Tag Archive for Lake of the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks Boat Dock Bassing

by John Neporadny Jr.

 

Guido Hibdon shares his Lake of the Ozarks boat dock bass fishing knowledge

When hunting for  the ultimate bass cover on most lakes, we program ourselves into looking for a patch of weeds, a row of stumps or partially-submerged logs. But on Lake of the Ozarks you will usually pass up rows of the best bass havens on the lake if you search for those types of cover. Although harboring a boat is its primary function, boat docks on Lake of the Ozarks also serve as underwater magnets for bass. While other cover might attract a couple of bass and bunches of fishermen, docks provide enough hiding places to shelter whole schools of fish during the summer and are oftentimes overlooked by most anglers.

A well-known tournament angler who realizes the fish-holding qualities of boat docks is Guido Hibdon, Gravois Mills,  Mo. He believes fishing docks is one of the most consistent patterns for taking bass at Lake of the Ozarks in the summertime. Docks are prime fish attractors because they offer shade for bass and baitfish. Algae growing on the posts and other parts of docks provides food for baitfish. The feeding baitfish draw in bass which use the shade and dock cover to ambush their prey.

Sunken brush piles under some docks also attract bass. “It’s pretty simple to run down a bank and pick out the docks that have brush around them,” Hibdon says. The easiest way to find which docks have sunken brush piles is to look for fishing rod holders on the structure.

Docks become even more appealing to Hibdon because this type of cover produces best during hot, sunny weather. “A sunny day is without a doubt the best weather to fish docks because the sun causes the fish to tighten up in the shady area, ” Hibdon says.

When searching for ideal docks, location plays a key role during the summertime. “I very seldom ever fish in a creek during the summer,” Hibdon says. “I always fish the main lake.”  The popular tournament angler believes main lake docks hold bigger bass and attract more baitfish than docks in coves. Even though bass can be found in the shallows during the summer, Hibdon concentrates on docks that sit over deep water. “I very seldom fish a dock that is in less than 10 feet of water,” he says.

When he finds an ideal dock, Hibdon keeps his boat a safe distance from the structure to prevent banging into it and spooking any bass suspended under the dock. Hibdon even positions the stern of his boat into the wind to prevent waves from slapping into the boat’s bow and making any additional noise that could scare the fish.

Hibdon works the docks in a slow, methodical manner using a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce black-and-blue jig with a black-and-blue crawfish trailer as his top lure for fishing docks. Other lures that produce for him are a tube jig with a 1/32-ounce jighead and an 11-inch plastic worm.

The touring pro always fishes the shady side of a dock where he finds bass either suspending about 2 feet under the dock’s foam or hiding in the brush 15 to 20 feet deep. The veteran angler pitches his jig toward the dock, lets the lure sink a couple of seconds and then hops it once or twice. If this fails to produce a strike, Hibdon reels in the lure and pitches to another target in the shade.

Although they don’t look like much to the average angler, Lake of the Ozarks docks definitely
appear attractive to a bass searching for a summertime residence.

For 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 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.

Chad Brauer’s Favorite Lake of the Ozarks Patterns

By John Neporadny Jr.

 

Chad Brauer’s Favorite Bass Fishing Patterns for Lake of the Ozarks

Fishing and guiding at the Lake of the Ozarks helped Chad Brauer gain plenty of experience before he followed his legendary father on the tournament trail.

The son of bass tournament superstar Denny Brauer has also become a topnotch professional angler by winning the 1996 Bassmasters Tennessee Top 100 Pro event and qualifying for the 1998 Bassmasters Classic. When he’s home from the tournament trail, Chad Brauer still fishes in some tournaments on his home lake. Here’s a look at his favorite ways to catch bass on Lake of the Ozarks throughout the seasons.

Winter

From December through mid-March, Brauer keys on the lower end of the lake (from about the 30-mile mark to Bagnell Dam). The water temperature during this time usually ranges from 32 degrees to the mid-50s.

Keying on bluff ends and steep points, Brauer casts a brown 1/ 2-ounce chameleon craw Strike King Pro Model Jig and small brown pork chunk to the bank and works it back to the boat. The depth of the fish depends on the weather.  “A good starting spot for me is 15 to 25 feet and I may move a little shallower or deeper,” he suggests.

Spring

During the pre-spawn stage, Brauer sticks with the same jig that he uses in the wintertime but if the water turns dirty he changes colors and tactics. In murky water he switches to a black-and-blue or black-and-chartreuse jig and plastic craw and pitches or flips the lure in the shallows.

The Osage Beach, MO, pro concentrates on the last one or two bluff banks he finds in the backs of creeks and coves. If the water is clear, he will cast to the steep banks and work the lure out to 20 feet, but in murky water conditions he pitches the lure and targets fish in the 1- to 5-foot range.

This pattern produces best for Brauer from early March to mid-April when the water temperature is in the mid 50s to low 60s. He can catch bass on this tactic from Bagnell Dam to Truman Dam during this time.

All arms of the lake also produce for Brauer during the spawn, which usually runs during a three-week stretch from late April to early May. The water temperature then is usually in the low to upper 60s.

Brauer continues using the brown jig tipped with a Strike King 3X Denny Brauer Chunk, but he also throws a Devil’s Horse or Zara Spook on top or works a green pumpkin plastic lizard along the bottom.  He looks for shallow pockets and any banks with pea gravel where he keys on the boat docks. Most of the fish will be less than 10 feet deep during this time.

After the bass spawn, Brauer still works the same areas with topwater lures but keys more on the outside corners of the docks. “Those postspawn fish will back off on the docks and suspend underneath the foam,” he says. Brauer also drags a Carolina-rigged plastic lizard or twitches a Strike King 3X Zero jerk worm in the same areas.

Brauer’s favorite stretch to fish during the post-spawn is from the 10- to 60-mile mark.

He notes this stage of the spawn usually runs from late May to early June when the water temperature is 70 to 75 degrees.

