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Missouri Lakes - Southeast Region

Clearwater Lake (Southeast Region)

According to the 2005 fish population surveys, largemouth bass, spotted bass, and white crappie fishing should be good in 2006. Both largemouth bass and spotted bass densities were above average. The largemouth bass population remains in excellent shape with 37% of the bass >15". Likewise, 26% of the spotted bass were > 14". Crappie numbers were good and sizes were excellent, with 74% > 10". Clearwater Lake supports a good white bass population. In April and early May, white bass migrate up the Black River to spawn; the best fishing is upstream of Sinking Creek. White bass of 1-3 pounds are common.

Each fall, Corps of Engineers and Missouri Department of Conservation staff construct several large, hardwood brushpiles in the lake. Maps are available showing the brushpile locations.

Council Bluff Lake (Southeast Region)

This 440-acre lake, located on Mark Twain National Forest in Iron County, boasts the best redear sunfish population in the region. Fish 7-10" are very abundant (Master Angler fish = 10"), although 11-12" fish are not uncommon. These fish are most readily caught during the spring and early summer on small worms or crickets. Due to very clear water, fish are often found deeper than in other lakes, even during the spawn. Fish for redears on the bottom in water 4-15' deep, targeting points and the mouths of coves. Look for spawning beds in shallow water in May and June. Bluegill are less abundant but of quality size also; 7-8" fish can be found in the lake’s abundant submerged timber. Largemouth bass are abundant and average 12-17". They can be challenging to catch in the clear water, requiring finesse and light tackle. Topwaters in the very late evening and early morning are often the ticket. Channel catfish are stocked annually. The MDC is conducting a study on channel catfish in Council Bluff. A number of catfish in the lake have been marked with tags worth from $10 to $100. If you catch a tagged catfish, return the tag to: Mo. Dept. of Conservation, 1110 South College Avenue, Columbia, MO 65201. Along with the tag, be sure to send the following information–date fish was caught, length of fish, whether fish was kept or released, and your name and address. Angling should continue to be good for catfish up to 20". There is a concrete boat ramp off Highway DD and a gravel ramp off Highway 32.

Crane Lake (Southeast Region)

This 99-acre U.S. Forest Service lake is located in Iron County. The lake is very clear and has minimal cover, which makes fishing a challenge on bright days. A successful aquatic- plant establishment project is ongoing by the USFS and MDC in an attempt to improve fish habitat. Largemouth bass average 10-14", with a few larger fish to be found. A 12-15" slot length limit is in effect and anglers are encouraged to harvest smaller bass to improve overall bass size. Bass can be found around beaver lodges, downed trees, overhanging vegetation, and aquatic vegetation planting exclosures. Lighter lines and smaller lures are often the key to taking bass from the lake’s clear water. Channel catfish are very abundant, averaging 10-17", with a few fish to 20". Fish the shallow coves around woody cover in May and June. An occasional redear sunfish can be found; most are 8-12". Look for redear spawning beds in shallow water in May and June. Black crappie are present in low numbers and can be found around beaver lodges and deep water stumps. The lake has a day-use area, earthen fishing jetty, and unpaved boat launch.

Cypress Lake This 95-acre lake is located on Otter Slough Conservation Area, near Dexter. Most anglers target sunfish. Redear sunfish and bluegill are abundant; redear will average 6-7" and bluegill 5-6". Channel catfish angling should continue to be excellent. Fish averaged 13-16", with numerous fish greater than 20". One tip for catfish is to fish the shallows near the jetties during spring evenings--before aquatic vegetation becomes abundant. Largemouth bass angling will continue to be excellent, with many fish 12-20". Bass anglers report catching fish in excess of 20". A 15-inch minimum length limit is in effect. This regulation will allow more small bass to remain in the lake to feed on small bluegill, thereby improving bluegill and redear sunfish growth rates. Bass can be taken in the spring on plugs and spinner baits along the north shoreline and throughout the lake during summer on plastic worms, plugs, and spinner baits along weedlines. Black crappie are low in abundance but average 10". The lake has numerous brush piles. A disabled-accessible fishing dock and boat ramp are located on the lake. The lake is closed from Oct. 15 to Feb. 1 as a waterfowl refuge.

Duck Creek C.A. Pool #1 (Southeast Region)

Fishing Pool #1 is a unique experience because of the extensive aquatic vegetation present. The aquatic vegetation can make navigation and fishing difficult later in the summer, but this vegetation is the primary reason for the excellent fish populations in the lake. To create open water areas in 2005, MDC personnel applied herbicide which killed about 125 acres of submerged vegetation in the southwest corner of the pool. In 2006, submerged vegetation should slowly re-colonize this area. In May 2006, we will apply herbicides in the southeast corner of the pool to create additional open water areas. Maps showing the herbicide treatment areas can be obtained by calling the number above.

