Expert Articles by John
Neporadny Jr. - June
Grand Glaize Offers
Consistent Crappie Action
by John Neporadny Jr.
While tournaments keep the Grand Glaize arm of
Lake of the Ozarks well stocked with bass throughout the year, this section of
the lake also contains a large population of crappie.
The Grand Glaize arm runs about 16 miles from
its confluence with the Osage arm to the swinging bridges area where the Glaize
narrows down to a stream. The arm contains several large branches and hollows
throughout its length. Fish-holding structure on this arm includes creek channel
drops and bends, bluffs, humps, long gradual gravel points and gravel flats.
Although this section of the lake has less boat
dock than the other arms, it still contains plenty of sunken brush piles in the
undeveloped Lake of the Ozarks State Park, section. Most of the docks on this
arm are confined to the first couple of miles around the Grand Glaize Bridge and
some spots from the 26 to 30 mile marker.
Terry Blankenship, a veteran crappie tournament
angler from Lake Ozark, Mo., considers the Glaize a medium-size feeder stream
that creates different types of fishing opportunities for crappie. “In the
early spring it seems like there is a movement of fish up the creek, and in the
late fall there is a movement of fish coming back down the creeks on the upper
Glaize,” he discloses.
During the winter, Blankenship concentrates on
main channel structure where he finds crappie 12 to 15 feet deep. He catches
wintertime crappie with a 1/16-ounce Laker Nailer tube jig (smoke hues for clear
water and chartreuse for dirty conditions) tied to 6-pound test, the line size
he uses for most of his crappie tactics throughout the year.
In the spring, Blankenship heads to the upper
Glaize where he pitches a bobber-and-jig combo around shallow stickups and
lay-downs. He sets his jig about 18 inches below the bobber and casts the rig
past his target. Cranking the bobber close to the cover, Blankenship stops his
retrieve and allows the jig to fall next to the wood, which usually triggers a
The upper Glaize warms quicker so the spawn in
this section usually occurs during the third week of April when the water
temperature rises into the 60- to 65-degree range. The last week of April is
usually the peak of the spawn on the lower end, Blankenship says. During the
spawn, Blankenship keys on pea-gravel banks and fishes about 1 to 2 feet deeper
than the water visibility level. He uses the bobber-and-jig combination if the
water is murky but casts a jig in clear-water situations.
Postspawn crappie can be taken by trolling
small shad-pattern crankbaits or casting 1/8-ounce Roadrunners along secondary
points. “A lot of the fish are suspended then,” he says. “I know a lot of
people have success after the spawn by trolling along the banks with jigs or
Main lake bluffs on the Glaize arm offer
crappie stable water conditions during the summertime and quick access to both
deep and shallow water. Blankenship usually keys on bluff points with sunken
brush piles or rock formations where crappie suspend over this cover. “I find
a lot of fish suspended over the deep side of that brush where they can stay in
deeper water and find the right comfort zone,” he discloses.
The local angler also prefers fishing ledges
and cuts along the bluffs rather than sheer rock walls. “Those spots seem to
hold fish better because they have more horizontal structure than then the
straight up-and-down wall of the bluff,” he says. The pockets or cuts usually
feature rock slides or wash-out areas that extend beyond the rock wall and
provide a shallow spot for crappie to move up from the depths to feed.
During the hottest part of summer, Blankenship
probes the 20- to 25-foot range for crappie along the walls, but he moves up
into the 10- to 15 foot zone in late summer. As the water continues to cool down
in the early fall, he moves up the ledges as shallow as 2 to 6 feet deep.
Horizontal and vertical presentations both work
along bluffs for Blankenship. He either casts Laker Lures Nailer tubes to the
bluff and swims the lures back over the brush and rocks or he will drop the lure
straight down into the cover. When the water is still warm, Blankenship attaches
a Berkley Crappie Nibble to the hook to enhance his jig.
By the middle of September, crappie on the
Glaize start following baitfish to the back of coves, which offer cooler water.
Some fish will move as shallow as 2 to 3 feet, but most of the crappie in the
fall will be in the 6- to 10-foot range. Blankenship catches autumn crappie on a
Nailer tube while employing a dying shad retrieve. If Blankenship sees shad
turning on their sides near the surface, he begins his presentation by working
his jigs vertically over the top of the brush piles. He lets the lure sit for
awhile, then raises it suddenly and lets it fall back on a tight line to trigger
a reaction strike from crappie holding tight to brush.
The best fall fishing usually occurs when the
water temperature ranges from 50 to 60 degrees. Once the water drops below 50
degrees, the biggest concentration of crappie move back to the deep water again.
“December is an excellent month for catching schooling fish in deeper areas,”
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 & Visitor Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE or visit
the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor 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.