Today they wanted the worm on a jig head shakey style. 

May 15, 2009   Bass fishing is great right now and for the next couple weeks.  We had 8 good keeper bass yesterday on floating worms mostly rigged wacky style on the lower lake.  A fun way to fish when the fish are shallow and nesting.  You can go out right now and catch them on about what ever lure in your tackle box.  I've caught keepers on crankbaits, topwaters, spinnerbaits, jigs, lots of differant soft plastics, you name it.  A few days ago on a guide trip a gentleman caught 2 SMALLMOUTH!!   I've been fishing this lake for 20 years and never seen a smallmouth before until that day on this lake.  And they were small either, they were solid keepers.  Check out my pictures page to see.  We have been dodging the rain clouds and down pours which have muddied up some parts of the lake.  I can fish the mud but generally prefer to run away when possible to clearer water.  I had a trip a couple days a go in the mud and we did horrible.  Besides one big bass (4lb) the day was one to be forgotten.  Then yesterday we head to the dam and smoked them.  Pockets inside coves, behind docks, in protected areas, are the typical spawning areas.  Fishing pressure (other fisherman) are taking their toile on the fish so if you can come down during the week.  It has been a big difference.  Time of day has not been a factor in regards to fish activity.  I have even been catching fish on topwaters in the afternoon on sunny days.  Skip casting while easy to do does take a little practice to master.  It has been worth the extra time and effort to cast to places others have pasted by by using this technique. 

I would also like to take a moment to thank some of my recent past clients.  I've been very fortunate lately with some really fun trips with guys that are really easy to get along with and I really appreciate your business.  People that are even new to bass fishing (or just fishing in general) can have a very productive fun day if they listen to me and do what I tell them.  It has worked out great recently even with difficult conditions and challenging fish.

One more quick note the crappie are going to be difficult for about 10 days or so until they regroup on main lake structure.  Also the water has to clear which who knows when that will happen.

May 8, 2009       Peak Spawn right now at Lake of the Ozarks.  I have had a number of good trips this past week with the bass and crappie shallow and aggressive.  Minnows have been the ticket for crappie and a couple of tricks I'm not going to mention to really get the multiple bites from one location.  The crappie should go into a funk here in a week or so and then rebound in a couple of weeks in big groups in the main lake.  Bass fishing should stay good for a while eating floating worms, or split shot rigs.  Bass are on beds right now all over the lake.  Not necessarily the best time to catch a huge stringer, but great to catch lots of fun chunky fish.  The water is at full pool with heavy generation from the dams not being a big factor until latter this month.  Water temps in the mid 60's in the afternoons.  Have been trying to dodge the thunderstorms and have been somewhat successful.  One nice thing about Lake of the Ozarks is that when the bad part of a storm comes you can hide under a dock until the heavy stuff passes and then get back to fishing.  This is my favorite time of the year to catch fish.  Right now I  only have 3 trips scheduled for next week so give me a call if you are thinking about doing a guide trip.         

April 23, 2009     Water temp in the mornings are around 51 climbing to 63 during the warm afternoons.  Bass and crappie are spawning right now in the shallow water in the backs of the coves.  Rising water levels, along with rising water temperatures are getting the fish back on track.  This year has been a different year than the usual spawn.  I've had some rather tough days while other days we tear them up.  I predict everything will be much better after this warm, sunny stretch of consecutive dry days. We've got heavily stained water clarity in my end of the lake with the crappie fishing better in this end.  I've also been spending a lot of time down by the dam fishing for some guide trips, the water is clearer and a little cooler. Bass are on beds and very spooky.  The bigger females are around waiting for the right moment.  You can see them but they won't bite just yet.  Backs of the creeks around docks.  Tubes, craws, floating worms. Soft plastics are important right now with the sunshine.  Split shotting is an easy way to put fish in the boat.  The other main method is to skip cast underneath docks and walk ways.  This spring has been late so the next month of may should be phenomenal.

