Go With The Flow For Spawning Lake of the Ozarks White Bass

 

 

Silvery masses of white bass swarmed everywhere in the  gin clear
waters of the creek.  The stream contained so many whites that the
fish darted between my legs as I waded through the riffles.

Casting into a pool  full of whites, I immediately hooked a fish and
as it fought, at least 10 other white bass ran with the hooked fish.
Nearly every cast produced a fish as I caught of limit of hefty white
bass in less than 20 minutes. I’ve caught spawning white bass in the dirty waters of the Mississippi
River and its tributaries before, but I’ll never forget my first
white bass encounter in the clear waters of a Lake of the Ozarks creek.

When white bass get that spawning urge,  they seek the right mixture
of water flow and rocks throughout  waterways in this region. Although
white bass can successfully spawn on  various types of bottoms, they
seem to congregate more around any rocky areas, such as gravel shoals
and  riprap.

During a typical spring with normal rainfall, white bass run in several
feeder creeks or rivers on the Lake of the Ozarks.  On the northern
side of the lake, the prime white bass runs occur in Cole Camp, Indian,
Gravois and Little Gravois creeks. The southern region offers some
of the best spawning runs however. An annual prime spot for spawning
whites is the swinging bridges area in the Lake of the Ozarks State
Park on the Grand Glaize arm. Other good spawning areas are the Big
and Little Niangua rivers.   The area around the Highway J bridge
on the Little Niangua arm can be especially good at times.

I look for white bass  in the rocky pools below riffles where the
current eddies into a shallow gravel bar of a feeder creek. Since
these streams  contain clear water, I use ultralight spinning tackle
with 4-pound test line. Some of the most productive lures include
small tube jigs with spinner jigheads,  small floating Rapalas and
Roostertails.

My favorite way to catch white bass though is to combine a 4-inch
floating Rapala with a white or pink 1/16-ounce doll fly. I tie the
jig on a 1-foot leader of 4-pound test and attach it to the back hook
of  the Rapala.  Since the combination has to be jerked hard to be
most effective, I use a medium-action spinning rod and reel filled
with 8- to 10-pound test line.

White bass travel up  the Lake of the Ozarks tributaries from mid-April
to early May. The average size of these spawning whites runs  from
3/4 of a pound  to 1 1/2 pounds.

Heading up one of the feeder creeks at Lake of the Ozarks  region provides
some of  your best fishing action of the spring if  you can find the
annual  white bass spawning sites.  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 funlake.com.

Bass Fishing on Lake of the Ozarks’ North Shore

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The North Shore arm contains some of the deepest and clearest water on the Lake of the Ozarks. This section of the lake stretches from Bagnell Dam to the mouth of the Gravois at about the six mile mark.

The North Shore features five long coves on the north side that warm up quickly to produce some of the earliest bass action in the spring. The major coves on the Horseshoe Bend side warm up slower and produce better fishing later in the spring. Secondary and main lake points are the key structures to fish most of the year on this arm.

The deep waters of the North Shore annually yield some of the biggest bass taken from the lake.  The biggest bass are usually caught in the early spring or at night during the summer. Bruce Gier, a former guide and one of the top bass tournament competitors at the lake, has caught tons of bass on the North Shore.

During the winter, Gier’s cold-water weapon is a weighted minnow bait.  The owner of Gier’s Bass Pro Shops in Eldon used to rely on a deep-diving Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogue to take winter bass but  his favorite lures now are the LuckyCraft suspending stickbaits (Bevy Shad 75, Pointer 78, Pointer 100 and Staysee).  His favorite colors are ghost minnow or Aurora blue in clear water and Nishiki or clown (red head, gold back and white belly) for stained to murky water.   He retrieves the lure with a series of twitches and long pauses that cause the stickbait to twitch and wobble like a dying shad.

The tournament veteran finds bass in the pockets if the lake level is low or the fish will stack up along secondary points if water is running through the dam. Twitching the stickbaits over brush piles in the 8- to 20-foot range allows Gier to catch suspended bass. 

