Ben Branch Lake
should be good again in 2006. The Department
stocks 660 catfish each year to maintain the
population. Largemouth bass and bluegill fishing
will be fair this year. Fishing should be better
around the brush piles that regional staff have
built to improve fish habitat.
bass fishing should be good in 2006. Adult
bass (³ eight inches) are numerous and the
size of the fish is much better than last
year. Bluegill fishing will be fair this
year. There are numerous bluegill but
unfortunately they tend to be small. Channel
catfish should be good again this year. The
Department stocks 3000 channel catfish per
year to maintain the population. Crappie
fishing should remain fair. Although crappie
are not too numerous, one of every four
adult crappie are ten inches or longer.
Redear sunfish remain an underutilized
resource in Binder Lake. There are numerous
Master Angler redear (over ten inches) and
some of these weigh over a pound.
Lake remains closed for renovation. Blind
Pony Lake was built over thirty-five years
ago and over that time silt has collected in
the lake, reducing the water available for
the hatchery and reducing water quality.
This factor limited the hatchery’s ability
to grow sport fish for stocking statewide.
It also limited the hatchery’s capacity to
raise the federally endangered pallid
sturgeon for restoration efforts in the
Missouri and Mississippi rivers. This has
prompted the federal government to help pay
for deepening the lake, replacing hatchery
water supply lines, and inspecting and
refurbishing fishing docks, jetties, and
other facilities. As of the fall of 2005,
the hatchery water lines have been replaced
and much of the excavation of the lake bed
is complete. Plans are being developed for
an additional hatchery building. The lake
will reopen in approximately three years.
Only the lake is closed. The rest of the
area, including four small ponds, will be
open as usual.
Lake of the
Bass electrofishing surveys conducted during
the spring of 2005 indicated that the
percentage of the population equal to or
greater than the 15-inch size limit was
above average, resulting in good to
excellent fishing in 2005. This trend should
continue into 2006 as the large 2001
yearclass should reaches legal size. The
outlook for spotted (Kentucky) bass over the
12-inch size limit is average. Although bass
can be caught year-round, the best times are
spring and fall. Fish points, brush, and
docks. The best producing lures are topwater
baits (low light periods), plastic worms,
crankbaits, and spinnerbaits. Winter is also
an excellent time to fish for bass by slowly
fishing jerkbaits off points.
fishing should be excellent this spring with
44% of the fish sampled in the fall of 2005
equal to or greater than the 9-inch minimum
length limit. Concentrate on brushpiles,
especially those located on or near points.
The ability to locate good structure is the
key to successful crappie fishing on Lake of
the Ozarks. Small jigs (1/32 to 1/8 ounce)
and minnows are the best baits.
action should be similar to the past few
years. The best months are April through
September. Drifting and fishing live or cut
shad on the bottom on days with a light
breeze consistently produces the best catch.
fishing in 2006 should be average. Good
reproduction in 2004 should result in good
numbers of fish in the 12 to 15 inch range.
Fish windy points, submerged islands and
long, sloping points using either artificial
lures or shad. Opportunities for catching
hybrid white bass are good in the Truman Dam
tailwater and, during the summer and winter
months, in spring-fed areas of the lake.
now well established in Lake of the Ozarks
after 10+ years consistent stocking.
Although most walleye are caught
incidentally by anglers targeting other
species, anglers targeting walleye are
becoming increasingly successful. Walleye
are typically caught on steep rocky points
and humps on crankbaits and jigs tipped with
either minnows or nightcrawlers.
The lake also
offers good fishing for a number of other
species including paddlefish, sunfish, gar,
and carp. Remember to use proper handling
techniques when releasing sublegal (or
legal) fish back to the water to ensure
bass fishing will be fair in 2006 according
to recent surveys. The density of bass has
increased due to good recruitment over the
last few years. As a result, there are large
numbers of bass in the 8-12" range that will
be available to anglers. And like last year,
there will be good numbers of bass in the
12-15" protected slot length range which
should provide some excellent catch and
release fishing. There will also be a fair
number of bass over 15" but few fish greater
than 18" (4 lbs. or larger). Anglers can
help improve the density of larger bass
(greater than 15") by practicing catch and
release fishing. The upper end of the lake,
rock jetties, and dam usually provide the
best fishing. Fishing around structure like
creek channel drop-offs, brush piles and
fallen trees are also very productive.
Crappie fishing in 2006 should be good.
Surveys show a large increase in the numbers
of 8-10" crappie. Bigger fish (greater than
10") were also more abundant than in the
past few years. The density and size
structure of the crappie population
continues to slowly improve due to good
recruitment over the last three years.
Bluegill fishing will be good this year.
Most fish will average 7-8" and some will be
caught in excess of 8". Catfish fishing has
been excellent in the past, however,
abundance has slowly been declining due to
reduced stocking rates which were
implemented as part of a statewide small
lake catfish study. Surveys last summer
showed fair to good numbers of 15-22"
channel and blue catfish that will be
available to anglers. The largest catfish
taken while sampling was a blue catfish
which weighed 42 lbs. One lucky angler
caught a blue catfish in excess of 50
pounds. Many of the 16-22" catfish caught by
anglers last year were taken during the
spring and early summer months. Fishing off
the jetties and dam, around cover, and near
creek channels is the most productive. Good
catfish baits include worms, liver, shrimp,
cut shad, prepared baits and live sunfish.
Redear sunfish fishing continues to be
outstanding. As in previous years, anglers
will have the opportunity to catch large
numbers of 9-11" redear. Chances of catching
a 10"/1 lb. redear (Master Angler size) are
excellent. Try fishing near woody cover and
tree stumps in shallow water, especially in
May and early June during spawning. Worms
and crickets fished on or near the bottom
work well. Little Dixie Lake is also home to
a few large lake sturgeon. Lake sturgeon are
an endangered species and as such are
protected by law. Any angler catching a lake
sturgeon must release it unharmed,
immediately after being caught.
channel catfish should be good in 2006. The
Department stocks catfish each fall to
maintain the population. Bluegill fishing
should be fair to good this year. Bluegills
were much more numerous in this year’s
sample and the size is much better. Crappie
fishing should remain fair. Fishing for
largemouth bass will be fair this year.
Trail Community Lake
redear sunfish should be excellent again in
2006. There are many large redear in the
lake. Try fishing for them with the same
bait and tackle you would use for bluegill
but fish close to the bottom. Channel
catfish should be good. The Department
stocks three hundred and thirty catfish in
the lake each year. Largemouth bass fishing
should remain fair in 2006. Bluegill fishing
will be fair also. The largemouth bass and
bluegill are numerous, but small.