 

April 6, 2009  Water temperatures have ranging from high 40's to low 50's here around Tan-Tar-A.   Fish are feeding pretty good in preparation for the spawn in about a month.  Bass and crappie are shallow next to brush in coves.  Bass are 1-5ft (for the most part) hitting spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs and tubes.  In the morning concentrate on steep banks with big rocks in the backs of coves.  As the day moves on you should try bumping your crankbait off of cover to trigger a bite.  Stickbaits were catching a lot of fish until recently now you can cover more water with the other baits more efficiently.  The fish are in groups still and when you find a couple slow down and work the area thoroughly.  Crappie are a little more unpredictable in what areas they are using.  They are in big schools in a few areas I have found and have been working for a while now.  There are more crappie moving in to replace the ones I'm taking out everyday.  Just like with the bass you won't catch all the fish there so return later after the area has rested.  If anyone of you have fished with me in the past you know how I believe in Berkley Crappie Nibbles, well right now is no different.  Colors will change daily, don't get hung up using just one color.  Plus once you have showed a school of crappie a particular color change up and show them something else after a while.  Keep it simple- I use 1/16oz jigheads with 4lb Berkley Sensation line in the bright green solar color so I can watch for light biters.  Some docks have been loaded while other docks have been barren.   Fishing is pretty good right now and getting even better in the time to come.  I love this time of year, dogwoods are blooming, fish are shallow and getting ready to spawn.  Some fish have already spawned.  Good luck fishing. 

 Jan 3, 2008    Winter fishing is my toughest time of year.  Water temps right now are about 40 degrees they shouldn't drop to much more.  Usually the lake bottoms out at 37 degrees.  Fish are certainly still biting however you have to adjust to the low metabolism of the fish.  Crappie are being caught from deep brushpiles around 15-20 feet deep with a slow presentation.  When I first pull up to a pile I'll fan cast and then slowly position the boat to have a vertical presentation.  One secret right now is to let your jig almost get hung up on a limb and then just leave it there motionless within an inch of the limb.  You will get a bite, you just have to be patient. There are some docks if you hit them right can be very productive.  The best part about dock fishing is you can move very slow and pay super close attention to the light bites.  Now is the time of year I try to concentrate on all of the other aspects of fishing but not actually going fishing.  I buy a lot of gear this time of year, rods, reels, baits then I test everything.  Deep clean of my boat, organize tackle, plant brushpiles, work on advertising for next year, and work sport shows.  I'll be at the Pure Fishing booth all this week at Kansas City Sports Show.  I'll also work the St. Louis Boat Show and usually one or two Bass Pro Shops Spring Classics.  If you attend any of these shows stop by say Hi and we'll talk about fishing. 

Nov 12, 2008       Fall feeding frenzy is in full effect. Water temp is around 60degrees and slowly falling. Crappie are biting very well.  They are suspended around and above brushpiles in 5-12 feet of water. On cloudy days bounce around from to brushpiles, get a rotation going picking off the active crappie until your limit is full.  The bass fishing is what is really fun right now. The bass are shallow in the backs of coves on spinnerbaits.  Double willowleaf blades, 17lb mono and  a 7ft MH rod slow and steady retrieve. They're really eating it.  If the shad are active and you're around them fish in and under them.  If the shad not present that's OK fish the shallow brush and or lay downs. I had 2 guide trips last week and one fun fishing day with another guide. All on spinnerbaits and few bass on stickbaits. I had one morning I had 37 bass before noon about half were keeper sized bass.   It's a great time to get out on the water, it's pretty quite.  Most guys are in the woods.  This fall pattern will last until the water temp drops in the the 40's, usually in mid December.

 Sept 16, 2008     Bass fishing has slowed quite a bit. Catching 12-20 bass is pretty typical right now with a handful of 2 pounders.  A lot of baits are working pick one and get used to it.  Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, topwaters, plastic worms, senkos, flukes, jigs, about anything can catch fish right now.  It's more about casting accurately to the docks.  The fish are widely scattered from main lake points to coves to creek arms. The shad are everywhere with fish (bass) are busting shad aggressively at times.  Crappie are really biting, I've got a dock that has been loaded with fish.  Numerous limits the last couple weeks have been taken out.  Vertical fishing over brushpiles over deep water.  Crappie jigs with crappie nibbles are all you need. It's been a lot of fun.  Typically if you drop 10 times you will get 9 bites and catch 6 fish 3 of which will be a keepers.

Sept 2, 2008     The fish have really moved from their summertime pattern to more of a early fall pattern. This is a great time to get out and catch a ton of 1-2lb bass. Great time for beginners to get some confidence and practice catching numbers of bass.  The down side is the big 5 pounders have almost vanished. Literally 2 to 3 dozen bass in a full day guide trip is normal right now. But of those 30 bass only one or two will be a 4lb bass if you are lucky.  Most people don't complain because they are too busy catching bass.  The bass have followed the shad into the coves and are hanging around docks. A variety of baits will produce such as crankbaits, spinnerbaits, plastic worms, fluke style baits, tubes, even topwaters. The bright sunny afternoons have been the best. The more sun and the more wind the better fishing will be. The mornings have been slow for bass so we've been keeping busy catching crappie. Crappie fishing will continue to improve and get bigger and better fish. Catching numbers of crappie right now is not the problem it's weeding through the shorts to eventually get a nice mess for the frying pan. This is a nice time of the year before it gets cold and high temps are in the 70's.  Early fall can be difficult if you're looking for lunkers however it is a great time to go fun fishing and catch lots of numbers. I've got lots of fishing guide trips lined up for the September but October is looking pretty open if anyone is interested in coming to Lake of the Ozarks for a fishing guide.

