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Missouri Lakes - Northeastern Missouri

Deer Ridge Lake

This 48-acre lake, nestled among the timber in Deer Ridge Conservation Area, continues to be favored by anglers seeking solitude and a picturesque setting. The lake was renovated and restocked during 1996, and the fish community is now fully developed. All species supported good fishing during 2005 and will again during 2006. Largemouth bass remain very numerous, although most are less than 15 inches long. A few bass over six pounds are present. Bluegill 6 to 7 inches long are plentiful, and the abundance of bluegill over 8 inches long has increased. Crappie anglers should continue to enjoy catching 8 to 10-inch long black crappie, especially during springtime. However, summertime crappie fishing can also be good around standing timber and brush piles. Anglers seeking channel catfish should find fishing to be fair; most catfish are 16 to 26 inches long. Area visitors may also want to take advantage of the primitive camping areas, hiking trails, and shooting range available at this Conservation Area.

Green City Lake

This 60 acre lake in Sullivan County should provide excellent fishing for channel catfish in 2006. Recent surveys of catfish show good numbers of fish over four pounds, with many reaching or exceeding six pounds. The lake is also stocked annually with 300 catfish (5/acre), so anglers should be able to harvest their daily limit of 4 channel catfish. In fall 2004, 300 channel catfish were stocked with reward tags worth from $10 to $100 as part of a research study. Largemouth bass numbers were fair during spring sampling in 2003. Most bass will be 12 inches long or less, but some fish over 15 inches long are present. Good numbers of 6-8 inch long bluegill can be found, so fishing for that species should be good. Crappie fishing should be fair, with some longer than 13 inches. Boaters are reminded that outboard motors in excess of 10 horsepower are allowed but must be operated at slow, no-wake speed.

Hazel Creek Lake

Fishing will be much the same in 2006 according to fish surveys conducted in 2005. Although young largemouth bass numbers are improving, the 18-inch minimum length limit will remain in effect. While bass numbers are low to moderate, average size is impressive. Nearly 50% of bass caught by anglers will be greater than 15 inches long and two out of ten fish are expected to be 18 inches or longer. The white crappie population continues to improve, but most fish caught by anglers in 2006 will be less than 8 inches long. Muskie fishing is predicted to be fantastic in 2006. Nearly 50% of the muskies captured with fyke nets in spring 2005 were 36 inches or longer including 46" and 47" fish that weighed 30 pounds each! In order to safely release these large, toothy predators at boat side, anglers should keep a floating ruler, needle-nose pliers, hook cutter and leather gloves handy. Anglers who wish to assist first-hand with muskie management in Missouri are encouraged to participate in the ShowMe Muskie project, a volunteer angler diary program. Channel catfish in the 2 to 4 pound range are available, but not in great numbers. Blue catfish were stocked in 1990 and may be caught using dead shad as bait. Bow fishing for common carp and grass carp is encouraged and can be very exciting throughout the spring and summer months.

Henry Sever Lake

Angling at this 160-acre lake will be similar to recent years. Muskie fishing is expected to improve this year as many of the fish stocked in 2002 will be approaching 30" by the end of this year. The minimum length limit for muskies was also reduced to meet the statewide limit of 36". This rule takes effect on March 1st. Fish exceeding 40" will also be present. Although walleye have not been stocked in the lake for quite a few years, a low level population persists with fishing averaging over three pounds. Largemouth bass size will continue to be good with fish of all sizes being common. A 12" – 15" slot length limit is still in place for largemouth bass. Channel catfish angling by pole and line will continue to be good with fish of all sizes present. Panfishing will also be good on the lake with large redear sunfish being the best bet. Area facilities include a handicap-accessible fishing dock, graveled camping pads, a concrete boat ramp, and boat rental (motor not included).