Summer

Deep structure in the backs of coves or on the main lake is Brauer’s primary target during the heat of the summer. He looks for boat docks or brush piles along steeper banks or points in the 15- to 25-foot depth range. His primary lures for probing the depths are a 1/ 2-ounce green pumpkin Strike King Pro Model Jig and green pumpkin plastic craw and a 10- or 11-inch plastic worm in red shad or green pumpkin hues. He also tries some deep cranking in the same areas with Strike King Series 5 or 6 crankbaits in shad patterns or chartreuse with a blue back.

His summertime patterns work best from the end of June through the middle of August when the water temperature climbs from 75 degrees to the high 80s. Brauer’s favorite area to fish in the summer is the mid-lake stretch from the 10- to 40-mile mark.

Fall

The Lake of the Ozarks expert rates this season as the toughest time for him to fish his home lake.

On the lower end of the lake, he continues to fish the summertime patterns until the water starts cooling down. Brauer also starts running up the major tributaries and keys on the isolated docks and brush on the shallow flats. He suggests this pattern will work on the upper Osage, Grand Glaize, Niangua and Gravois arms. On cloudy days, he works the areas with a buzz bait, spinnerbait or Strike King 4S crankbait.  In sunny weather he will swim either a 3/8- or 1/ 2-ounce white Strike King Pro Model Jig and white plastic chunk or plastic crawfish around the boat docks. The fish in these areas will be 5 feet deep or shallower.

The shallow flats pattern works best for Brauer from the end of August until November when the water temperature drops from the mid 70s to the low 60s.

For 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 funlake.com.

Copies of John Neporadny’s book, “THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide” is available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.

Lake of the Ozarks Mid-section Offers Diverse Bass Patterns

By John Neporadny Jr.

 

Bass Fishing Patterns for Osage Arm of Lake of the Ozarks

Anglers have a chance to fish plenty of clear or off-colored water and shallow- or deep-water structure in the middle section of the Osage arm of the Lake of the Ozarks throughout the year.

The lower section around Tan-Tar-A and the confluence of the Niangua arm and Linn Creek features fairly clear water most of the year and has plenty of bluffs and other steep banks that are ideal for deep-water patterns. However the section above the Hurricane Deck Bridge usually contains more stained to murky water and has more gradually sloping banks on both the main lake and in the various creeks that are ideal for catching fish shallow throughout most of the year.

Four-time BASS Federation Divisional qualifier Brian Maloney stays close to the Tan-Tar-A area during the winter to fish the clearer and deeper water. He looks for big chunk rock and black slab rocks on the main lake or goes halfway back in the coves and targets secondary points.  “On that end there are deeper v-shaped coves and once the lake drops into its winter pool in mid-January to mid-February, the fish are sucked out of the coves and stack up on those types of rocks,” he advises.

One of his favorite winter lures is a small (3/16 or 1/ 4 ounce) brown or dark green jig that he mixes with a brown or green plastic tube or craw trailer. He works the lure with 10- to 12-pound fluorocarbon line.

Suspending stick baits is his other choice for wintertime bass in this area. The Osage Beach, MO, angler prefers a green-and-white or purple-and-chartreuse model for cloudy days but opts for shad patterns (blue-and-chrome or black-and-chrome) or the clown color for sunny skies.

“If there is some ripple on the water with the wind blowing into a secondary point I will fish the jerkbait from the bank out to 20 feet deep,” says Maloney. “The fish seem to suspend in the 5- to 10-foot range.  If I’m looking on my graph and don’t’ see any suspended fish then I go to the jig and drag it out to 20 feet.” He retrieves the jerkbait on 8-pound line with a series of jerks and pauses, sometimes letting it sit for as long as 30 seconds.

In early or mid-March, bass move into the prespawn stage when the water temperature climbs to around 45 degrees. Then Maloney concentrates on the flatter banks in the bigger creeks and hollows above the Hurricane Deck Bridge where he throws a medium-diving crawfish-color crankbait on 8- or 10-pound line. He moves halfway back in the coves and runs his crankbait 3 to 12 feet deep in areas where the 45-degree chunk rock banks change to pea gravel.

Some sight fishing can be done in the cleaner water around Tan-Tar-A during the spawn. Whether he’s fishing the clear or dirty water, Maloney looks for concrete pillars of dock walkways and sea wall abutments where bass usually build nests. The fish will spawn as shallow as 2 feet in the dirty water and as deep as 6 feet in the clear water.

Maloney relies on the small jig and tube trailer or a bright-colored Chompers Twin Tail grub with a 1/ 4-ounce standup jighead to catch fish on the nest. “Sight fishing makes it easy,” says Maloney.  “Just cast beyond the fish’s nose and you will find somewhere in that bed where the fish will spin around and nose down on your bait.”  He makes multiple pitches on 12-pound fluorocarbon line behind the docks to coax spawning fish into biting.

His favorite docks during the spawn are usually located in a small nook about halfway to three-quarters back in a cove. The spawn in this area usually begins when the water temperature climbs above 65 degrees and runs from mid-May to June.

Bass start leaving the nest in late May or early June. Maloney coaxes these sluggish postspawn fish into hitting a Carolina-rigged 6-inch plastic lizard. His rig consists of a main line of 17-pound test, a 1/ 2- or 3/ 4-ounce egg-shaped sinker, swivel, bead and 18-inch to 2-foot leader of 10- to 12-pound line and a 1/0- or 2/0 worm hook.  He favors lizards in green pumpkin or dark melon that he dips the tail with chartreuse or purple dye. If AmerenUE is running water, Maloney slowly drags his rig across main or round secondary points about 20 to 25 feet deep. He keeps the lure moving along on the bottom until it hits any piece of cover and then he lets it sit for a couple of second before resuming his retrieve.

Topwater lures are also effective during the post-spawn. Maloney likes to work Zara Spooks (green-and-clear or chartreuse-and-clear) parallel to the bank along a point or any depth change near the spawning areas. On cloudy or windy days, he also catches some post-spawn bass on black ½-ounce buzz baits.

In the early summer, Maloney catches bass on Carolina-rigged lizards along the channel ledges or on deep-diving crankbaits (blue-and-chartreuse or shad-pattern hues) that he cranks into brush piles 12 feet or deeper.

