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Memorial Day 2015 Fishing Tips

Memorial Day weekend each year kicks off the summer season of boating, fishing and vacationing on Lake of the Ozarks.   While the boat traffic can be a bit harrowing for us fisherman there are many ways to catch fish and enjoy the outstanding fishing that this lake has to offer.   Here are a few tips that hopefully will help catch ‘em.

Seek out Information

Seek out the information about what the fish are doing and what the best baits and colors are to catch them.   Most of the game fish on Lake of the Ozarks are in a transition phase right now between the springtime spawn to their summer hangouts.   The fish bite seems to change daily during this period.   

If you can book a fishing guide early in your trip, that would be my number one suggestion.   There are some excellent guides on this lake that can help dial you into the fish.   Once dialed into the bite with the guides you will be able to replicate that throughout the weekend.

Here is a list of guide services that are recommended for Lake of the Ozarks:

Jacks Guide Service (573) 434-2570

James Dill Guide Service (573) 204-9005

Big Ed’s Guide Service (573)-692-6710

Alfred Chapman Guide Service (573)-465-3810

Terry Blankenship (573) 480-2835

One special note about two of the guide services, Jacks Guide Service and Alfred Chapmans Guide Service, both have jet boats which can launch in the river areas and below the dam and thus you can enjoy some excellent fishing as well as not worry about the boat traffic.   Both are also available for guide trips on the main lake as well.

If you cannot book a guide, you should take a trip to one of the bait and tackle stores here at Lake of the Ozarks.   The bait and tackle store owners and workers are very tuned into what the fish are biting on and how to catch them; they are always very helpful and will share with you the information that you need to have success fishing.

Check out these Bait and Tackle Stores this weekend:

Fitz Fishing Tackle and Supplies
3621 Osage Beach Pkwy, Osage Beach, MO 65065
(573) 693-9299

Osage Beach Bait and Tackle
5441 Highway 54
Osage Beach, Missouri 65020
573-348-9333

Other great sources for fishing information are on www.bassingbob.com and talking to others in the area that you are fishing.

Keep It Simple

Right now the lake level is about the highest that it has been this year and the water temperature is in the low to mid 70’s, depending on the area of the lake.   The spawn is for the most part finished and the fish are scattered and spread out everywhere.   All coves, banks, points, docks, etc. should have plenty of catchable fish.   This is a good thing for weekend fishing as you really do not have to target any one specific type of pattern to catch fish; they can be anywhere.

Here are a few simple recommendations to help you catch some fish:

  1. Your best chance to catch bass and crappie will be during low light times as the fish will get shallower and often feed during this time period.   It gets light about 6:00 AM and dark about 8:30, targeting these low light times will catch you more fish this time of the year.   For Bass, try top water baits like a Pop R, Zara Spook or a Buzz Bait.
  2. Fish shade when the sun comes up, while shade is not absolutely necessary, your chances of catching some good bass and crappie will increase fishing shady areas.   For bass a couple of very simple baits that work well, in particular around docks and other areas, are a weightless whacky rigged senco/stick worm or a weightless fluke. Just let the baits slowly fall and work them back with slight and slow twitches
  3. If there is wind, fish the areas that have wind coming directly onto a bank or a dock, the wind helps to make the fish feel more comfortable to come up shallow to feed.  With the wind hitting a bank you can catch bass with a small crank bait or spinner bait.
  4. Fish slow on the bottom, during the day time hours in particular for bass, fish with a plastic work or jig on the bottom, fish the bait slow, just slightly dragging or hopping it along the bottom.

Check Out Multiple Areas Close By to Fish

As mentioned above, the fish are scattered everywhere right now, there is really no need to make long runs in your boat if you have one; there should be plenty of catchable fish in your cove.  If you have a boat and want to make a full day of fishing, I would suggest that you find a no wake cove that is close by where you are staying.  While the main channel will be very rough, depending on the type of boat you have, it could be a simple as being on the main channel for a short period to fish a big no wake cove just one cove away.  Or better yet, travel to that cove early morning or late day to fish.  One of my favorite places to fish during holiday weekends and weekends during the summer is the no wake area between the Osage and the Grand Glaize.   This is at the 19mm of the Osage.  Many of you will recognize this area if you have ever travelled over the Grand Glaize bridge in Osage Beach. This stretch of water is a no wake zone from 10:00AM till dusk on weekends and holidays during the summer. It is about a mile of water that has everything that you could want to fish, there are many coves, sea walls, docks, main lake points, secondary points, bluffs, bluff ends, etc.  You can spend hours and days in this stretch without even covering it all.   If you have a boat, there are several resorts with ramps. My favorite is Robins Resort; which charges $5 to launch your boat from their ramp.  Their ramp is in the no wake zone.

If you do not have a boat, there are many places to fish from banks and docks.  In addition to the cove that you are staying, there are several Missouri Department of Conservation public-fishing areas on the lake.   Check out Missouri Department of Conservation web site for these areas.   Many of these areas are used for tournament fishing and thus are stocked well and you may just catch the catch of a life time fishing from these banks and docks.   Condo docks are also a great place that holds lots of fish and provides you lots of shoreline and cover to fish.  If you are not staying at a condo complex, ask around, perhaps you know a friend or someone that is staying at a condo complex or resort.

Make safety your number one priority while fishing this weekend.   Be very cautious fishing as there will be a lot of big boats creating some very big waves.  Be sure to wear your life jackets.  I often will take a knee or sit down on my boat when I know I am about to be hammered by a big wave while fishing.   If you are making a run and encounter a big wave, slow down, roll with the wave and move on.   Awareness of what is going on around you and good common sense are big keys to safety.

Good luck fishing!!

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