Hunnewell Lake

This 220-acre lake consistently provides good to excellent fishing for most, and 2006 will be no exception. Largemouth bass anglers can expect plenty of catch-and-release action due to very numerous bass in the 12 to 15-inch protected length range. One of every twenty bass caught should be 15 inches or longer and a few bass over 22 inches long are present. Bass growth has slowed in recent years, so we encourage anglers to harvest bass up to their daily limit of six bass less than 12 inches long. The most exciting fishing opportunities in the lake are for bluegill and redear sunfish, especially during late May. Panfish anglers will find bluegill up to 9 inches long and redear sunfish over 11 inches long. Crappie are also abundant, and a good proportion of them will exceed 9 inches in length. Anglers can expect one of every six crappie caught to be at least 9 inches long. Catfish angling (both channels and blues) will continue to be good during 2006. Blue catfish are stocked annually, and several exceeding 30 pounds are caught in the lake each year. Private boats are prohibited on this lake to protect Hunnewell Hatchery from zebra mussel invasion. Rental boats are available. Children, elderly, and disabled anglers will enjoy using the barrier-free fishing dock. Brush piles have been sunk below the covered dock to attract big panfish. Numerous brush fish

LaBelle Lake

This 112-acre lake, formerly known as LaBelle City Lake and managed through the Department’s Community Assistance Program, was purchased by the Conservation Department in 2003. Fishing will be good for all species during 2006. Largemouth bass are very abundant with plenty of fish smaller than 14 inches and good numbers in the 14 to 18-inch protected length range. In fact, one of every four or five bass caught should be at least 15 inches long, and one of every 20 should exceed 18 inches long. To reduce bass abundance and maintain good bass growth, anglers are encouraged to keep bass less than 14 inches long, up to their daily limit of six. The bluegill population has improved with excellent numbers of fish 6 to 8 inches long and some over 8 inches. Redear sunfish up to 11 inches long are also moderately abundant. In recent years, this lake has become a hotspot for crappies anglers, and crappie anglers can expect another good spring season in 2006. Black crappie over 9 inches long are common and easy to catch during the spring. Channel catfish will also provide excellent fishing opportunities during 2006. Good numbers of catfish up to 18 inches long are present.

Lake Showme

This 225 acre lake in Scotland County should provide excellent fishing for multiple species. Largemouth bass numbers were excellent during spring sampling in 2004. Almost 25% of the bass sampled were at least 15 inches long. Panfish angling should continue to be excellent in 2006. Anglers should expect to catch a high percentage of bluegill seven inches and longer. Although not as numerous as bluegill, good numbers of redear eight inches or longer should also be encountered while targeting panfish. Crappie anglers frequently harvest large numbers of nine to 11 inch long fish from the fishing dock. Walleye, which are stocked by the City of Memphis, continue to provide a quality angling experience in this north Missouri lake. The spring 2005 electrofishing survey for walleye showed that 96% of those captured were at least 15 inches long, and nearly one-fourth of the walleye captured were at least 20 inches long. There is an 18 inch minimum length for walleye and only four walleye may be kept per day. Boaters are reminded that outboard motors in excess of 10 horsepower are allowed but must be operated at slow, no-wake speed.


Long Branch Lake

Anglers will find little change in the largemouth bass population in 2006. Numbers of bass continue to be poor, but 20% of this low density population will be over the legal length limit of 15 inches. Anglers may notice an increase in the catch rate of bass less than 12 inches due to the production of a good 2004 year-class. Walleye, last stocked in 2001 have faired well and all of these fish meet or exceed the 18-inch minimum length limit. A good time to fish for walleye at Long Branch Lake is mid to late March when walleye are spawning along the dam. Channel catfish in the 2-3 pound range will continue to provide good action for bank anglers and those fishing trotlines off of points and in flooded timber. Large blue catfish are not uncommon; jugs fished with shad are most effective in spring and early summer. Flathead catfish are more difficult to catch, but are available to those willing to use live bait. Crappie are still growing slowly, and the population is dominated by fish less than 8 inches long. Abundant small carp will provide fast action for pole and line angling and bow fishing. A barrier-free fishing dock near the marina enhances fishing opportunities at this lake.


