Articles by John Neporadny Jr. - December
Lake of the Ozarks Full of Manmade Fish
by John Neporadny Jr.
Even though the trees were cleared by workers
during the construction of Bagnell Dam in 1931, the Lake of the Ozarks now
contains plenty of fish-attracting brush.
Lake of the Ozarks Full of Manmade Fish
Attractors Sunken brush piles abound throughout the lake, thanks to resort and
property owners and other anglers who construct and sink the fish attractors.
The brush piles are mainly put in to attract crappie, but they also serve as
cover for largemouth bass.
Groups of resort owners on the Niangua arm of
the lake have ben sinking brush piles for years to attract customers to their
area. Sinking brush piles is more of an individual effort on other arms of the
lake though. These are more secretive projects done by dock owners or anglers
wanting to establish their own honey holes for crappie or bass. But since
everyone has the right to fish the lake, these sunken treasures are available to
you as well if you can find them.
One crappie fishing expert who knows how to
find sunken brush piles on Lake of the Ozarks is Guy Winters of Camdenton, Mo.
The most obvious places to find brush in Lake of the Ozarks are the docks. There
are plenty to choose from on this lake, but not all docks have crappie beds.
"You can read the docks to tell whether or not it has a brush pile around
it," Winters says. The best indicator on the dock is a well-kept
fish-cleaning station. "That tells you there are fishermen who live
there," says Winters. Other signs include a live box and minnow buckets on
Once you find a likely looking dock, then you
have to determine where the brush is located along it. "That's where a
locator on your trolling motor is valuable," says Winters. "It only
takes a few minutes to run around that dock with the trolling motor to find
where the brush is." Remember that the brush will most likely be within
casting distance from the dock.
If you don't have a depth finder on your boat,
there are other ways to tell where the brush is located along the dock. Corners
of docks and inside the dock wells are always good spots to look for brush. Rod
holders on the docks are usually positioned near the brush pile and sometimes
you'll see a rod that has a line out with a bobber, which is usually floating
over the top of the brush. Winters notes that some dock owners also have a light
hanging off the end of their docks, which is positioned over the top of the
brush for night fishing. Another key to finding the location of brush piles is
to look at the direction chairs on the dock are facing. "If the chairs
point towards the well, that's where the brush is at; if they point the other
way, then the brush is on the outside of the dock," Winters says.
A shallow dock will be unproductive most of the
time, even if it has plenty of brush near it. The best year-round docks are
either in or near deep water. Even a deep-water dock with sparse cover will
produce more often than a shallow dock with lots of brush.
Sunken brush piles lie in other spots on the
lake, but these are the most difficult beds to find. Some type of depth finder
is essential when looking for these sunken trees. "I wouldn't fish without
one," says Winters. "It's one of the most important tools a fisherman
can have. Any cove I'm not familiar with, I just leave my locator on and
normally try to keep the boat in 12 to 15 feet of water."
Winters concentrates his search on the channel
side of the cove or the main lake. The most likely places to hold sunken brush
are pea gravel banks and bluffs. Any type of rocky or gravel pocket is also
worth investigating. When the lake level is low, any brush found 14 to 15 feet
deep produces best in the spring, fall and winter, the crappie expert says.
Telltale signs along the bank also help you
find brush piles. Look for a stump, which usually indicates the rest of the tree
is somewhere below you. Sunken small sycamore trees have a different indicator.
"There won't be a stump," says Winters. "There will be a piece of
trunk standing up about 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall with a bunch of little limbs
growing out of it. That's one of the signs that a lot of people overlook."
Also watch for old, black telephone cables running down the bank which are
usually tied to brush piles. This method of sinking trees is usually done along
bluffs or other areas close to a river or creek channel.
While the Lake of the Ozarks appears to be
barren of fish-attracting cover on the surface, underneath lies thousands of
brush-pile condos for crappie and bass.
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.
Join and Follow John's Blog at http://jnfishing.blogspot.com/