Crappie fishing should be good, with fish > 10 " common’. The best crappie fishing occurs in March or April as the water temperature approaches 50 degrees. Sunfish angling should also be good, with large fish (>8") abundant. The best time to fish for bluegill, redear sunfish, and warmouth is during May and June. Most are caught on crickets or jigs. Because the water is crystal clear, anglers need to use light (4 lb) fishing line.

Pool #1 supports an excellent largemouth bass population. You may not catch many bass, but the bass you catch could be large. In the 2005 fish survey, 26% of the bass were > 15". The chain pickerel population is underutilized and Master Angler size pickerel (>23") are fairly common. The best pickerel fishing is in February, March, and April. You should use spinner baits, other weedless lures, or large minnows.

Fredericktown City Lake (Southeast Region)

This 140-acre lake in Madison County supports a fair largemouth bass population. Expect to catch mostly 12-15" bass, which should provide good catch and release fishing. There are good numbers of 6-7" bluegill, although few are >8". Channel catfish should provide good fishing, with many fish in the 2- to 5-pound range. Fish for channel catfish with night crawlers, liver, or stink baits. Channel catfish 8-12" are stocked annually. Crappie fishing should be fair to good.

Lake Girardeau (Southeast Region)

The lake continues to support a good largemouth bass population. All sizes of bass are present, including many bass <15". Each spring, a few 8-10 pound bass are caught. It appears that harvest is reducing the number of bass >15". Therefore, anglers are encouraged to release larger bass. Anglers will find low numbers of 9-14" black and white crappie. Bluegill angling should be fair, with a few fish >8". Most of the redear sunfish are 7-12", which should provide very good fishing. Channel catfish angling will again be good.

Perry County Lake (Southeast Region)

Largemouth bass fishing should be excellent. In the 2005 fish survey, 28% of the bass were >15". Bass anglers should fish brushpiles, aquatic vegetation enclosures, or the aeration boils where gizzard shad congregate. Lures that imitate gizzard shad or crayfish should be very effective.

Bluegill fishing should be good. Bluegill > 6" are common, but few are >8". Large redear sunfish (9-11") should provide anglers with an excellent challenge. The white and black crappie populations are stunted, with only 2% of the fish > 9". The majority of crappie are caught in April, May, and September. Anglers are encouraged to harvest 30 crappie per day. Minnows fished in woody cover work well for crappie. Channel catfish angling should also be good, with some fish up to 10 lbs. Anglers should fish with cut bait, stink bait, or nightcrawlers around fallen timber.

Robert DeLaney Lake (Southeast Region)

White crappie fishing should be good in 2006. The white crappie population is comprised mainly of small fish (85% < 9"), but some large (>10") crappie are present. According to tagging studies and population surveys, anglers harvest a high percentage of 8" crappie. Consequently, on March 1, 2006, crappie regulations will change from statewide limits (no minimum length and 30 daily) to a 9" minimum length limit with a daily limit of 15. These new regulations will reduce harvest of the smaller crappie and ultimately should result in more large crappie in the lake

Bluegill angling should be good due to an abundance of 6-7" fish, but fish >8" are rare. Bluegill can be easily caught with worms or crickets anywhere along the shoreline. Largemouth bass numbers are low, but 41% of the bass are >15". Channel catfish angling should also be good, with some fish up to 10 lbs. Anglers should fish with cut bait, stink bait, or nightcrawlers around fallen timber.

Wappapello Lake (Southeast Region)

Crappie fishing will continue to be good. Most of the white crappie will be 6-10", with fair numbers of 10-12" fish, and a few up to 14". There will be a very high number black crappie <9". A 9" minimum length limit will be implemented for crappie on March 1, 2006. All crappie <9" must be released unharmed immediately after being caught. The daily limit of 30 crappie will not change. Largemouth bass angling should be good and similar to recent years. Most of the bass will be 8-15", but large bass are not uncommon. There is no size limit for black bass, and anglers are encouraged to harvest bass <11", up to the daily limit of six. This should allow the remaining bass to grow faster, resulting in more larger bass. Bluegill fishing should again be good, with many 6-8" fish. Sunfish anglers can also expect to catch redear sunfish, warmouth, green sunfish, and longear sunfish. Channel catfish are common, especially along the dam. A few large flathead and blue catfish are also present.


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