Although Lake of the Ozarks offers some of the Midwest's finest recreational and sight-seeing opportunities above the water, it's what's underneath that counts. And it counts big.
Largemouth Bass, Crappie, White Bass, Stripers and Catfish are the main source of excitement to Lake anglers and when one species isn't cooperating, relax... another one will.
The fishing season has no beginning or ending dates at Lake of the Ozarks. Year-round quality fishing rewards you any time you want to visit. Knowledgeable anglers work cool spring waters using deep diving crankbaits and jig-n-frog lures. As the lake warms up top water lures produce the explosive strikes that make grown men shake with excitement. After the bass spawn, usually in late April or early May, the plastic worm begins to replace the crankbaits and surface lures on the business end of the fishing rod. Summer anglers find their bass around deep points, drop offs and boat docks. And just when you think the action's going to end, the cool weather of October and November brings the bass back in the shallows for some more fast fishing action.
If Black Bass doesn't excite you, our White Bass fishing will. During the early spring spawning runs experienced anglers often fill their 15- fish limit in about as many casts. The summer months find the Whites schooled up on shallow flats. Though the one to two pound Whites are great table fare (and by the way, put up a rowdy battle) nothing strips line from your reel like the Stripers and Hybrid Stripers which were first stocked in Lake of the Ozarks in 1980. Six years later a state record 20.5 lb. hybrid was pulled from our waters.
Through effective management, regulation and stocking efforts of the Missouri Department of Conservation, Lake of the Ozarks has provided numbers of other state record catches over the past ten years including a 34 lb. drum, a 36 lb. buffalo, a 42 lb. muskie, a 91 lb. blue catfish (caught in 1988) and a 134 lb. paddlefish.
Crappie fishing is another main event at the Lake. The length limit is 9 inches. The spring spawn usually occurs in mid to late April. Local anglers know the Crappie won't spawn until the Dogwoods bloom.
Whether you are a serious pro looking for some outstanding bass fishing or just look forward to a lazy day of relaxation and family fun, Lake of the Ozarks has the ingredients for your fishing vacation.
For a special thrill, go after a paddlefish, also referred to as a spoonbill. This rare fish is a bona fide remnant of the dinosaur age. It is caught by blind snagging. Fisherpersons troll and jerk large hooks attached to heavy lead sinkers or cast and retrieve the hooks by jerking. Rods are generally short and stiff and reels are equipped with 80 to 100 pound test line. All paddlefish caught in Lake of the Ozarks must be 24 inches or longer from the eye to the fork of the tail. Paddlefish season is March 15 to April 30.
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