Missouri fishing report hooks anglers

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Missouri fishing report hooks anglers

By Tim Renken, St. Louis Post Dispatch

04/11/2002

The return of some walleye fishing to Mark Twain Lake and the improvement of bass fishing there, the further decline of largemouth bass fishing in Bull Shoals and the likelihood of good bass fishing at the Lake of the Ozarks highlight the fishing prospects report of the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The report, a gold mine for fishermen, summarizes the results of surveys of most of the state's waters last year.

The report for Mark Twain Lake is fairly cheery overall, suggesting that the stocking of walleye in recent years has apparently paid off with anglers catching more than in recent years.

The walleye population, however, remains far below what the lake supported 20 years ago when it was new.

Mark Twain's bass population, in number and size, is the best in several years, the report says. Anglers should be able to take one 15-inch fish for every three or four sub-legals. One in 10 fish should be 18 inches or longer.

Crappie prospects are good, according to the report, and that has been the case through the winter and into this spring. More than half of the crappie are at least 9 inches.

However, because of unusually poor reproduction last year, crappie fishing probably will decline as the season goes along as the fish produced in previous years are caught.

There was a small bass kill on the Missouri part of Bull Shoals last year and this, coupled with poor reproduction the last several years, means relatively poor largemouth bass fishing on that big reservoir. The report doesn't cover the Arkansas part of the lake, but the same situation, or worse, exists there.

Smallmouth and spotted bass numbers, though, have increased, as have the number of walleye in the lake. White bass fishing is expected to be good, crappie fair to good.

Rumors have been circulating that a fish kill on the Lake of the Ozarks decimated bass. There was a small kill of large bass in the lake blamed by state biologists on some always-present pathogens. But according to this report, bass fishing on the Lake of the Ozarks should be good, maybe excellent, this year. And that has been at least partially borne out by tournament results so far, despite difficult weather.

The report states that largemouth numbers are good for fish both below and above the 15-inch limit. Spotted bass numbers over the 12-inch limit are average.

The outlook for crappie anglers on the lake is excellent and, indeed, crappie fishing was good through the winter and has been good so far this spring with fish from a large 1999-class now grown larger than 10 inches. Reproduction also was good last year, the report states, and these fish will be growing into legal size this fall.

About walleye on Lake of the Ozarks the report has this to say:

"Walleye are now well established after 10 years of stocking. Several of these fish are being caught on steep points on crankbaits, jigs, and minnows."

All 36 pages of the report on most of Missouri's fishable waters, including lakes large and small and streams, are at http://www.conservation.state.mo.us/fish/p...ects/detail.htm.
 


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