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Missouri Lakes - Southwestern Missouri

Fellows Lake

Fellows Lake, located just north of Springfield, offers diverse, close-to-home fishing opportunities. While higher than normal water levels during spring 2005 made sampling problematic, inundated timber and vegetation provided adequate spawning and nursery habitat for near-shore spawning species. Largemouth bass fishing should remain fair to good during 2006. Population data indicates that approximately 21% of bass are >15". This represents an increase in the proportion of quality sized fish since 2002. A 12-15" protected slot length limit helps provide excellent catch-and-release fishing. Fish attractors, constructed from deciduous trees, continue to provide good areas to catch fish. Selected brush structures were replenished in 2004 and 2005. For a detailed contour map and brush pile locations, contact the Missouri Department of Conservation (417/895-6880). Muskie fishing should be fair to good in 2006 as sampling data indicate that 25% of the population is >36" (legal harvest size). Expect best fishing success on overcast, rainy days during the fall or early spring months when water temperature is below 70¡F. Fish large spinners, bucktails, or plugs near brush structure or weed beds. Muskie are occasionally caught as anglers fish for largemouth bass. Carefully handling both sub-legal and legal muskie at the water’s edge will increase their chances for survival. Channel catfish remain abundant throughout the lake and commonly run from 8-19". Preferred baits include chicken livers, nightcrawlers, prepared baits, and cutbait. Walleye and crappie anglers should expect fair fishing success in 2006. Walleye can be caught fishing gravel points in the spring, the backs of coves in the summer using crappie jigs, nightcrawlers, or minnows, and trolling deep-diving crankbaits across main lake points. The minimum length limit for walleye is 15". Minnows and tube jigs are the preferred baits for crappie anglers in and around brush piles and vegetation. Spring will provide the best opportunity for catching quality (10-13") fish. Both white and black crappie are present with most fish ranging from 7-9". Bluegill fishing will be fair this year but most will range from 3-5". Quality sized bluegill (>6") make up approximately 12% of the population. Small pieces of worms and a bobber make an excellent rig for children to catch this species. Numerous redear sunfish were collected during spring sampling. They will provide the opportunity to battle a larger sunfish species. Springfield City Utilities owns Fellows Lake and requires an annual boat permit. Boat motors are limited to 40 horsepower or less. A disabled user accessible fishing dock is located on the northeast arm of the lake, and a 2-lane boat ramp with disabled access and courtesy dock is located at the marina area.

Kellogg Lake

Largemouth bass fishing should be good. Numbers are excellent and bass >15" are present in low numbers. Stocked channel catfish should provide good fishing. Bluegill fishing will continue to be poor as overall size structure is dominated by fish <6". Common Carp are present in low numbers, but larger sized fish (in excess of 10 lbs) have been observed. For anglers who want to catch a large fish these carp should provide a real battle. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, soft plastics, and minnows fished near brush or the edge of vegetation should draw strikes from largemouth bass. Favorite baits for catfish include nightcrawlers, liver, and prepared dough baits fished on the bottom in 2-7 feet of water. Water willow is becoming more abundant around the shoreline in shallow water. This should provide fish habitat and increase the success of anglers who are limited to bank fishing. Brushpile fish attractors should provide fishing opportunities for both bank and boat anglers. Community Assistance Program fishing facilities are available and include a fishing jetty and a boat launching ramp. See posted regulations on the area for size and creel limits.

Lake Springfield

Largemouth bass fishing will be good in 2006 as the population’s size structure has remained consistent since 2003, providing bass in all size ranges. A good portion of the largemouth bass will be >15", and some will be >18". The percentage of bass in the 12-15" protected slot will also remain consistent and continue to provide catch-and-release fishing opportunities. Gizzard shad are providing ample forage, increasing the chances to catch a trophy bass. Spotted bass are becoming more common in Lake Springfield, and several will be available for harvest in 2006. Crappie anglers can expect some fishing success this year. Quality size crappies exist, but are limited in number. White crappie is the dominant crappie species. Bluegill anglers can expect poor fishing success; large bluegill (>6") comprise a very small percentage of the bluegill population. Channel catfish are preferred by many Lake Springfield anglers and should continue to provide excellent fishing. Many 10-20" channel catfish are present. Favorite baits include nightcrawlers, chicken livers, and prepared dough baits. Anglers also have an opportunity to catch a variety of stream fishes such as golden redhorse suckers, bullheads, carp, rock bass, longear sunfish, and green sunfish. Community Assistance Program fishing facilities are available and include a barrier-free fishing jetty, disabled user fishing dock located near the dam, and a boat launching ramp. Fishing line recycling bins have been added in 2005 as part of the Adopt-an-Access program. Lake Springfield has a 6-horsepower limit on boat motors.