Night fishing turns on as the summer gets hotter, so Maloney relies on a 10-inch Berkley Power Worm (June bug, black-and-blue or red shad) that he Texas-rigs with a ¼- to 1/ 2-ounce bullet sinker. He works the worm through brush piles 15 to 30 feet deep on main and secondary points or main lake cuts with 45-degree banks.

During the heat of summer, Maloney can also catch bass from isolated docks in the back of coves above the Hurricane Deck Bridge. He flips his 10-inch plastic worms on 17-pound line to shady areas of the shallow docks.

Fall is “fun fishing time” for Maloney. He looks for shad activity in the flats of the coves and flips his small jig to shallow docks and brush piles. When bass start suspending on the corners of the docks in about mid-September, Maloney works Zara Spooks, buzz baits and crankbaits along the sides of the boat houses. He also likes to swim a white 1/ 4-ounce jig and white plastic tube, craw or grub down the sides of the docks to catch fish suspended under the dock foam. Old docks in the backs of coves are best for the swimming jig tactic. As the water gets colder in autumn, Maloney keeps moving down lake. He fishes above Hurricane Deck Bridge until the first part of October and then tries his fall patterns in the Tan-Tar-A area until about early December.

For information on lodging 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 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.

Snow Bassing at Lake of the Ozarks

By John Neporadny Jr.

 

Bass Fishing in the Snow

The first winter storm of the season for central Missouri arrived just as competition began for the 1997 BASSMASTER Central Invitational at Lake of the Ozarks.

The heaviest snowfall occurred on the first day of competition when some areas around the lake received 1 to 2 inches of accumulation. Light snow mixed with rain was the norm for the next two rounds.

Snowy days scare off fair-weather fishermen, but hard-core anglers know it’s worth the trouble to bear the wet and cold because snow turns on bass. “I think it makes (fishing) pretty good actually,” says Jay Yelas, the winner of the Lake of the Ozarks event he has dubbed the Snow Bowl. “The first thing it does is it acts like a rainstorm. It’s a low-pressure system coming in and it gets real dark. You can catch fish a variety of ways then.”

The Texas angler relied on a slow presentation with a 1/2-ounce Berkley Rattle Power Jig and a Berkley Power Frog to take 11 bass weighing 41 pounds, 4 ounces during three days of miserably cold and wet weather. Yelas’ pattern consisted of crawling the jig-and-frog combo through brush piles and along the rock bottom about 10 feet deep next to docks. Even though the dark skies should have kept the fish active throughout the tournament, Yelas stuck with his slow presentation because he believed the dropping water temperature drove his fish to the bottom.

The weather prior to a snowstorm can affect how bass react. Bass become active if the weather has been warm for awhile and then a drastic change leads to a snowstorm. However, if it snows after several days of cold, big bass in particular get locked on the bottom.

One Lake of the Ozarks angler looks forward to snow days. “I like to fish those days,” says Roger Fitzpatrick. “Normally (the snow) makes it a lot better. If it is snowing there’s a front coming through and whenever that happens any time of the year the fishing is a lot better.  But the day after when it’s gone and there are bluebird skies is when it gets tougher. That even holds true during the winter.  When you have wind and clouds and the water is clear, the fishing is a lot better.”

While some guys stay inside when it’s sleeting or snowing on practice days of a tournament, Fitzpatrick bears the inclement weather. “If I’ve got a day off or a chance to go fishing, I go regardless of the weather because sooner or later that is going to happen on a tournament day,” says Fitzpatrick. “And then I will know those spots where a load of big bass might show up on those type of days, whereas under normal conditions those big fish don’t bite.”

Snowstorms throughout the seasons affect fishing differently. “The fishing is a lot better during a fall snow than it is during a spring snow,” suggests Yelas. “A spring snow just knocks the water temperature down so low that there is hardly any activity, but generally in the fall the main lake is still petty warm so the falling water temperature doesn’t affect the fish nearly as much.” The situation is reversed in the spring as the main lake is cold and active fish are in the warmer, shallow pockets. So when the snow and cold hits, the water temperature drops drastically in the shallows and bass become lethargic.

Fitzpatrick has taken Lake of the Ozarks bass during snowstorms in the fall, winter and spring. He recalls catching bass on a buzz bait on a day mixed with snow and sleet around Thanksgiving. “That’s different,” Fitzpatrick says of the fall snow days. “The water hasn’t gotten cold yet and the fish are feeding up for the winter.”

During the mid-November 1997 Bassmaster invitational at Lake of the Ozarks, some of the contestants fared well on buzz baits and spinnerbaits during the snowy weather. “Any time it’s raining or snowing, a general rule of thumb is to pick up a spinnerbait,” advises Yelas. He recalls Springfield, MO, competitor Basil Bacon took second place and caught a limit all three days on a spinnerbait. The tournament veteran used his Brush Rat spinnerbait, a long-armed 3/8-ounce model with a pair of large Colorado blades, that he waked over launch ramps and secondary points where the bank changed from gravel to chunk rock.

Van Buren, AR, angler Ricky Scott tied for third in the Bassmaster event by relying mainly on a crankbait pattern in the snow. Scott bumped a shad-colored Bandit crankbait into the tops of brush piles to take most of his fish. A fast-moving bait also worked for St. Charles, MO, angler Chris Randell as he finished fifth in the Snow Bowl event. Despite the dropping water temperatures, Randell stuck with a 1/2-ounce white Strike King Pro Buzz with a red blade and finished with a three-day total of 12 bass weighing 37 pounds, 6 ounces.

During the winter and early spring, Fitzpatrick drags a plastic grub along the bottom on calm, sunny days, but when the wind starts to blow and the snow falls he prefers a faster moving lure to catch heavyweight bass. If the water temperature is frigid, he depends on a suspending stickbait for snowy days. When a snowstorm hits in March after the water has warmed into the upper 40s, Fitzpatrick uses either a spinnerbait or Storm Lures Wiggle Wart crankbait.