In February, North Shore bass seek the warmth of rocky banks that receive a lot of sunshine. During this time, water is being released though Bagnell Dam so ideal locations for bass include pockets near a corner where the current breaks around a secondary point.  “The fish will be just out of the current around that corner of the point,” advises Gier. “You can’t see any current but the fish sure notice it.”

If the fish are hugging bottom or have moved into shallow brush, Gier switches to a small brown jig and tips it with a Zoom Critter Craw. For the most aggressive fish he tips the jig with a twin-tail plastic grub.

These two patterns usually produce for Gier until the middle of April when the water temperature climbs into the 50- to 60-degree range and the bass move into the pre-spawn stage. During this time, bass move off the chunk rock banks to the pea gravel and into brush piles less than 8 feet deep.

In early April, Gier catches some fish throwing a crawfish-color Storm Lures Wiggle Wart along the flat gravel banks in the coves. His favorite lure for big bass in April though is a 3/8- or 5/16-ounce brown Super Bass jig and plastic twin-tail trailer tied on 8-pound test line. He works the lure slowly along the bottom or through brush 5 to 8 feet deep in pockets of the coves or on the main lake. His favorite jig colors are green pumpkin or a brown-and-copper combination. If the water is off-colored, he opts for a black-and-blue combo.

When the water temperature climbs above 55 degrees Gier starts Carolina-rigging with a plastic lizard for the most aggressive fish and switches to a Centipede on a split-shot rig for lethargic bass. Best colors for these lures include green pumpkin, watermelon and pumpkinseed/chartreuse.

The fish begin their spawning ritual when the water temperature reaches the 60-degree mark usually in late April and the spawn last sometimes until the second week of May. Gier usually catches these fish behind docks in the pockets of coves where he pitches jigs and plastic craws or tube baits, finesse worms and a variety of other soft plastics.

“They’ll get under those cables around the docks,” says Gier. “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.”

By the end of May, North Shore bass have completed the rigors of spawning and recuperate around boat docks near the gravel banks in coves. Slowly dragging a Carolina-rigged finesse worm or plastic lizard catches some fish along the sides of docks, but Gier’s favorite tactic for these fish is sweeping a jig over the top of the fish. The technique requires pitching a jig-and-craw to the shallows, then pulling it away from the bank about 5 to 6 feet, which triggers strikes from bottom-hugging bass. “You can have a heck of a good time doing that all day long,” says Gier.

Night fishing produces the biggest bass at North Shore throughout the summer. “The last two weeks of June through July is the best time to night fish on the North Shore, says Harold Stark a former BASS Federation National Championship qualifier who has fished the lake since 1978. “The fish are in a stable pattern then and once you find two or three spots that are holding fish, you can go back there and keep taking fish out of those spots.”

The Eldon, MO, angler starts his evening on the water at 7 p.m. and concentrates on brush piles 15 to 25 feet deep next to the main river channel.  “It helps if there is a dock around or a lot of docks where the fish can get in there and congregate,” he suggests. It’s also easier to find the brush piles in the dark if the cover is near docks with lights.

His top three lures for night fishing include a plastic worm, jigs and pork frogs and spinnerbaits. He uses an 8-inch or longer plastic worm in red shad, electric blue, black and black neon hues and Texas rigs the worm with a 5/16- or 7/16-ounce bullet sinker. His other night lure choices include a blue 1/ 2-ounce jig with a blue or black number 11 pork chunk and a 1/ 2-ounce black or purple short-arm spinnerbait with a blue number 11 pork frog trailer.

The tournament competitor works all three lures on 15- to 25-pound test line with bait-cast tackle.  He retrieves all three lures in the same fashion by crawling the baits through the limbs of the brush piles or along the drop-offs.

“August is a good time to start throwing that spinnerbait,” Stark says.  “The fish see those plastic worms and jigs all the time.”

Fishing can be tough in the early fall when the fish are in transition moving from deep structure to the shallows. As the water temperature cools, bass move extremely shallow and stay there throughout autumn. “The fish get so shallow on the North Shore in the clear water that they can’t swim straight up and down underneath the foam of the dock,” discloses Gier. Good spots to try in the shallows are the floating supports of dock walkways either in the main lake cuts or in the backs of coves.