August 3, 2008     Fishing is still pretty good even through all of this extreme heat. The bass are still biting good on football jigs and big worms. The good points are not as common as they were a month ago, but when you get a good school of bass biting you can load the boat quickly. In addition to the point fishing the dock fishing is really picking up. This past week we had 2 bass on one crankbait! I've only done that once before in my whole life. Catfishing has continued to improve with lots of 2-5lb eater's and an occasional big fish. We caught a 53lb blue on cut shad. WOW that is one fat fish.

 

July 13, 2008     Fishing slowed down a little bit compared to the past few weeks. It has been really good for so long it couldn't last forever. Still had a 5pounder Bass plus a few other keepers plus some shorts. 11 Flood gates are open and the current is raging out on the main lake which is good but all the muddy water has hurt my main area I guide out of. Fish are certainly still biting even with the dirty water. 

Catfish are biting pretty good. Few days ago that was pretty much what we fished for most of the day. Landed 4 good 3-5 lb blues but the big one got away. We set the hook on one big fish but after a 30second initial run she broke the line! Same spot that we had that 40lb blue a couple weeks ago. We still had a good stringer though. Caught some bass to finish off the day.

 

July 10, 2008      Huge blue catfish we landed last week check out the picture on my client picture page. Catfish are biting well on cut shad off of points in 10-30 feet deep. Most catfish are 1-5 range but bigger ones are out there and biting. Slowly drag a big hunk of meat with 1oz weight behind the boat. Watch your depth finders for activity. I recently bought that Side Imaging depthfinder from Hummingbird and WOW how cool is this thing. Really helps for catfishing.

The bass are still really biting well on current swept points. 10inch worms and football jigs are the ticket to quality bass. A nine year old boy had a 5plus pound bass last week. All by himself also, he casted, he set the hook, he played him in until I netted the lunker.  In addition to the point fishing the dock fishing for numbers of bass is really getting going. We had 19 bass off of one corner of a dock. That's one big school. Mostly smaller buck bass but they bite and offer some fast action.

 

June 26         Fishing has been great lately. The largemouth are really bunching up in small aggressive groups on main lake points with current on them. It's a great time to get your football jig and big worms out and catch some quality bass. Current is the key with all of this rain this year fishing should remain good for a while.  Truman  and all of the other lakes are high and tough fishing is the result. But not on Lake of the Ozarks since it has so much development along the shore lines it can't flood. The current from Truman Dam and Bagnel Dam working together is the key. Current is what is positioning these fish out on points for easy meals. Bass have been anywhere from 2 feet to about 15 feet deep. Not that deep.  Long points that stick way out close to the channel are the best. Brushpiles help and or big rocks help but not needed.  Darker football jigs have been taking most of the fish, Berkley 10inch worm in black and blue has been working, and crankbaits.  

Crappie are in big schools right now. I got a three spots now that I have been hammering for three weeks now taking out limit after limit of crappie. All deep water docks with current nearby positioning these fish and waiting for food. An added bonus is the white bass we've been catching while fishing for the crappie. Both of the fish are really good to eat and I would be happy to clean them for you.

Catfishing: I just recently started fishing for the blues and have caught some. Good numbers but no big ones yet, just good eaters 1-6lb range. I'm sure as the bass fishing diminishes I will invest more time catfishing. There is one spot very close to where I guide out of that they were really biting at. No messing around nibbling the bait either they bite and took off hard towards deep water. All of the better blue cats have come on cut shad. Nightcrawlers and prepared baits are just catching smaller channels right now.

Just for fun yesterday I ran into a big school of gar. Those big ugly fish are really a challenging fish to hook and land. Sight fishing, accurate casting, loose drags, and patience are critical. I landed 4 fish in 3hours however I lost about 20. Boy those fish have really sharp teeth we where gloves to protect our hands but one gar about 4 foot long flopped and cut my arm as he was falling back into the lake. What a cool fish. 

 

 

 

                                         

 

No Fish--No Pay Policy

If we don’t catch a fish your next trip is 100% FREE.

Jack's Guide Service

1086 Normandy

Osage Beach MO 65065

573-434-2570

jack@fishinglakeoftheozarks.com