Water clarity plays a key role in determining where to fish on snowy days. Both Yelas and Fitzpatrick prefer fishing the lake’s clear water when it snows. During the BASSMASTER invitational, Yelas noticed the action continued to slow up the Osage arm where the water was dirty. So he concentrated on the clearer water of the Osage arm around the Grand Glaize bridge. Bacon consistently caught fish each day in the clear-water stretch from the Grand Glaize bridge to the Shawnee Bend bridge and Randell also took his fish on the lower end of the Osage.

Any time it’s cloudy, windy, rainy or snowy, Fitzpatrick seeks the clearest water he can find. Even when he’s fishing the stained upper end of the lake, Fitzpatrick looks for the clearest water available if the weather turns from sunny skies to clouds and snow. “The fish can see the lure better (in the clear water) and I think they are feeding then so they are going to come and get it,” says Fitzpatrick.

Tournament anglers have proven throughout the years that snowstorms produce big sacks of bass from late fall to early spring. So the next time you’re on the Lake of the Ozarks and the skies look threatening, you might want to start singing that old Christmas jingle,  “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

For 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 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.

Lake of the Ozarks Bassin’ . . . Away From The Crowds

by John Neporadny Jr.

 

Summer Bass Fishing Lake of the Ozarks

While the main lake rocked and rolled with pleasure boat and personal watercraft traffic, I retreated to the calm waters of a Lake of the Ozarks feeder creek on this hot, sunny summer afternoon.

Pitching a plastic worm into the shady areas of boat dock wells, I managed to catch a 4-pound bass, lose a 3-pounder and land some smaller bass before I had to leave for work.  The still waters of this creek allowed me to thoroughly work the docks and present my lure slowly without having to constantly run my trolling motor against waves.

Missouri’s largest reservoir offers excellent fishing year-round, but during the heat of summer we have to share the waters with pleasure boaters, skiers and personal watercraft jockeys. Fishing at night or early and late in the day will help you avoid most of this recreational boat traffic, but the best way to get away from the summer crowds during the day is to head up the lake’s headwaters or a major feeder creek.

Most pleasure boat operators prefer the wide-open areas of a Main lake and steer clear of these narrow, shallow riverine sections. Stained water and plenty of cover, such as lay-downs, stumps, weeds and rocks, in these upper lake regions keep bass shallow and make them easier to catch during the summer. The best headwater areas have cooler water and current flowing in from tributaries or Truman Dam that activate bass, even during the hottest summer days.

The busiest lake in the state still provides good refuges for anglers in the summertime. I have caught plenty of bass and some fish in the 3- to 4-pound range in the backs of Gravois, Indian and the Grand Glaize creeks in July and August when the mid-day boat traffic made the main lake look like a wave pool at a water park.

Other good areas to avoid the summer boating crowds include the back end of Lick Creek and the upper section of the Niangua and Little Niangua rivers, but the most consistent summertime fishing is in the lake’s headwaters below Truman Dam.  “Any of the river arms work just fine. In the summertime, you just can’t fish the main lake during the day on the weekends,” says Roger Fitzpatrick, a tournament angler from Eldon. He concentrates on the Osage arm of the lake from Big Buffalo Creek up to the Truman Dam spillway from July through October when he wants to get away from boaters.

Siltation at the mouths of coves and even on the main channel of the upper Osage makes hazardous navigating for most recreational boaters.  The lack of boat traffic allows Fitzpatrick to concentrate on the flats and boat docks on the main lake. “If the water is high and running out of Truman Dam, then I’ll concentrate on main lake stuff such as flat points where the water is breaking around it,” says Fitzpatrick.  “If it’s at normal pool I mainly concentrate on docks either on the main lake or back in coves.”

The upper Osage also contains stained water, which helps bass stay shallower in the summertime.  “Usually in July it’s still a summer pattern and the fish are a little deeper. You can catch them during the day but you have to key a little more on brush piles and the docks 8 to 10 feet deep, unless the water is high. In that case, the fish will get up shallower and you can flip the willow bushes. It seems to flood up the river a lot and get into those (shoreline) bushes easier than it does on the lower lake.”

Current plays a role in positioning bass along the cover in this area. Depending on the current’s velocity, bass will hang on the outside of a dock or suspend under it. The fish will also hold on the shallower or deeper ends of lay-downs depending on the amount of water flow.

On sunny days, Fitzpatrick pitches a 10-inch Berkley Power Worm along the docks. “Some of the docks have brush and some don’t,” says Fitzpatrick.   Bass usually hold along the sides of the docks whether or not the floating structure has brush underneath it. Fitzpatrick switches to a white jig or spinnerbait for cloudy or rainy days on the upper Osage.

The Lake of the Ozarks headwaters contains quality bass that become more active as summer progresses.  “In late August you can catch a lot of 5-pounders up there,” says Fitzpatrick. “It’s rare to catch one 6 or 7 pounds but you can catch a limit of 4- and 5-pounders easy on a good day.”

For 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 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

Lake of the Ozarks Bass Bunch Up in February

By John Neporadny Jr

 

Lake of the Ozarks Bass Fishing in February

If he can break through the ice, Bruce Gier will head for one of his 10 favorite spots on the North Shore of the Lake of the Ozarks during February.

The Eldon, Mo., tournament angler admits that other sections of the lake, such as the Gravois and Niangua arms, are probably better during this month because they contain warmer water, but the fish tend to scatter out. He favors the North Shore because big bass tend to bunch up in confined areas in this section of the lower lake. “There could be 11 giants hanging around one little piece of brush off of a point over 20 feet of water,” Gier says.  The owner of Gier’s Bass Pro & Liquor Shop in Eldon claims he has 10 such spots that produce big fish every year.

During this time, water is being released through Bagnell Dam every day, so bass on the North Shore key on slack-water areas along secondary points. “The fish won’t be lying in the current but they will be just off of it around the corner of the point, Gier says. “You can’t see any current, but the fish sure notice it.”  The water temperature, which is usually around 42 or 43 degrees, makes bass sluggish in February, so they try to avoid the current.

Most of the year, Lake of the Ozarks bass hang around docks or brush piles, but during February they seek the warmth of rocky banks that receive a lot of sunshine. Ideal locations include sunny pockets near the corner from where the current breaks around a secondary point.

