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Missouri Lakes - Kansas City Region

Atkinson Lake

Angling for largemouth bass will be fair in 2006. Sampling in recent years shows low numbers of largemouth bass. The daily limit of two bass reflects that natural reproduction is limited in the lake. The Missouri Department of Conservation stocked 1000 young bass in 2003 and again in 2004 to boost the population. All black bass less than 15 inches must be returned to the water unharmed.

Angling for catfish is the best bet for this lake. Limb lines and bank lines are popular methods in Atkinson Lake. Cut baits, especially shad, are always effective. Rod and reel anglers interested in channel cat may opt for blood or cheese baits fished below a float or tight-lined on the bottom. Daily limit for channel, blue, and flathead catfish in the aggregate is four. All flathead less than 24" must be returned to the water unharmed. Flathead respond best to live baits such as bluegill or green sunfish.

Recent sampling has shown many small crappie, but few over 8 inches. A large year class was evident in fall 2003. Crappie have historically been over-abundant in Atkinson Lake. Growth is slow. Flathead catfish are stocked periodically to prey on the numerous crappie. Anglers are encouraged to take up to their daily limit of fifteen crappie.

Blue Springs Lake

Eurasian watermilfoil continues to be the dominant species of aquatic vegetation in the lake. Since aquatic vegetation provides excellent habitat for invertebrates and young fish, biologists constructed shallow water enclosures and filled them with suitable plants again this year. This will provide a variety of aquatic vegetation in the lake. Hybrid striped bass continue to provide a unique fishing opportunity in the Kansas City area. Anglers should look for schooling hybrids at the upper end of the lake in the early spring near the Lake Jacomo spillway after heavy spring rains, and along the dam and main lake points in the summer and early fall. The Jacomo discharge pipe (known locally as the "blow hole") provides some of the hottest action every year, especially in the very early morning after moderate rainfalls. The largemouth bass population, though still low in density, should show some improvement in 2006 as a stronger 2002 year class reaches legal size. The size structure of the population continues to be good with fish captured in all size classes. Anglers should concentrate their efforts along the outside edges of the weed beds and in the fallen timber east of Woods Chapel Road. In the fall, try the drop-offs on the main lake and the channels in the coves. Black crappie will continue to be small in size and more abundant than white crappie, though some large white crappie will be caught. Most black crappie will be less than 9 inches in length. Channel catfish from 1 to 3 pounds are abundant, and even beginners should be able to land of few of these fish this summer and especially into the fall. Some nice sized channel catfish can be found along the dam early in the summer. Carp are overabundant and easy to catch with small chunks of dough bait. Anglers are encouraged to keep the carp they catch. Recipes for dough bait, cleaning and cooking carp can be obtained by contacting the Kansas City Regional office at the number above.

Bushwhacker Lake

Largemouth bass are abundant at the 157-acre Bushwhacker Lake. Small bass remain dominant and anglers are encouraged to harvest their limit of 6 bass < 12" per day. A slot length limit protects 12-15" bass from harvest. Sunfish anglers should experience good angling for 7-8" bluegill and redear sunfish up to 10 inches. Crappie angling is poor, except that anglers may catch some 8-10 inch black crappie during April. Anglers are encouraged to harvest their limit of 30 crappie per day. Channel catfish angling is good. Anglers should note that special sunfish regulations are in effect on Bushwhacker Lake. The regulations for sunfish on Bushwhacker Lake are: the daily limit for sunfish (bluegill, redear, green sunfish and their hybrids) shall be fifteen (15). In addition, no more than five (5) sunfish eight inches (8") or longer in total length may be included in the daily bag limit. Outboard motors larger than 10 horsepower may be used but are required to be operated at no wake speed.

Harmony Mission Lake

At Harmony Mission Lake in Bates County angling for largemouth bass should be fair to good in 2006. The lake has abundant bass. Action for bass up to 16 inches should be quite good. Anglers are encouraged to take up to their daily limit of six black bass under the 12-15 inch protected slot length limit. The lake produces some good bass over 20 inches long.

Harmony Mission Lake provides good action for sunfish anglers. Casting small baits near submerged cover can produce plenty of action for bluegill up to 7 inches. Anglers can catch redear sunfish between eight and nine inches. Anglers may take up to twenty non-game species in the aggregate.

More than 6000 fingerling hybrid striped bass were stocked cumulatively in 2002, 2003, and 2004 to help control shad. Some hybrid stripers are approaching a size of interest to anglers. Anglers may take up to 4 hybrid striped bass at least 20 inches long daily.

Sampling in the spring of 2005 showed abundant channel catfish. More than ten thousand channel catfish have been stocked over the last five years. Many should be greater than five pounds in 2006. Anglers may take up to four catfish daily.

Hazel Hill Lake

Largemouth bass are abundant at Hazel Hill Lake, but bass larger than 15 inches were scarce in samples collected during spring 2005. Bass 10-13 inches long will be abundant during 2006. Hazel Hill Lake contains clear water so anglers should use light line and may want to consider fishing at night. Anglers may have difficulty catching bass in the clear water.