Topwater chuggers and Zara Spooks are good lures for fall fishing, but Gier prefers 1/ 2-ounce buzz baits and 3/8- or 1/ 2-ounce spinnerbaits with white-and-chartreuse skirts. If the water is off-colored he opts for spinnerbaits with painted blades, but switches to gold blades in clear-water conditions.

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 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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Warming Up With Wintertime Lake of the Ozarks Crappie Fishing

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Neither rain, sleet nor snow shall keep some anglers  away from their

crappie spots in the dead of winter on Lake of the Ozarks. 

 

            While fair-weather  fishermen cower in the  warmth of their homes,

  others shrug off the cold because they know they can catch quality

crappie  in the winter and virtually have all the best fishing spots

to themselves. One angler  who  spends his winter days–and even

some nights–pursuing these tasty panfish  is Terry  Blankenship,

a Lake of the Ozarks angler.

 

             All fish feed year round, but some become harder to find during

the winter time. Blankenship  believes crappie  are easier to locate

than other species when the water turns cold as the fish concentrate

more on structure and brush . Blankenship also believes he catches bigger fish  but

less  quantity  during the winter.  "The average size of the fish

is generally a little better then," he says.

 

            The local angler claims the Lake of the Ozarks is one of the best

wintertime lakes around. He catches crappie in all sorts of winter

weather, including snowstorms, from November through January. By the

end of January  though, the water has dipped to its coldest point

and the lake level has been drawn down which seems to  affect the

fish.  "When that happens, the combination of both makes the fishing

terrible," Blankenship admits. 

 

            Crappie can be caught shallow during the winter at the Lake of the

Ozarks by fishing around condominium docks at night.  The lights of

the  docks draw baitfish to the top, and crappie follow them to the

surface. Blankenship says he has actually seen some crappie hit his

jig while  fishing the docks at night in December and January.

 

            When fishing during the day, Blankenship concentrates on brush piles

 he has placed along main lake points and other  areas near deep water. 

Some fish be taken around docks,  which also have brush piles sunk

nearby. The fish usually stay at least 15 feet deep. 

 

            His favorite lure for wintertime crappie is a 1/16-ounce  Bobby Garland Baby Shad.  Water clarity determines which color plastic body  Blankenship

selects. For clear water, he prefers blue ice, while in dingier water he favors   orange or chartreuse hues.

 

            Fishing a jig in cold water requires a slow retrieve.  "Just holding

a jig stationary sometimes  provokes a strike," Blankenship says.

Since  the fish are reluctant to chase anything in cold water, Blankenship

keeps a lure in from of them the whole time  by presenting his jig

vertically rather than casting to the brush. 

 

            The angler also  tries to imitate the action of a dying shad darting

and fluttering on its side. "I'll use that motion when I'm jigging

to  try to simulate what the shad are doing," he says.

 

            Blankenship works his jigs on a light-action rod and

spinning reel filled with 6-pound test high visibility

line.  He prefers the high visibility line because he has to watch

closely for strikes this time of year.  "Sometimes a crappie will

hit and you'll never feel it, you'll just see your line move," he

says.  Since he's fishing fairly deep, he doesn't believe the high

visibility line spooks  fish even in clearer water.

 

 

            Whether you fish day or night, you can  catch a mess of crappie if you can find the right brush piles this winter at Lake of the Ozarks. 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 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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Winter Spots to Catch Lake of the Ozarks Crappie

       Biting winds numb the fingers and toes and the frosty air constantly ices up rod tips.

Yes, winter weather can be pretty darn harsh on anglers, but there is a bright side to this gloomy scenario.  The good news is crappie at Lake of the Ozarks still bite despite the cold and can be taken even in the bitterest weather if you know where to find them.

Crappie tend to bunch up during this season, so you can fill your stringer and make the cold tolerable if you find their wintertime haunts. So bundle up in layers of warm clothing and head for one of these two winter crappie hot spots.

Private Boat Docks

Boathouses provide plenty of shelter for crappie during the winter. On Lake of the Ozarks, crappie suspend under the floating docks or burrow into the sunken brush piles placed strategically under the docks. Crappie also seek shelter next to the posts of some floating docks or suspend on the supporting steel cables of marina docks. So when the cold water makes a crappie lethargic, the panfish uses the cover of a dock to ambush any baitfish that wanders into its lair.