Bass desire an easy meal during this month and the lake offers them bountiful forage.  “There are a lot of dying shad in February,” Gier says.  “If you look down about 8 or 10 feet in that clear water, you’ll see those little 3-inch shad lying on their side, just barely staying alive. If you see that, look out! You’re going to have yourself quite a day. Things are going to happen.”

Gier makes things happen by tantalizing the fish that are suspended over depths of 20 feet or more with a suspending Lucky Craft stickbait. To make sure the lures reaches its maximum depth; Gier works the lure on 8-pound test line.

When Gier pulls the stickbait down to the right depth, he lets it stay in the same spot and watches his line the same way a youngster watches a bobber while waiting for a panfish to bite. The lure imitates a dying shad by fluttering in its suspended state, and any line movement that occurs during this time signals that a fish has engulfed the stickbait.

If the fish are hugging the bottom or have moved into shallow brush piles, Gier switches to 6-pound test line and a plastic grub or Fat Gitzit on a 1/8-ounce jighead. His favorite color combination for these lures is light brown/green flake. He slowly swims these lures over brush piles or along the bottom and occasionally allows the plastic baits to tick off the brush or rocks. The tube jigs produce best when the fish have moved from the 20-foot range to 8 feet deep in the pockets after a couple of sunny days have warmed the shallows.

Weather plays a key role during the month.  Gier says on a sunny day he might catch more than 20 keepers even in 30-degree weather, but on an overcast day he might take only three legal-size fish.  He also makes sure he hits the right spots at the right time, when they are receiving the most sunshine. “The time of day is pretty important in February,” Gier says.  “I’ve got some spots where the sun doesn’t hit them until 2 o’clock so those are usually my last banks of the day to hit.”

Big bass remain in schools throughout the entire month on North Shore.  “That’s when you can catch ‘Big Mo’,” Gier says.  The four biggest bass he has caught on Lake of the Ozarks (ranging from 8 pounds to 8 pounds, 4 ounces) were caught on a stickbait from mid-February to mid-March. When the water warms in March, the fish start scattering along the
banks.

Whether he has an ice-free access to the lake or he has to bust through the ice, Gier will make his rounds to his 10 favorite spots on Lake of the Ozarks’ North Shore because he knows big fish are always bunched up there.

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.

Lake of the Ozarks Bass Like To Rock In April

by John Neporadny Jr.

 

Spawning Bass at Lake of the Ozarks

The countless fleet of boat docks attracts bass at the Lake of the Ozarks most of the time, except in April when the fish  feel the urge to spawn. Then the bass shun their classical floating cover for the temptations of rock (chunk and pea gravel rather than Van Halen or Aerosmith).

This 58,000-acre reservoir lost most of its natural cover when the standing timber was cleared before the lake was formed in 1931. New cover has developed over the years as dock owners and anglers have planted brush piles throughout the lake. Bass also relate to natural structure such as steep bluffs, chunk rock and pea gravel banks, dropoffs and points. Lay-downs and logjams attract bass in the undeveloped coves. Normal pool elevation for the lake is 660 feet above sea level.

The massive impoundment consists of three distinct sections – (1) the lower end including the North Shore and Horseshoe Bend areas and the Gravois arm; (2) the middle  lake including the Osage arm from Shawnee Bend to the Hurricane Deck bridge, Linn Creek, the Grand Glaize and the Niangua and Little Niangua; (3)  the upper end on the Osage from Hurricane  Deck bridge to Truman Dam. Giving tips on how to fish these three sections will be local tournament anglers Bruce Gier and Roger Fitzpatrick, both from Eldon, MO, and Marty McGuire, Camdenton, MO. Let’s look at how these three anglers fish their favorite sections of Lake of the Ozarks during April.

Lower Lake

This section of the lake has the deepest and clearest water so it also turns on last in the spring. Whereas bass could be in the prespawn stage on the river arm of the lake, the bass in the dam area could still be deep in mid-April. “That time of year concerns me. If it was March, there would be no problem,” says Gier, who is tough to beat in early spring tournaments when bass prefer weighted stickbaits. But in mid April, the fish start moving off the winter pattern to the pre-spawn stage on the lower end of the lake. “It can be tricky on the North Shore and Gravois then or it can be won there too,” Gier admits.

The water temperature could be in the 40s then, but usually it’s in the 50-degree range. When the water temperature moves into the 50- to 60-degree range, bass in transition become harder for Gier to pattern. “They don’t know whether to chase a Rogue or catch a crawdad,” he says. Bass start moving off the chunk rock banks to the pea gravel or into the brush piles less than 8 feet deep. On sunny days, some fish l suspend under the foam of boat docks. “Those fish are tough to get to strike, though” Gier says. The fish start scattering from one end of a cove to the other, but the biggest bass will still hold on the main lake points and other main channel structure.

If the fish remain on the main lake points, Gier throws a clown-colored Luckycraft Pointer in April. When the water temperature climbs above 50 degrees and the wind starts blowing, he switches to a 1/2-ounce chartreuse-and-white J & J Lures spinnerbait with a gold willowleaf blade and a silver Colorado blade he bumps along the chunk rock banks.

Bass that have moved to the flat gravel banks fall for crawfish-color Wiggle Warts during this time. “Every time you come to a 5- to 8-foot deep brush pile, you better flip a jig into it,” advises Gier, who relied on a jig and pork frog to win the 1992 Lake of the Ozarks Pro-Am in April. “They will hit a jig anytime in April. ” In clear water, Gier prefers pitching a brown 3/8-ounce jig with a brown number 11 pork frog or if the water is off-colored he opts for a black-and-blue combination. If the water temperature rises to 55 degrees, Gier starts dragging a Carolina-rigged plastic lizard in green pumpkin, watermelon seed or pumpkinseed and chartreuse along the gravel banks.

Gier believes the lower end of the lake offers more consistent fishing than the other sections. “You can catch a limit easier there, but you might catch a wad of 15-inchers,” Gier warns. “I’ve come in a lot of times with six fish that have weighed 12 pounds.”

