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THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing GuideExpert Articles by John Neporadny Jr. - June 2015

Hotspots for Lake of the Ozarks Summer Catfish

By John Neporadny Jr.

On May 23, 1997, Governor Mel Carnahan signed a bill designating the channel catfish as the official fish of Missouri. The governor’s choice was a wise pick considering channel catfish can be found in nearly all waters throughout the state including Lake of the Ozarks.

Blue and flathead catfish are also abundant in the lake so Lake of the Ozarks anglers have plenty of opportunities to catch some type of catfish, especially in the summertime. Fishing for Mr. Whiskers in June can be great or tough since catfish can be in various stages of the spawn throughout the month and are more concerned with building or protecting nests than eating.

Drift fishing is the best way for the clients of Lake of the Ozarks guide Jack Uxa to catch catfish in June.

Uxa sets up his clients with 7-foot medium-heavy spinning rods and spinning reels filled with 30-pound SpiderWire line. He has his clients drift with a magnum drop shot rig of a 6/0 Gamakatsu octopus hook followed by a 1 1/2-foot drop line tied to a 1-ounce barrel weight. The guide baits his hooks with chunks of freshly cut bluegill, green sunfish or shad.

Finding baitfish with his side-imaging unit is the key for Uxa in setting up a successful drift. Since baitfish tend to roam, Uxa checks out flats or points on the main lake and in coves. He prefers drifting areas that have consistent depth, usually in the 20- to 35-foot range.

Uxa favors drifting the middle section of the lake from the Hurricane Deck Bridge down to the toll bridge. His drifts during June produce “some bonus channels” but mostly blue cats in the 3- to 5-pound class. “You never know what you are going to catch though,” he says. “Sometimes you can catch 20-, 30- or 40-pounders.”

Limb-lining along bluffs and channel swing banks with live crawfish, green sunfish or large goldfish works best for bigger flathead cats. Anglers can also catch flatheads tight-lining with a big wad of nightcrawlers other other live baits.

Tight-lining off of docks is a productive tactic for catching channel catfish throughout the summer. Productive baits for channel cats include live green sunfish, cut bait, prepared baits and nightcrawlers.

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.

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