Mark Twain Lake

Largemouth bass fishing during 2005 was very good until late summer, and anglers can expect fishing to be similar during 2006. Based on spring 2005 surveys, bass abundance in Mark Twain has declined over the last two years, largely because few bass were produced in 2002. However, the abundance of bass at least 15 inches long remains good, so anglers can expect good bass fishing during 2006. Three of every 10 fish caught during 2006 should exceed 15 inches long. Crappie fishing during 2006 will also be similar to 2005, although the abundance of small crappie has continued to decline. Crappie growth during 2005 was slow; however the abundance of crappie at least 9 inches long has increased. Three of every ten crappie caught should exceed 9 inches long, and anglers should not have to filter through as many small crappie as they have in most recent years. White bass fishing will remain sporadic. Anglers do best when these fish are spawning on riffles in tributary streams in early spring, or while feeding on schooling shad or congregating over underwater humps during the summer. Walleye abundance remains low, although anglers are reporting more incidental catches than during most recent years. Anglers should also consider walleye fishing in tributary streams of the lake during early spring where walleye abundance has increased due to recent tributary stream stockings. Catfish anglers can expect good fishing to continue this year. Many flathead catfish exceeding 25 pounds are caught each year on trot lines, bank lines, and jugs. Catfish anglers do best in the upper portions of North Fork, Middle Fork, and South Fork arms.


Route J Reservoir

Largemouth bass fishing in this 100-acre water supply lake will be very good during 2006. Anglers can expect plenty of catch-and-release action for 12 to 15-inch bass; however, bass exceeding 15 inches long will not be uncommon. Anglers will have a fair chance at bass over 5 pounds. Bluegill will also provide good fishing during 2006. All sizes are abundant so only one of every 10 caught will exceed 8 inches long. Black crappie are present in moderate numbers with most fish between 6 and 9" long. Crappie anglers may want to fish around the eleven brush piles scattered around the lake. Channel catfish are stocked annually. Most catfish will be 12 to 20 inches long. This lake also provides excellent ice fishing for most species.


Thomas Hill Reservoir

4,500 acre Thomas Hill Reservoir provides water for cooling Associated Electric’s coal-fired generators. The warm water discharge results in a unique, year-round fishery. White Crappie are one of the most sought after species and anglers should expect similar action in 2006 as in 2005, but with fewer large fish. Our fall 2005 trap-netting survey revealed more adult crappie than in 2004, but only 25% were 9 inches or longer. Popular with wintertime anglers due to their attraction to the warm water discharge, hybrid striped bass are known for their fierce fight. Fish exceeding the minimum length limit of 20 inches can be caught on rattling lures, soft plastics and jigs, as well as chicken livers and minnows. Both crappie and hybrid striped bass are vulnerable through the winter months in and below the warm-water discharge canal on the southeast side of the lake. Largemouth bass enthusiasts will be pleased with Thomas Hill Reservoir in 2006. Anglers will find higher numbers of bass and a larger proportion will be 15 inches or longer than in 2005. Flathead and channel catfish round out the angling choices at this reservoir. A majority of channel catfish are small due to overpopulation, so anglers are encouraged to take home their daily limit of ten. There is the potential to catch a large Flathead catfish and they can be best pursued with live bait in late May and June. Brush piles were placed in the lake as fish-attracting cover from 1991 through 1994. In spring 2005, eleven of these brush piles had new brush added to them and four new brush piles were constructed. Call the Northeast Regional Office to request a location map, or just look for the bright yellow "Fish Attractor" signs on shore; the brush pile is nearby.


Unionville City Lake

This 85 acre lake in Putnam County should provide excellent fishing for channel catfish in 2006. The lake is annually stocked with 1275 catfish (15/acre), so anglers should find plenty of 1-3 pound fish. There should also be plenty of 5-8 pound catfish available. Anglers are encouraged to harvest their limit of 4 channel catfish per day. Largemouth bass numbers are low, but the majority of bass should be longer than 15 inches with some over 18 inches. An 18-inch minimum length limit on bass should help protect young bass, eventually increasing bass numbers. Bluegill 6 inches and longer are not abundant, so fishing for that species will generally be poor. There is a 10-horsepower limit on the lake.


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