Middle Lake

The diversity of structure in this section of the lake give anglers a multiple choice of patterns to try in April “You have shallow-water fishing. You can flip boat docks. You can fish points, dropoffs, bluff lines and brush piles,” suggests Marty McGuire. “You can fish every depth of water you want from 2 to 25 feet.” The back ends of the feeder creeks and upper ends of the other tributaries offer stained to murky water for flipping, or a move to the main channel allows you to fish 20 feet deep in clear water.

“If you can find the fish normally you can catch a good limit in between the Glaize and the Hurricane Deck bridges,” McGuire says. There are just so many different things you can do in that area. That part of the lake will produce just as many consistent winning stringers as any part of the lake.”  While bigger fish come from the upper end of the lake during April, this area produces more consistent fishing and has one particular arm that’s similar to the upper Osage. “The Niangua is just like the river. It can produce the big stringer or it produces nothing,” McGuire advises. “You can catch a big bag of fish there or you may never have a bite all day long.”  The Grand Glaize arm has dirtier water in the spring, but is a small area that succumbs easily to fishing pressure. McGuire notes the section of the Grand Glaize near the Highway 54 bridge offers better fishing because the area has more boat docks to hold bass.

The water temperature in the mid-section of the lake will range anywhere from the mid-40s or low 50s on the main lake to around 60 degrees in the backs of the tributaries. While some fish will still be deep, the majority of the bass will hold 4 to 9 feet deep. If the water and weather remains cold, McGuire still catches bass on a weighted Rattlin’ Rogue on the main lake points or in the back ends of some coves. He uses a black and gray Rogue for clear water and a fire tiger model for stained conditions.

As the water continues to warm, bass start moving into the back ends of coves to the pea gravel banks. “If they aren’t on pea gravel, they will be at the first bank that has chunk rock close to the pea gravel,” McGuire says. Under normal water conditions, these fish can be taken on Carolina-rigged Zoom plastic lizards in green pumpkin or watermelon seed and chartreuse tail. Crawfish color Wiggle Warts and Bomber Model 6A or 7A crankbaits or a shad-colored Rapala Shap Rap also works well on the gravel banks.

During high and muddy water conditions, McGuire flips a black, black-and-blue or brown 3/8-ounce jig and number 11 or 1 Uncle Josh pork frog into flooded bushes along the secondary points and farther back in the coves. If the lake level remains high but just below the bushes, McGuire searches for the steeper chunk rock banks in the sunshine. “The fish will move right up in them rocks and right up on the banks in the sawdust, “McGuire says.

Upper Lake

This section of the lake has the same structure and cover as the other areas, but it tends to have more stained water that warms up faster in the spring. The section also contains plenty of chunk rock and pea gravel banks bass prefer during that time of year. In the shallower muddy creeks or the upper end of the river, the water temperature could be in the 60- to 65-degree range by mid-April while the water down by the Hurricane Deck Bridge could be in the mid 50s.

“The river can be awfully good in April,” says Roger Fitzpatrick, who grew up fishing this section of the lake. “I like the Hurricane Deck area because there’s some ‘nothing looking’ banks there that nobody ever fishes with a crankbait.” Other areas he favors include the Little and Big Buffalo, Cole Camp and Turkey creeks.

Most fish in the river section will be in the prespawn stage although some will be attempting to nest. One of the biggest drawbacks to this area in the spring is the influence of Truman Dam. “If everything is stable up there at that time of year, you can really have a good day.  If the fish are trying to go up on the beds and they are sucking the lake down, it makes it a little tougher there,” says Fitzpatrick, who suggests fishing down around the Hurricane Deck area since the staging fish in that section are less affected by Truman Dam.

Wiggle Warts and Bomber Model A crankbaits produce plenty of bass during mid-April on the upper Osage. Fitzpatrick suggests throwing the crankbaits on 10- to 12-pound test line and retrieving the lure slowly. The key is to keep the lure in contact with the gravel bottom in the coves. Fitzpatrick also targets lay-downs and boat docks less than 5 feet deep along the flats in the coves. He usually tries to catch a limit of fish by flipping a 3/8-ounce jig and craw in a black-and-blue combination, then he pursues kicker fish by slow rolling a chartreuse-and-white or yellow-and-white spinnerbait with gold blades.

When fishing the Lake of the Ozarks this April, remember the bass start to rock on this reservoir just before the recreational boaters do. 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.

Find Bass Anytime at Lake of the Ozarks

By John Neporadny Jr

 

Locating Bass at Lake of the Ozarks

Bass live a transient lifestyle in their constant quest for the comforts of home.

While warm heaters, cool air-conditioners, a soft bed and a roof over our heads give us a comfortable year-round place to live, a bass must constantly roam its watery world to avoid the heat and cold, and find a spot to eat and procreate. An abundance of cover and lack of deep water causes some bass to stay put throughout the year, especially in river and shallow lakes. However, Lake of the Ozarks bass migrate more throughout the seasons to take advantage of the diversity in water depths, cover and structure.

My home waters of Lake of the Ozarks serves as a classic example of a man-made reservoir filled with plenty of cover and structure to accommodate migrating bass. The following are seasonal patterns from my home lake.

Prespawn

Prespawn bass move from their winter haunts and follow the creek and river channels to staging areas along secondary points or main lake bluff-ends in the early spring. These spots allow bass to move up shallow to feed during sunny days, then retreat and suspend over deeper water when the weather turns cold and nasty.

As the days grow longer and the water temperature rises, the fish migrate to transition banks from the mouths to about halfway back in the coves and pockets.  The banks feature shoreline transformations where the rocks change from slab to chunk or chunk to pea gravel. These areas give bass quick access to the adjacent spawning flats and a deep-water sanctuary for any severe spring cold fronts.

Jerking suspending stickbaits such as a Rattlin’ Rogue produces the biggest bass in the early spring when the heavyweight fish are suspended along the various staging areas. A jig and plastic crawfish dragged over the rocky bottom also takes quality bass on calm, sunny days. A crawfish-colored crankbait or spinnerbait works best along the transition banks on sunny, windy days.