Bluegill sunfish angling will be fair because few bluegill larger than 7 inches are present. Anglers may be able to catch some larger bluegill during May, but large sunfish may be harder to catch during July and August. Angling for redear sunfish will be fair and some redear up to 9 inches are present.

Catfish angling will be good. Crappie angling will be fair. Black and white crappie are abundant but many are smaller than 9 inches. Anglers will catch larger crappie during spring when they are spawning. Anglers are reminded that outboard motors larger than 10 horsepower are allowed, but are required to be operated at no wake speed.

James A. Reed Memorial W.A.

The Reed Area is open for year-round fishing. Fishing is permitted from 6:00 am until 6:00 pm from October 1 through March 31. From April 1 through September 30, fishing is permitted from 6:00 am until 9:00 pm. Largemouth bass fishing should continue to be good at Bluestem, Catclaw, Gopher, Plover, and Lake Nell. Crank baits and spinner baits used in early spring and late fall near the numerous brush piles and along the weed beds should produce many legal-sized bass. Bluegill fishing will be excellent at Coot, Plover, Jackrabbit, Catclaw, and Lake Nell. We are currently encouraging anglers to release all bluegill less than seven inches long. Baits such as crickets and red worms fished near the brush piles and spawning beds should provide plenty of excitement. Redear sunfish are present in all area lakes; but Coot, Gopher, Plover, and Nell lakes have the potential to produce some over 10 inches long. Crappie fishing this year should provide very good catch rates during late March through early May. Crappie fishing should be excellent at Bodarc, Coot, Nell, Plover, and Gopher lakes. Channel catfish were stocked last fall into area lakes. Fishing should be best during the early morning and late evening hours following the spawn which typically occurs in June. Fishing should continue to be good through the months of July and August. Lake Nell, Coot, Plover, Catclaw, and Jackrabbit should provide the best action. Trout were stocked into Coot Lake in November of 2005 to establish a catch and release fishing season on all fish. Fishing with artificial lures and flies only will end January 31, 2006 - at that time the anglers can start to harvest these fish by area wide regulations. Note: the statewide limit on trout will be 4 trout per day, with a possession limit of 8 trout. An additional stocking of trout will occur in March to extend the trout fishing into the spring. Cottontail Lake is currently closed for renovation. The lake was cleaned out and new fish stocked. When these fish reach catchable size the lake will reopen to fishing.

Kansas City Urban Fishing Lakes

Nine Kansas City and Jackson County park lakes will be stocked with channel catfish (one-pound average). A total of six stockings of channel catfish will be made from April through October. No stockings are made in July and August due to the stress of hauling fish in the hot weather. Statewide limits apply to these lakes. In addition to the catfish stockings, rainbow trout and brown trout (3/4-pound average) will be stocked in November, February and March at select lakes. Coot Lake at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area will be catch and release only for the first part of the season. Over 30,000 pounds of fish will be stocked into the Kansas City Urban Lakes in 2005. Maps showing the locations of stocked lakes are available at the Kansas City Regional Office (816/655-6250).

NOTE: Anglers should note that the daily limit on trout changed to four fish a day on March 1, 2005 and all anglers must have a valid trout permit in order to harvest trout.

Lake Jacomo

White bass will continue to provide good action in 2006. Anglers should troll and cast along windy and rocky shorelines with small crankbaits and shiny spoons, especially in the summer and early fall. The largemouth bass population remains in very good condition. You won’t find too many fish in the trophy class (8+ pounds), but there continues to be an abundance of fish in the 1 to 5 pound range. The strong 2002 year class should exceed 15 inches in length and provide some excellent action beginning in 2006. Watch for bands of water willow that ring the shoreline to start "greening" up in May. Large bass may be found along the outer edge of this aquatic vegetation. In addition, underwater fish habitat maps showing brushpile locations and their depths are available by calling the number above. Channel catfish are common with good numbers over 15 inches in length and many in the 10 to 15 pound range. The lake also supports a low density flathead catfish population with many of these fish in excess of 20 pounds. Fish for flatheads using live bait and concentrate near deep structure and creek channels in the late spring and early summer. The black and white crappie populations should be similar to those in 2005. Most crappie captured will be on the small side although some anglers have reported catching an occasional fish over 12 inches in length. White crappie tend to be larger than the slower growing black crappie. Look for schools of white crappie in the south end of the lake while black crappie tend to be more abundant in the north end of the lake. Anglers should continue to have good success off the north marina boat dock and accessible dock during winter. However, several brushpiles in Liggett Cove have also produced nice stringers of fish and new brush was added to these structures. New brushpiles were also added around the north accessible dock. Surplus walleye stockings occurred again this spring with a little over 24,000 fingerlings stocked in the lake. Many anglers were catching legal-sized walleye throughout the lake last summer. Try your luck fishing after dark along the spillway in late March and early April and on the flats in the upper lake summer and early fall.

