While the lake boasts an abundance of bass, crappie, white bass, catfish, and bluegill, Table Rock is acclaimed as one of the best bass fishing lakes in this hemisphere.
It�s reputation for producing hefty stringers of bass laced with lunkers was earned through an unprecedented management program. A 15-inch length limit and creel limit of six fish linked with an abundant food chain in the lake, is the foundation of this fine program. The result is a resurgence of large numbers of largemouth, Kentucky and smallmouth bass of exceptional size available anytime of the year for the professional and novice angler alike.
The waters pumped through the dam from the depths of Table Rock Lake are always cold and create one of the wonders of the world as far as fishermen are concerned. The cold water side of the dam, which is lake Taneycomo, has been rated among the best rainbow trout fishing lakes in the country and the vast warm water of Table Rock are acclaimed for abundance of species of warm water fish. Cold and warm water fishing separated only by the width of the dam is a phenomenon not found in many other places in the world. Table Rock Lake brims with fresh, clear water and is virtually a fisherman's paradise, boasting an abundance of crappie, white bass, catfish and bluegill. Pros from throughout the United States fish Table Rock Lake and come back again and again.
You can fish everyday of the year, but the best time of the year, spring, is special on Table Rock Lake. It's during this time we find that the spinnerbaits, crankbaits and the jig-and-frog are especially effective on the Largemouth and Kentucky Bass. It's regarded as trophy time and the experienced fisherman will concentrate around the base of old cedar trees. The feeder creeks and streams will hold many fish in their underwater structures. Spawning season will find them on sloping pea gravel banks. They will build their "nests" near old stumps, logs, rocks, and other underwater structures that they can find in two to eight feet of water.
Largemouth Bass fishing slows down, but doesn't stop, during the heat of the summer months only to blossom out again in the cooler fall. Once again the lures are removed from the tackle box to do battle up the feeder streams and near the banks. Feeding is at a frenzied pace as they prepare for a winters rest deep in the cooler water of the lake.
The lunker bass silently cruise in the shallow waters to appease their appetites. During this time they are susceptible to the spinner-baits and crankbaits while they feed on the smaller baitfish.
When fishing Table Rock Lake, you are just as likely to hook a Kentucky, White, or Small Mouth Bass. When you chase after the White Bass you'll find them ready to chase the large schools of shad. You will want to fish on the surface with small minnow lures. This hot and heavy activity will keep you moving as the runs are short and you have to make the best of your time to succeed.
Whether you fish from a boat, a dock or from the bank, Crappie and Bluegill fishing is exciting. These little fighters will test your skills if you go after them with light tackle. The small, tender fillet is as flavorful eating as you can find in the fish family.
The big guys, the catfish, make wonderful catches and they, too, are especially flavorful. Being bottom feeders, they cruise the floor of the lake and many find that setting out trotlines to be the best method of catching them. Fishermen prefer to fish the bottom with bait as they like the tug and pull it takes to boat them. Ugly? Sure they are, but the fillet is great when rolled in milk, then potato flakes (yes, potato flakes). Now, deep fry them and you may never go back to lobster!
The lake contains every conceivable type of structure, which the bass use as they progress through their consistent seasonal patterns. While the patterns may vary slightly during the year, due to fluctuating changes, successful fishermen conform to these cycles in order to locate and catch their quarry.
In the early spring before the spawning season, largemouth and Kentucky bass will be found at the base of cedar trees and, also, near structure in various feeder creeks in the lake. During this time, the fish can be taken on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and the jig-and-frog. Smallmouth will be near rocky banks at varied depth. Feather jigs are deadly for these bronzebacks at this time.
During the spawning season in late spring, bass will be on gradually sloping, pea gravel banks. They build their nests near stumps, logs, rocks, and other structure along these banks in from two to eight feet of water. During the early days of spawning, the fish can be found more abundantly on the north banks, where the water warms more rapidly. The most action will occur in May, when both the male and female are attending the nest. During this time, the fish will strike nearly anything thrown in the vicinity of their beds.
In the summer, most bass migrate to deeper water from 25 to 35 feet. Here, the fish will hit plastic worms, jigs, grubs, and spoons. The fish will stay near chunk rock points and along rocky banks, dotted with hardwood trees in the main channel. Also, at this time, some breaking activity will appear throughout the lake, usually at the mouths of feeder creeks, which enter into the main channel. Food lures for this type of fishing are clear top-water lures and chuggers. During the summer, Kentucky bass can be taken in large numbers on pea gravel points at depths of between 20 and 40 feet. Live night crawlers and crawfish on light tackle are best for this type of fishing.
In the fall, when temperatures cool the water, the bass move into the shadows once again. Crankbaits, jigs, grubs, and jig-and-frog are effective, when fished on rocky banks for both largemouth and smallmouth. Kentucky bass will remain deep at this time of year and they can be caught near the channels on a variety of spoons, as well as live worms and crawfish. White Bass will chase shad on the surface and nail topwater and slow falling lures.
During the months of November and December, lunker bass cruise the shallows, gorging themselves in preparation for winter dormancy. They fall prey to spinnerbaits and crankbaits. They can be found mostly in the back of live creek beds, which hold heavy concentrations of baitfish. Crappie fishing is at its best in the early spring, when they school. At this time, they can be found near submerged stumps and trees in shallow pockets and coves. Jigs, grubs, and live minnows on light tackle are effective at this time.
Crappie fishing is also good during the late summer months. Live shad netted at the site are excellent bait for the fish under these circumstances. When the water cools in October, crappie can be caught from six to ten feet deep around sunken cedar trees in feeder creek beds.
White Bass provide lots of action when they make their spawning run in March. One of these prime white bass areas is the James River, near Galena, where the fish travel in large schools. They can be taken on jigs, spoons, and small crankbaits at this time of year.
Catfish can be caught on Table Rock Lake throughout the year, both on trotlines and by angling. Large bluegill can also be taken year around.
It's true Table Rock is different than streams and cold water fishing, and you may have to change your fishing habits a bit, but we can assure you that the challenge and thrill of bringing in that big one can be yours.
If you're unsure of the fishing pattern, check with the friendly folks at the various marinas, bait shops, and resorts in the area. These folks keep up with all the fishing action that goes on in the area throughout the year and they are more than happy to share their knowledge with you. For those anglers, who want to be assured of full stringers of fish, try one of the excellent guides in the area.
There is no better place to plan your fishing trip and all around family vacation than on Table Rock Lake. With accommodations to fit everyone's needs and budgets, and the best fishing in the Midwest, you can expect your visit to be convenient, comfortable, and filled with fish catching excitement. IT'S ALL WAITING FOR YOU ON TABLE ROCK LAKE!
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