Deep water is the key to finding the most productive docks. Key on docks located along drop-offs, creek and river channel banks, bluff-ends and steep- sloping points. The best docks at Lake of the Ozarks usually sit over depths of at least 20 feet.

Fishing from the dock is the easiest and most comfortable way to try this winter spot—if you can gain permission from the dock owner.  This opportunity allows you to fish brush piles in the back of dock wells and other spots inaccessible to anglers fishing from a boat.

When fishing from a boat, try the deep water along the sides and in front of a dock. Telltale signs on the dock indicating sunken brush include rod holders, chairs, lights hanging over the water and storage sheds, which also serve as excellent wind breaks while fishing on the boathouse.

A vertical presentation with jigs or minnows works best when crappie hold tight to the brush. Try casting a jig and counting it down to various depths when the fish are suspended under the docks.  A minnow or jig set below a bobber also takes crappie seeking the warmth of a dock’s floating foam on sunny winter days.

Heated Docks

The most comfortable way to catch cold-weather crappie is from an enclosed heated boathouse. Some resorts on Lake of the Ozarks cater to their wintertime customers by providing enclosed docks furnished with rocking chairs, toaster ovens, coffee makers, televisions and wood-burning stoves. 

 

The weather outside might be frightful, but inside some of these docks it's a balmy 70 to 80 degrees. The warmth and shelter from the wind provided by these fishing houses makes it much easier to detect the light strikes of wintertime crappie.

These floating structures are usually sitting over deep water (20 to 30 feet). Inside the docks are large wells filled with brush sunken on the lake’s bottom or hanging on wires at various depths. Some resorts also bait the wells with hay bales, dog food or oatmeal to attract minnows and shad.

Casting in the well is impractical, so pick a spot and drop your jig or minnow straight down. Look for any cables hanging in the water, which indicates a brush pile tied to it.

Target bottom-hugging fish by letting your bait fall to the lake’s floor and then cranking the reel handle once. If this fails to produce, slowly reel up or stitch the line in your hand. When a strike occurs, keep track of the depth so you can present your bait at the exact location with your next offering.  If the dock isn’t crowded, move around the well to fish different sections of brush. 

For information on lodging and heated docks 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 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.

Largemouth Lures for Lake of the Ozarks White Bass

Bigger is better when it comes to luring larger white bass in the
fall at Lake of the Ozarks.

 I found that out years ago when we considered whites a nuisance because
we were catching so many of them during our bass club tournaments
in the fall.  No matter what size crankbait, spinnerbait or jerk bait
you would throw at windy banks, white bass would usually hammer it
more often than black bass.

 Since the biggest white bass, and even some smaller ones, repeatedly
showed a preference for my largemouth bass lures each fall, I began
throwing these larger lures specifically for whites.  By casting these
lures to my favorite white bass structures on my home reservoir, Lake
of the Ozarks in Missouri,  I have taken several limits of hefty whites
and hybrid-stripers over the years. 

 Another  angler who has caught heavyweight white bass on conventional
largemouth lures is Bruce Gier, a former guide and black bass tournament
fisherman from Eldon, Mo.  We use the following techniques
to catch white bass on  traditional  largemouth lures at the lake.

Twitching A Jerk Bait

 Several  years ago, I accidentally discovered this technique while
fishing in a bass  club tournament  during the fall. We had been catching
black bass all day on medium-size Rattlin' Rogues and it appeared
the action was going to get even  better when we moved to the back
of a pocket where wind was blowing baitfish into the milfoil.  White
bass were feeding heavily in the weedy pocket and kept smashing our
jerk baits, but they became such a nuisance that we had to leave the
area to find more black bass.

 A couple of weeks later a similar incident occurred, convincing me
that white bass seem to want a bigger bait in the fall.  I was  bass
fishing with a friend who didn't have much bass tackle, so I let him
borrow a 4-inch Rebel Minnow to jerk around the weeds. When he caught
six hefty white bass on the lure, I decided to try the jerk bait exclusively
for white bass on a future trip.  In less than two hours on my next
outing, jerking the stick bait produced  a limit of 15 white bass
ranging in weight from 1 3/4  to 2 pounds.

