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Expert Articles by John Neporadny Jr. - April 2007

Go With The Flow For Spawning Lake of the Ozarks White Bass

by John Neporadny Jr.

THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing GuideSilvery masses of white bass swarmed everywhere in the gin clear waters of the creek. The stream contained so many whites that the fish darted between my legs as I waded through the riffles.

Casting into a pool full of whites, I immediately hooked a fish and as it fought, at least 10 other white bass ran with the hooked fish.

Nearly every cast produced a fish as I caught of limit of hefty white bass in less than 20 minutes. I've caught spawning white bass in the dirty waters of the Mississippi River and its tributaries before, but I'll never forget my first white bass encounter in the clear waters of a Lake of the Ozarks creek.

When white bass get that spawning urge, they seek the right mixture of water flow and rocks throughout waterways in this region. Although white bass can successfully spawn on various types of bottoms, they seem to congregate more around any rocky areas, such as gravel shoals and riprap.

During a typical spring with normal rainfall, white bass run in several feeder creeks or rivers on the Lake of the Ozarks. On the northern side of the lake, the prime white bass runs occur in Cole Camp, Indian, Gravois and Little Gravois creeks. The southern region offers some of the best spawning runs however. An annual prime spot for spawning whites is the swinging bridges area in the Lake of the Ozarks State Park on the Grand Glaize arm. Other good spawning areas are the Big and Little Niangua rivers. The area around the Highway J bridge on the Little Niangua arm can be especially good at times.

I look for white bass in the rocky pools below riffles where the current eddies into a shallow gravel bar of a feeder creek. Since these streams contain clear water, I use ultralight spinning tackle with 4-pound test line. Some of the most productive lures include small tube jigs with spinner jigheads, small floating Rapalas and Roostertails.

My favorite way to catch white bass though is to combine a 4-inch floating Rapala with a white or pink 1/16-ounce doll fly. I tie the jig on a 1-foot leader of 4-pound test and attach it to the back hook of the Rapala. Since the combination has to be jerked hard to be most effective, I use a medium-action spinning rod and reel filled with 8- to 10-pound test line.

White bass travel up the Lake of the Ozarks tributaries from mid-April to early May. The average size of these spawning whites runs from 3/4 of a pound to 1 1/2 pounds.

Heading up one of the feeder creeks at Lake of the Ozarks region provides some of your best fishing action of the spring if you can find the annual white bass spawning sites. For information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free 152-page 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 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.

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