Lake Taneycomo

Anglers can look forward to good trout fishing throughout the year. The 20" minimum length limit on brown trout has resulted in good numbers of large brown trout and the opportunity to catch larger trout. Two new state record brown trout were caught at Lake Taneycomo during 2005. The highest densities of both brown trout and rainbow trout occur above Branson. However, good trout fishing can be found throughout the lake. In the upper 3 miles of Lake Taneycomo from Table Rock Dam to the mouth of Fall Creek there is a 12-20" slot length limit on rainbow trout. In this area anglers are required to immediately release all rainbow trout between 12" and 20". Only artificial lures and flies may be used in the upper 3 miles from Table Rock Dam to the mouth of Fall Creek. Soft plastic and natural and scented baits are prohibited in this area. These regulations have resulted in significant improvement in the rainbow trout population. Nine percent of the rainbow trout in this upper 3 mile reach were >13" when this regulation went into effect in March 1997. The percentage of rainbow trout >13" in this same reach increased to 59% by August 2005. In this same area, almost one-half of the brown trout are currently >16".

Below the mouth of Fall Creek, there is no length limit on rainbow trout and there is no restriction on bait. Cooper Creek Access is open for public use. This access is fully accessible to disabled users and features a two lane launching ramp, courtesy dock, covered fishing dock, and restroom. Planning is underway to expand the floating fishing dock to accommodate more anglers. The access is located off of Fall Creek Road between Highway 76 and Highway 165.

Remember, all anglers fishing in Lake Taneycomo upstream from the Highway 65 bridge near Branson are required to have a trout permit. The daily limit of trout is four (4) with a possession limit of eight (8). Of these, only one (1) fish in the daily limit and two (2) fish in the possession limit may be brown trout.

Pomme de Terre Reservoir

Prospects for fishing on Pomme de Terre Reservoir in 2006 remain very good. Excellent shad production in 2006 continues to keep all game species growing at a fast pace and in very good condition. Black bass fishing should be very good in 2006. Sampling results from spring 2005 showed a strong 2002 year class ranging from 13 to 15". Other good year classes from 2004 and 2003 grouped around 8 and 11", respectively. The minimum length limit for all black bass (largemouth, spotted, and smallmouth bass) is 13" at Pomme de Terre. Forty-five percent of the largemouth bass captured in the spring were >13" minimum length limit, and a total of 10% were >15". Bluegill angling should remain good using nightcrawlers and crickets. Catfish fishing will remain fair. Overall densities of black crappies and white crappies remain similar to those of 2005 and should provide good crappie fishing in 2006. Good size distribution and densities of black and white crappies were observed during fall 2005 sampling. Sampling data show that approximately 60% of the age 1 and older crappies exceed the 9" minimum length limit; 30% exceed 10". Several fish attractor brushpiles were placed in the lake around the Nemo area of the Lindley Creek Arm in 2005 and should provide excellent fishing "hot spots" for crappie, bass, and muskies. Brushpiles are typically placed in 15’ to 30’ of water at the normal lake level of 839’ above mean sea level. Maps showing the lake-wide locations of fish attractors installed since 1995 can be obtained by visiting the Department of Conservation’s website at mdc.mo.gov or by contacting the Lebanon Conservation Department Office at 417-532-7612. Angling for white bass is expected to be fair and provide some fish larger than 15". Muskie angling opportunities will continue to be excellent in 2006. Spring 2005 sampling results showed large year classes from the 1999 and 2000 stockings, with 15% exceeding the 36" minimum length limit and densities at an all time high. Muskie fishing is typically best during the months of September and October at water temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees F. Anglers should use heavy fishing tackle with a minimum of 20 lb. test line, a stiff rod, and a 6" steel leader between the line and the lure. Large bucktails or plugs fished over shallow water humps or points are normally best for muskies. A cloudy, rainy, and slightly windy day or early and late on clear days usually produce the best muskie action. Walleye population densities are good due to increased annual stockings and natural reproduction since 2002. Many of the walleye exceed the 15" minimum length limit, and the opportunity to catch a legal fish is good.

