Monday, May 27th
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The Morning Dump

The Morning Dump

Welcome to the morning dump, a collection of random thoughts regarding Lake of the Ozarks fishing,

Fishing Conditions

This has been a really tough winter for catching bass.  We have had a lot of cold temperatures, dirty water and a continual changing of the pace of the winter draw down of the water.   All seem to have contributed to a tough bite.  However, the fish are getting grouped up as they generally do this time of the year on creek channel banks with the first deep water coming out of the backs of some of the bigger coves/creeks.   Fish have also been on secondary points, towards the backs of coves and/or long slightly tapering points but with deep water close by.

While the water clarity has been mostly stained throughout the lake, I have found clearer water in coves on one side of the lake and dirtier water directly across the lake in coves.   The continual changing of the air temp and night time colder temps have also seemed to have an effect on the bite.  One day the water temp is 35-37 and on other days I have found water temps from 38-41.   For me the most consistent bite has been on the stick bait worked slowly close to the banks in 4’-8’ of water with the bait slowly sinking and small finesse baits worked slowly on the bottom from the bank out to 15’ of water.  The finesse bait bites have seemed to come a bit deeper than the stick bait bite.

I’m not a crappie fisherman, but talking to Rob and others, the crappie bite has been really good around brush, big docks and vertically fishing off big docks.   I see some anglers on the water corking for the crappie as well.

What I’m Hearing and Seeing from Others

It seems that there is a river bite in the bigger creeks up the Glaize and Niaungua.   This is evident from recent pictures of small mouth bass being posted on social media.  From what I have heard the water temps are warmer and the water is a bit clearer too.

Jack with a Small Mouth
Terry and Rick w Small Mouth

I have heard of a somewhat consistent bite on the lower end on traditional winter banks like creek channel banks in the first deeper water 8’-15’ of water coming out of the backs of coves.  I have also heard that there has been a bite on the first secondary points coming out of the backs of creeks, especially on days when the sun is shining with the fish being caught primarily on a stick bait and finesse jigs.  The secondary points that were described to me were more tapering type of points with mixed pea gravel and smaller rock.

As Jim Dill mentioned in the monthly experts video, his favorite banks have been those that have transition from ledge rock, chunk rock, pea gravel w chunk rock and then to pea gravel.  I tried some banks like that just recently and caught some nice fish.

Mixed Rock Creek Channel Bank

Use of Graphs

It seems that this time of the year the use of your graphs is perhaps more important than most other times of the year.   What you are looking for are channels meeting up with the bank, channels that run right along the banks, channel swings, bait fish and fish on your graph.

You can find these channel banks, channel swings and channels that meet the bank easiest using your mapping graphs.  I use a Lake Master chip but Navionics and others will show the same things.   Where you see the contour lines being very close together, black on your graph and come right up to the bank that is the point that the creek channel hits the banks, that generally is a ditch or deeper spot on the bank, where those contour lines move away from where they meet the bank is often a channel swing.  The fish travel along those channels and will sit in those deep spots right close to the bank and along those swings into or away from the bank.

Creek Channel Bank

Finding bait fish on your graph is another key this time of the year.  As the fish are lethargic feeders this time of the year they are not going to travel very far for food.  The bait fish do not move as much either, so when you see a lot of bait fish on your graph, especially over hard bottom there should be bass in the area.  Now weather they are feeding or not, that’s a whole other thing.   I have found rather consistently in the winter that on overcast days, the bait fish seem to be mostly related to the bottom and on sunny day’s they seem to be in the mid to upper water column.   My guess is that the bait fish come up higher on sunny days for the warmth, but that is also likely where the plankton is that they feed on.   When I don’t see bait fish on my graph, I usually then fish with a bottom bait, just guessing that if there are not shad around to feed on that the fish will feed on crawdads.

Finding fish on my graphs is another thing that I will look for this time of the

Fish on Grap

 

Fish on Graph

 

year.    Probably like most of you, I will see a lot of fish on my graph at times but never sure if they are bass, crappie, white bass, cat fish, etc.    The best I can describe this, is the crappie seem to bunch up and displayed on the graph as little dots, the catfish and gar seem to be more spread out and a longer marks on the graph, white bass tend to stack on top of each other and the bass seem to be a bit more spread out with medium sized lines or arches.   However some of the longer lines that seem to be catfish/gar can be bass swimming and chasing.  You will also see streaks coming off the bottom, often into a ball of bait fish.

I have recently found some schools on my graph under my boat (see my fishing reports w graph pics) and have backed off the group and dragged a swim bait or finesse jig through them very slowly and have caught them, often to my surprise, as in the winter fish have a tendency to suspend and not be very aggressive.  However, I will try that technique more often just to see if I can get the school fired up.   I have caught them in 16-17’ of water in the winter on the bottom and I would guess you could get bites even deeper too.

Speaking of graphs, many of the anglers are raving about the New Garmin Live Scope graph.  With stories of seeing the fish in the brush, seeing their baits in the water and seeing fish swim after the bait and either eat the bait or turn away from it.  I was out with Jack Uxa a couple of weeks ago and he showed me the graph, I was pretty amazed.

Thinking out-side of the Box

Drop Shot
Spoon

While the A-Rig, Stick Bait and bottom finesse jigs are a staple of winter time fishing on Lake of the Ozarks it seems that there are other baits that many try to catch-em in the winter with success.   A couple of weeks ago when I fished with Wayne, he threw a very small swim bait on a ½ oz head on spinning gear and light line just swimm

Ned Rig

ing it along the bottom and around brush piles and caught bass and some keepers.  He commented that he felt that the fish might bite a spinner bait worked the same way.   Other baits like the Ned Rig, drop shot rigs and Carolina Rigs have also caught fish.  I have even tried vertically drop shotting and using a light weight flutter spoon fishing over the tops of the schools.

Trying different patterns and structure too.  I talked to a guy recently that has been catching some quality bass on main lake points with a stick bait.  I talked to another that caught quality fish on small finesse worms on bluff rock slides and have talked to others that have caught fish in the backs of coves in 4-6’ of water and also in 25’ of water.   So it seems that winter fishing is just not limited to a few baits and a few traditional patterns.

Well that was kind of a long dump!!!  I hope you enjoyed.   We will try to do these dumps periodically each month.

 

Tight Lines All.

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