Articles by John Neporadny Jr. -
Lake of the Ozarks’ Hot Bass Fishing
By John Neporadny Jr.
Spring provides some of the hottest bass fishing action
of the year and probably the best chance for catching that once-in-a-lifetime
lunker at Lake of the Ozarks. The action heats up first in the
tributary sections of the lake such as the Gravois, Grand Glaize and Niangua
arms and then spreads throughout the rest of the lake as the spring weather
continues to warm and the hours of daylight increase.
My home lake always has a good population of largemouth
bass because it consistently has stable water levels in the spring which insures
good reproduction every year.
Electroshocking sampling by MDC Fisheries Biologist Greg
Stoner indicated that his catch rate per hour of legal-size bass (15 inches or
longer) has remained about the same for the last five years. The MDC relies on a
metric known as RSD15 which is the percentage of legal size largemouth sampled
during electroshocking. During a recent spring electroshocking on the
Grand Glaize arm the RSD15 for largemouth bass was 20 percent. “One out of five
fish is good,” Stoner said. “There were fair numbers of 4- and
5-pounders (in the sampling) and fewer 6-pounders and a 7-pounder every once in
a while but nothing over that. We are never going to produce loads of 7- and
March is a prime time for catching heavyweight prespawn
bass moving out of their winter sanctuaries to the spawning banks. Alabama rigs,
suspending stickbaits and slow-rolling spinnerbaits are the best choices for
catching these fish along chunk rock transition banks.
Running a Storm Lures Wiggle Wart in a crawfish hue along
pea gravel banks in the coves is one of the most effective ways to catch Lake of
the Ozarks bass in early April. Twitching soft plastic jerkbaits in the shallow
pockets and dragging Carolina-rigged plastic lizards along the sides and in
front of boat docks also tricks bass during the late stages of the prespawn.
The spawn traditionally starts in mid-April and lasts
until the first week of May. Sure signs of the bass spawn at Lake of the
Ozarks are a full moon and dogwood trees blooming. During the spawn try a
variety of soft plastics including lizards, tubes, finesse worms, craws,
stickworms and jerkbaits in green pumpkin or watermelon hues in the clear water
or black, blue and dark red colors in murky water.
The moon phase is also a key to determining when bass are
spawning on the lake. Some of the biggest bass in the Lake of the Ozarks might
spawn on a full moon in March but most bass throughout the lake will spawn
around the full moons in April or May if the water temperature is right (usually
in the mid-60s to low 70s). The increasing hours of daylight in the spring
also triggers bass into nesting.
Many sources such as calendars and solunar charts in
fishing magazines show the moon phase for each month. Weather apps for
mobile phones are another good source for finding the moon phases.
For information on lodging and other
facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free vacation guide, call
the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE or
visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau web site at www.funlake.com.
Copies of John Neporadny's book,
"THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide" are available by calling
573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.