Shawnee Trail Conservation Area

Numerous ponds and strip mine pits are available for public fishing at Shawnee Trail Conservation Area. Largemouth bass fishing should be good in Pin Oak Lake. Numbers are low, but size structure is good; fish >20" have been observed. Bluegill fishing should be fair. Population size structure and numbers indicate quality size (>6") bluegill should be present. Redear sunfish are present in moderate numbers, but most individuals exceed 8". In the spring try worms, crickets, small spinners, or flies in the flats along the west end of the lake for best results. Channel catfish, preferred by many area anglers, should provide excellent fishing. There are a large number of catfish >18" in Pin Oak Lake. Favorite baits include nightcrawlers, liver, and prepared dough baits. The best areas for catfish are the ends of the jetties and north off of the floating dock. Facilities available include a gravel parking lot with disabled accessible dock and a boat launching ramp. Most of the strip mine pits on the area contain largemouth bass and sunfish which can provide excellent fishing. Channel catfish should continue to provide excellent fishing as they are stocked in several easily accessible ponds and strip mine pits. Largemouth bass >20", sunfish >10", and channel catfish up to 28" in length have been observed in various ponds and pits during surveys. Best bets: catfish - pits 1 and 29 and ponds 36 and 37; largemouth bass - pits 4 and 7 and ponds 37 and 38; and sunfish pits - 4 and 7 and ponds 32 and 38. Treatment of lily pads and American lotus continued in impoundments and pits on the area in 2005. These control efforts should provide improved angler access to several small impoundments on the area. Efforts to provide improved access in the form of mowed trails to the strip mine pits on the area have begun and will provide increased opportunity for anglers to explore the various bodies of water on the area. Construction of additional mowed trails, primitive boat ramps, parking lots, and roadways should continue during the winter of 2005-2006. This should provide a diversity of access for various users of the strip mine pits and ponds on the area. See posted regulations on the area for size and creel limits.