If early spring rains turn the lake turbid, prespawn bass can be taken slow rolling a 1/2-ounce spinnerbait along the bluff ends or secondary points. When the fish move to the transition banks, pitching a jig-and-craw combination to lay-downs and the shallow sides of boat docks takes prespawn bass in murky water.

Spawn

Typical spawning banks on my home lake are pea-gravel flats in the backs of coves or gravel shores in small protected pockets.  Some coves feature vast expanses of gravel flats, but the best spawning sites usually can be found within close proximity to deep-water structure such as secondary points and creek channel swings.

Bass prefer building their nests on hard bottoms and in spots protected from wind and boat waves. The fish spawn almost anywhere along the gravel bank, but the biggest bass prefer building their nests deeper in hard-to reach areas.  The favorite nesting areas of quality bass include the walkways and pillars behind boat docks, fallen logs and sunken brush piles.

Boat docks are ideal refuges for bass during the spawn. The fish can hold in the sunken brush piles next to docks before locking onto their nests or can suspend under the boathouses during inclement spring weather.

Sight fishing the shallows with a variety of soft-plastic baits takes nesting bass in the clear water, while dragging a plastic lizard or finesse worm 6 to 10 feet deep along the gravel flats produces the biggest spawners.  In murky water, flip or pitch a jig and jumbo trailer or a Texas-rigged 8-inch plastic lizard to shallow cover or behind boat docks to trigger strikes from bedding bass.

Postspawn

After leaving their nests, bass follow about the same migration route they used during the prespawn. The fish in the backs of coves return to the transition banks first and then key on the secondary points as the water temperature continues to rise in late spring. Bass in the small pockets migrate to the first available drop-off or the bluff-ends.

When early summer arrives most of the post spawn fish in reservoirs have moved to long, tapering gravel points. This structure provides bass a multitude of depths for feeding, recuperating from the spawn and gradually retreating to their summertime haunts. Postspawn bass can feed in the shallows during the early morning, then follow baitfish to the mid-depth ranges for a brief brunch. The point’s drop-off serves as an afternoon resting spot for these weary fish.

Standing timber and sunken brush piles provide excellent cover for recuperating bass along the postspawn migration route. The fish also favor hugging the rocks on long gravel points or the sharp drops of bluff ends.  Working a Zara Spook or topwater chugger along gravel points is a popular early morning tactic during the post spawn. Some fish can also be taken on Texas-rigged plastic worms worked through the wood cover. The most consistent pattern for postspawn fish though is dragging a Carolina-rigged plastic lizard or finesse worm from the mid-depth ranges to the drop-offs on the primary and secondary points.

Summer

Hot surface water drives bass to a cooler comfort zone of the lake’s deep structure. Summertime bass relate to bluff ledges, creek and river channel bends and the deep ends of points and humps.

Sunken brush piles in the 20- to 30-foot depth range become key targets throughout the summertime on my home waters. The fish either suspend over the top of the brush or burrow into the wood cover. Current caused by power generation causes some fish to move up on the points and humps to feed during the day.

Working magnum-size Texas rigged plastic worms or craws through the deep brush at night produces the most consistent summertime action. Slow rolling a spinnerbait through the brush or along the bluff ledges also catches some nighttime bass. The best patterns for daytime bass include dragging a Carolina- or Texas-rigged plastic worm or running a deep-diving crankbait along the points and humps affected by current.

Fall

Baitfish migrate to the backs of creeks where bass follow the forage.  An autumn feeding frenzy usually occurs on the flat side of the creek where bass chase shad in the shallows. Bass relate more to forage than cover now so finding baitfish is the key to success.

As the water turns colder and the annual reservoir drawdown begins in late fall, baitfish and bass evacuate the shallows.  The fish make a brief stop for a week or two along secondary points, then head to the transition banks (where the rock changes from chunk to slab) close to the mouths of the creeks or to the shallows of main lake points. Bass remain in these spots until frigid weather forces them to their wintertime havens.

A variety of patterns work throughout the fall. Buzz baits, spinnerbaits and crankbaits trick bass chasing shad in the shallows of the coves and creeks or when the fish move back to the main lake points and steeper rocky banks. Inactive fish can be taken flipping a jig-and-craw to shallow cover or working a Texas-rigged plastic worm  through brush piles on secondary points and transition banks.

Winter

Bluff ends and main-lake points adjacent to channel swings are two prime wintertime hideouts for reservoir bass. The fish either suspend in the open water under schools of baitfish or  cling to the bottom at the edge of a drop-off.  On mild, sunny days, some fish move to brush piles 10 to 15 feet deep in the main lake pockets. Docks sitting along steep channel banks on the main lake or in the bigger creeks also attract winter bass.

Three patterns work best for bass in these wintertime haunts. Jerking a Suspending Pro Rattlin’ Rogue close to the baitfish schools and around the main lake docks coaxes lethargic suspended bass into biting. Dragging a double-tail plastic grub attached to a heavy football jighead along the channel drops catches bottom-hugging fish while a tube jig works best in the brush piles of the deep pockets.

Weather and water conditions slightly alter the timetable of these seasonal migrations, but the basic destinations remain about the same every year. By following the natural highways of creeks and river channels, you can find bass any time of the year on the Lake of the Ozarks.

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 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

Fall Out For Lake of the Ozarks Bass Fishing

By John Neporadny Jr

 

Catch Fall Bass on Lake of the Ozarks

While the fall weather turns Missouri’s trees into a sea of red, gold and orange,  the cooler temperatures also energize bass.

After spending the hot summer slumbering in deep-water haunts, Lake of the Ozarks bass follow baitfish to the shallows during autumn where the cooler water triggers a feeding frenzy. The recurring fall scenes of bass busting through schools of shad makes this season one of the most exciting and frustrating times to pursue bass. The thrill of watching these fish churn the surface climaxes when your topwater lure disappears in a frothy explosion. However that excitement can quickly turn into frustration when you make countless casts to these marauders and the fish continue to ignore your offerings.

