Articles by John Neporadny Jr. - September
Falling for Lake of the Ozarks Crappie
By John Neporadny Jr.
The season when many Lake of the Ozarks
visitors enjoy harvest festivals and the outdoor extravaganza of leaves changing
colors is also a special time for crappie anglers.
These fishermen know autumn offers some of the
best opportunities to catch aggressive crappie without much competition from
fellow anglers. The cool fall weather drops water temperatures and triggers
crappie into a feeding frenzy as the fish fatten up for winter. This feeding
spree produces some of the best crappie action of the year, but many outdoorsmen
miss the fun because they target the fall hunting seasons.
Crappie abound in Lake of the Ozarks and this
major reservoir usually produces some of the best fall action in the state. Let’s
take a look at how a local angler takes fall crappie from this top fishery.
“In the early part of fall, crappie can still
be pretty deep,” says Terry Blankenship, a local crappie tournament angler.
Cooler days and nights trigger a migration of
baitfish into the backs of coves and major creeks where the crappie follow the
forage. Blankenship finds these panfish in sunken brush piles close to the creek
channels and as the water keeps cooling down the guide keys on shallower brush.
When fishing the off-color water of the upper Grand Glaize, Blankenship catches
crappie as shallow as 2 feet deep in autumn.
The upper reaches of the Grand Glaize and
Gravois creeks produce good fall action, but Blankenship suggests the Osage arm
from the 40- to 70-mile mark offers the best fishing for quality crappie. “In
all the crappie tournaments every year, seven or eight of the top 10 finishers
come out of that water,” he says. “There are just better fish up that Osage.”
Matching the hatch is a key to Blankenship’s
lure selection for Lake of the Ozarks crappie. “I concentrate pretty hard on
using the natural shad colors (on jigs) because the threadfin are hatched out
and the crappie really get aggressive feeding on them,” suggests Blankenship,
who uses a 1/16-ounce plastic tube in hues of silver, gray or pearl. He works
his jigs on 6-pound test most of the time, but occasionally switches to 8-pound
line when fishing heavy cover in murky water.
As the leaves turn color and the fall festivals
begin, visit Lake of the Ozarks to enjoy some outstanding crappie fishing.
information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to
receive a free 162-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 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.