Longview Lake

Walleye fishing at Longview seemed to improve in 2005. Spring survey numbers were the highest they have been in the last 8 years. We hope to again stock 46,500 walleye fingerlings in the summer of 2006. Largemouth bass numbers are continuing to improve at Longview. Anglers are reporting better fishing with many nice sized fish being caught. Anglers should concentrate on the vegetation and woody cover in Pittenger Cove, on the west side of the lake, during the spring, for their best chance at catching some nice bass at Longview. Crappie fishing should be about the same, as years past, with several nice fish being caught, but an abundance of smaller fish will be caught as well. In the spring of the year anglers should concentrate fishing efforts near the gravel banks. Many nice white crappie were caught in the spring of 2005 along these banks. Channel catfish numbers remain extremely high, but the average size will be a pound or less. Nightcrawlers and prepared bait fished on shallow flats works well for channel cats. The high densities of channel catfish will provide plenty of good summer fishing. Anglers are encouraged to harvest their daily limit of 10 channel catfish. Flathead Catfish have been stocked into Longview the past three years. Many of the fish have been tagged so that biologists can monitor the success and growth rates of the flatheads. White bass are fairly abundant and can often be caught by fishing along windblown banks or points in late summer and early fall. Carp provide good fishing opportunities at Longview. Fish for carp with small single hooks and small chunks of dough bait.

Maple Leaf Lake

Largemouth bass are somewhat less abundant than expected at Maple Leaf Lake, but 14-16 inch bass are relatively common. Bass fishing will be fair in 2006. The water clarity in Maple Leaf Lake often approaches 3 feet so anglers should use light line and may want to consider fishing at night. Anglers may have difficulty catching bass in the clear water.

Bluegill angling will be poor because few bluegill larger than 6 inches are present. Angling for redear sunfish will be fair. Redear sunfish 7-8 inches are moderately abundant and some 9-10 inch redear sunfish are present. Anglers seeking larger sunfish will have better luck during the spawning period that occurs during the last 3 weeks in May.

Catfish angling will be good. Catfish of 1-3 pounds are more common than larger fish. Crappie angling will be poor due to low abundance and a scarcity of crappie over 9 inches. Anglers are reminded that outboard motors larger than 10 horsepower are allowed, but are required to be operated at no wake speed.


Montrose Lake

Bass sampling between spring 2003 and 2005 revealed an improved bass population compared to the past several years. Improvement in the number of 10-14 inch bass will result in better angling for large bass over the next few years. Bass abundance remains on the low to moderate side compared to other lakes, but bass caught by anglers are in good condition and often large. Anglers may fish longer between strikes than in some other lakes, but the bass they catch may be 18 to over 20 inches long.

Bass anglers at Montrose Lake should plan on fishing murky water that may have less than 8 inches of visibility. Lures that make some noise or vibration may help trigger strikes. Montrose Lake is a power plant cooling reservoir and usually warms earlier in spring than other large reservoirs. Anglers may begin catching bass near the outlet of the warm water discharge during February and March. Bass may be located in stands of water willow in 12-18 inches of water during April and early May. Fallen trees cover much of the shoreline and shelter bass during spring and early summer. Montrose Lake is very shallow, particularly in the upper portion so anglers are urged to use caution while boating. A special length and daily limit is in effect for largemouth bass on Montrose Lake. The length limit of 18 inches and reduced daily limit of two black bass was implemented to allow these fast growing bass to reach quality size.

Crappie angling will be poor during 2006. Crappie numbers were poor when sampled during fall 2004, but many fish were 10 inches or larger

Catfish angling is very good. Anglers may catch catfish from two to over ten pounds. Channel catfish are the most numerous, but some large flathead catfish are also present. Evidence as to the size of flathead catfish present in Montrose Lake was demonstrated in April 2003. An angler from Odessa tied the current pole and line state record for flathead catfish by catching a 77 pound 8 ounce fish and a 35 pound fish the same morning. Anglers are reminded that outboard motors larger than 10 horsepower are allowed, but are required to be operated at no wake speed.


Truman Lake

Black bass fishing should continue to be very good for legal bass (>15") and catch-and-release fishing for sublegal fish. Crappie fishing should be average for legal fish (> 9") and fishing for sublegal fish should be very good, as there are a good number of fish less than 9-inches. Fishing should improve during the summer and fall as the large 2004 year class become legal. Crappie are in excellent condition because of the good shad spawn in 2005. Truman typically produces large year classes of crappie, and 2005 appears to be no exception. White bass and hybrid striped bass should continue to be good. Walleye fishing for legal fish (> 15") should be good; walleye fishing has been improving due to stockings during the last fiver years. Catfishing for blue, channel and flathead catfish should be good on the Osage and Grand River arms. Anglers should note that effective March 1, 2006 there is a change in the statewide catfish daily limits. The new daily limits will be: Flathead Catfish – 5 fish daily; Channel Catfish – 10 fish daily and Blue Catfish – 5 fish daily. The paddlefish snagging season is March 15 through April 30. Snagging should be good for legal fish (> 34") in the upper Osage from Talley Bend to above the Taberville Access with many fish greater than 45 lbs. The paddlefish population is maintained through annual stockings. Snaggers need to remember that once they have take a daily limit of two paddlefish they are prohibited from continuing to snag, snare or grab that day. Remember to use proper handling techniques when releasing sublegal or legal fish back to the water to ensure their survival.


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