The vast waters of my home lake offer anglers a wide variety of areas and patterns to try throughout autumn. After the Labor Day holiday, boat traffic decreases and the bass fishing turns on in the backs of major feeder creeks and the upper ends of the main tributaries. The best areas to try in early fall include the upper sections of the Osage and Niangua Rivers and the backs of feeder creeks, such as the Gravois, Little Gravois, Grand Glaize, Linn, Indian and Soap.

Lay-downs and wood stick-ups are key targets for bass in the shallows of the creek.  When largemouth bass are chasing shad in these areas a variety of lures will catch fish, including topwater chuggers such as Rebel Pop-Rs, buzz baits and spinnerbaits.  One of my favorite techniques for these active bass is to bump a shallow-running crankbait into the wood cover.

If the weather turns sunny, I key on shallow boat docks where the bass suspend under the floating piers to ambush shad. Running a spinnerbait or twitching a soft jerkbait close to the sides of the dock usually coaxes a bass out of its hiding place. However the best way to trigger dock bass into biting is swimming a jig and plastic or pork trailer along the dock’s foam. I prefer using a 1/4-ounce light-colored jig with a white pork chunk or blue plastic crawfish that I quickly retrieve in a hopping fashion within about 1 to 2 feet of the surface.

The main lake also produces plenty of action for spotted bass in the early fall. Marauding gangs of spotted bass can be seen slashing through schools of baitfish along main lake points and islands. The bets lures for catching these fish include topwater chuggers, 1/4-ounce Rat-L-Traps and 1/4-ounce spinnerbaits. My guide trip clients usually caught plenty of spotted bass when they worked small topwater chuggers next to main-lake boat docks.

Some quality largemouth can be caught in the mornings on chrome-and-black Storm Lures Wiggle Wart crankbaits along main lake points. Later in the day, the bigger fish move into brush piles 10 to 20 feet deep where you can catch them on Texas-rigged 10-inch plastic worms or jigs and pork chunks.

From mid-October through November, the lake level usually starts dropping and bass concentrate on the chunk-rock primary and secondary points. Some of the most productive techniques for catching late fall bass on the points include waking a 1/2- to 3/4-ounce spinnerbait, slowly cranking a buzz bait or working a Heddon Zara Spook with a walk-the-dog retrieve. Swimming a jig along the main lake docks also takes both keeper-size largemouth and spotted bass. If the lake level remains high, then flipping a 3/8-ounce jig and pork chunk along seawalls on secondary points also produces keeper 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 Conventionand 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.

Catching Lake of the Ozarks Bass Through the Spawning Cycle

By John Neporadny Jr

 

Lake of the Ozarks Bass Spawn

When the water starts to warm in the spring at Lake of the Ozarks black bass have the urge to procreate.

During the spawning cycle, Bruce Gier, a successful tournament competitor from Eldon, MO, takes advantage of this situation by using various techniques to catch bass throughout the spawning cycle. Gier regularly fishes the lake’s North Shore area of Lake of the Ozarks. Pre-spawn on the lake usually begins the last couple of weeks in April when the water temperature moves into the 50- to 58-degree range. The fish will be holding 10 feet deep along gravel banks halfway to three-quarters of the way back in the coves. “They’re going to come up on sunny days in the little pockets in the longer coves,” Gier says. Cool nights drive the fish back out to the 10-foot range until the sun warms the shallows again the next afternoon.

The bass start losing interest in “chase-type” baits such as Rattlin’ Rogues or crank baits. Gier says the fish want slower-moving lures such  as Carolina-rigged plastic lizards and worms or jigs and pork frogs. Carolina-rigged  4-inch  worms or 6-inch  lizards in watermelon seed or green pumpkin colors are deadly baits for pre-spawn bass. One of Gier’s top big bass lures though  is a 3/8-ounce jig with a number 11 pork frog, which he uses on 12- pound test or less throughout April. He tries to imitate crawfish colors by using a black jig and black pork frog in early spring then switching to a brown-on-brown combination during the spawn. Gier says the best way to work any of these lures this time of the year is “slow, slow, then slower.”

During the first two weeks of May, the bass go through their spawning ritual. “Whenever the water starts tickling that 60-degree mark, then the bass will go into the pockets all over the coves,” Gier says.  “They’ll get under those cables around the docks. That’s their number one spawning place–just where they can really deal you some havoc when you lay into one of those big babies.” Gier makes it  even more challenging by using 8-pound test at this time.

In the early morning, the bigger fish can be caught on jigs and pork frogs in front of the beds  6 feet deep. When the sun comes up and the boat traffic starts, anglers will have to switch to tube jigs and Flukes to catch nesting fish.

By the end of May, the bass  have usually completed the rigors of spawning and try to recuperate by  hanging around boat docks near sandy, gravel banks in the coves. “They’re not hungry and they’ve had two weeks of hard work before,” Gier says of the post-spawn fish. A few bass can still be coaxed into hitting by slowly dragging a Carolina-rigged worm or lizard from the back corner of a dock to halfway along the  side of the floating structure. The fishing remains tough until the bass move back into deep-water brush piles for the summer. Gier also entices post-spawn bass with a unique retrieve of a jig and pork frog. Rapidly jerking such a slow-moving lure seems unnatural, so to make his presentation more lifelike Gier has devised a slow-motion ripping technique for the jig and its pork trailer.

The local angler begins this technique  by pitching a jig and pork frog to the shallows, then  pulling it away from the bank about 5 to 6 feet. Gier accomplishes this by pointing his rod toward the bank at about the 9 o’clock position and then sweeping the rod back until  it’s behind him. Gier then positions his rod in front of him at a 45-degree angle and keeps his line tight as he allows the jig to fall. He believes this sweeping motion imitates a crawfish darting out of  the shallow rocks and then falling to the bottom. “The bass are looking up at that crawdad coming over the top of them, then all of a sudden it flutters down to the bottom,” says Gier. “They will either bang it then or when you jerk it up off the bottom and let it fall again.” Since he wants to match the color of crawfish that time of year, Gier favors a brown 3/8-ounce jig with a brown number 11 Uncle Josh pork frog.

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.