Stockton Lake

Spring 2005 electrofishing surveys were completed and indicate that the Stockton Lake black bass populations are similar to those of past years. Fifteen percent of the stock-size largemouth bass captured were larger than legal size (>15"). Angler surveys show that largemouth bass are the species most often caught and harvested by anglers. Spotted bass and smallmouth bass are also present, but comprise smaller percentages of the black bass population, and provide fewer legal-sized fish. With good shad production and normal water level, bass angling should be good during 2006. Casting crankbaits, spinner baits, and plastic worms or grubs in select habitats and at the right times of the year are the most effective methods for catching black bass. Electrofishing and angler surveys have shown improvements in the walleye fishery since stocking began in 1998. Stocking, along with the reduction in the minimum size limit, has resulted in the desired increase in the number of angler-harvested walleyes. Spring 2005 electrofishing yielded excellent numbers of walleyes; about 89% of the fish captured were >15". Because 2005 was not a stocking year, few young-of-the-year walleyes were captured during the recent fall survey. However, excellent numbers of walleyes from the 2004 year class were captured. Traditionally, capturing good numbers of walleye that are nearly two years old in the fall would mean excellent walleye fishing the following year. Unfortunately, due to poor shad production in 2005, the average size of the two year old walleyes in 2006 will be less than legal size (>15"), so harvest opportunities will be more limited. Walleye stocking is scheduled for spring 2006 at a rate of 25 to 30 small fingerlings per acre for a total of 750,000 walleyes. Walleye anglers should expect good walleye fishing during 2006, but the fish available for harvest early in the year will be at least three years old. This will result in less harvest, but a larger average harvest length. Jigging with natural bait in 15-25' of water during midsummer is one of the preferred techniques for catching walleye. Trolling bottom-bouncers with natural bait and casting or trolling deep-running crankbaits can sometimes also be successful methods. Crappie recruitment has been inadequate at Stockton Lake for most of the past several years. Previous fall trapnet surveys indicated that a good crappie year class was produced in 2003. Many of the 2003 year class of crappies were harvested in 2005, and they will also provide the majority of the harvest in 2006. Fall 2005 trapnet surveys showed that the 2003 year class dominated the captures, and total crappie numbers captured were higher than the previous several years. The good news is that several young-of-the-year crappie were captured in the nets indicating a better than average 2005 year class and better prospects for the future. Crappie growth is excellent and the percentage of legal fish in this year’s survey was high. Numerous white bass were observed during the fall 2005 walleye survey, which indicates successful white bass recruitment in 2005. These small white bass will provide good fishing for average sized white bass by fall of 2006. The best white bass fishing occurs near or in Stockton’s tributary streams from mid-March to the end of April. Anglers trolling or fishing the windy lake points for white bass in the fall may also be successful. Crankbaits, spinner baits, buzz baits, and white jigs are good choices for catching white bass. Both flathead and channel catfish are present in the lake and, at times, provide good fishing, usually during the spawning season in June. Trotlines or jug lines can provide good catfish fishing during the right times. Bluegill should not be overlooked by Stockton anglers that enjoy pan fishing. Fishing pressure is light with good numbers of large fish available. Bluegill fishing is usually best during summer months using nightcrawlers or crickets in 12-20' of water around structures.


Table Rock Lake

Fishing for black bass should be excellent during 2006. The outlook is good for the next several years. The minimum length limit for all three species of black bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and spotted bass, is 15". Black bass population structure is excellent throughout the reservoir. James River Arm and Kings River Arm have the highest densities of black bass, but also have the highest fishing pressure. Spotted bass comprise about 20% of the black bass population. The best spotted bass fishing occurs in the main part of the lake rather than the river arms. Largemouth bass dominate the river arms. Smallmouth bass also comprise a substantial segment of the black bass population. The best area of the lake to catch smallmouth bass is from the Highway 86 bridge to Campbell Point. Crappie fishing, based on spring electrofishing surveys and the 2005 angler catch, will be excellent again in 2006. The best crappie fishing will be in the James River Arm, Kings River Arm, and upper Long Creek Arm. However, there will be good numbers of crappie throughout the entire reservoir. The minimum length limit for crappie is 10". Anglers will have the opportunity to catch some very large white bass. The best opportunity to catch white bass is in the spring when the fish move into tributary streams to spawn. Anglers willing to troll or fish jigging spoons can catch white bass during the summer months. Large crankbaits trolled on a 3-way swivel with a small, white rooster tail are very effective on these fish when they are suspended and feeding on young-of-the-year shad. Gravel flats 25 to 40’ deep are the best areas to troll or spoon for white bass. Walleye fishing opportunities have also improved in recent years. Areas around the dam and in the Kings River Arm provide good spring walleye fishing. Recent stocking of walleye fingerlings in the James River Arm could translate into improved walleye fishing in this part of the lake over the next few years. Table Rock Lake has excellent bluegill fishing, but few anglers know how to catch these fish. The best time to catch bluegill is in late May and early June. Look for gravel areas and pockets. Fish with live crickets on light tackle with a small splitshot. Look for these fish between 10’ and 15’ deep. Large numbers of bluegill tend to spawn in a small area. Once you find spawning bluegill you can usually catch several. Between March 15 and April 30, anglers will have the opportunity to snag paddlefish, one of the largest fish found in North America. Paddlefish concentrate each spring in the upper reaches of the James River Arm above Cape Fair. Paddlefish must be 34" (eye to fork of tail) to be harvested. If the James River raises enough to stimulate a spawning run, paddlefish will migrate upstream to spawn. The extent and duration of these migrations are dependent upon river flows, but can extend for several miles upstream.


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