    Since then I have refined the technique and alternate between
three types of jerk baits. I select the Storm Lures Junior ThunderStick
and 4-inch Rebel Minnow when I want to catch numbers of good-size
white s or I tie on a Smithwick Rattlin' Rogue in the  4 1/2 to  5
1/2 inch models  when I'm after trophy-size whites or hybrids.  These
lures seem to best resemble the size of the shad I see on my home
lake during the fall.  Chrome or silver and black are the best colors
for the Rebel Minnow and Storm Junior ThunderStick, but I've also
had some good catches on a Junior ThunderStick in a rainbow trout
hue. The biggest whites seem to prefer a Rogue with a black back,
gold sides and orange belly.

 Since this technique requires a lot of rod jerking, I use light tackle
to prevent fatigue in my arms and wrists. I jerk the stick bait with
a 4 1/2-foot  Berkley Lightning Rod and Shimano Bantam 1000 baitcast
reel filled with 8-pound test line. This lightweight combination allows
me to vigorously work the lure all day without wearing down.

 The minnow baits have worked extremely well for me on those cloudy,
windy days  in late October and all through November.  These lures
will also take fish on sunny days, but you need a combination of wind
and shade  to draw strikes from  white bass. 

 My favorite areas to throw the jerk baits are windy points, channel
banks and bluffs. I've also caught some fish on long, shallow points
with this technique, but the most productive structure features rock
ledges which attract both bait fish and the white bass.  When the
waves crash up against the rocks, the baitfish schools scatter along
the ledges.  The white bass then pick off their prey by moving up
into the rocks or waiting in deeper water for the  baitfish to get
washed off the ledges. Clear-water areas are also best since white
bass feed primarily by sight.

  When I find this type of situation, I throw the minnow bait up close
to the bank and start twitching the lure along the ledge to the deeper
water. To catch a prowling white's attention, I jerk the minnow bait
sharply to make the lure's silver sides flash. I rapidly jerk the
lure three times, then pause it momentarily before repeating the twitching
process again. A lot of the strikes occur during the pause. Since
I'm trying to trigger a reaction strike, I never let the lure sit
still very long though.  This prevents the fish from getting a good
look at the baitfish imitator in the clear water. If I see a white
bass slash at the lure and miss, I keep the lure moving  at a slower
pace, which occasionally draws a strike from the same fish.

 When the three-count retrieve fails to produce, I vary the cadence
of my jerks until I find a rhythm the white bass prefer. I also work
the retrieve all the way back to me because I've had fish strike at
the lure right next to the boat.

  
Chugger and Jig

 A combination of a topwater lure, normally used for largemouth, and
a doll-fly trailer tricks white bass of all sizes. Over the years
Bruce Gier has been refining a technique he learned from a fellow
angler of catching white bass  on a frog-colored chugger  with a trailer
jig.   Gier has switched to  a shad-colored Rebel Pop-R or a Heddon
Tiny Chugger with a white 1/16th-ounce feather jig. Since white bass
tend to tear up plastic-skirted jigs, Gier prefers using feather jigs
as trailers.  "You catch so many fish on the chugger and jig that
you'll have to replace the plastic bodies all the time,"  he says.

 Gier casts his rig with a bait-cast or spinning tackle and  8- or
10-pound test.   He ties an 18-inch leader of 10-pound test on the
back hook of the chugger and then to  the jig.  He also removes the
front hook of the chugger to keep the leader line from tangling up
in the hooks.

 In October, Gier searches for white bass along chunk rock banks. 
The  Missouri angler also finds the fish along these banks in November
if the water temperature stays in the 50- to 65-degree range. 

 Casting as close to the bank as possible, Gier retrieves the chugger-and-jig
combination in a popping manner.  "The popping imitates another white
bass chasing a minnow on the  surface," Gier says. "The popping noise
excites the fish below.  They're going to come up to check out that
noise because they  just can't stand it." 

 The speed of the retrieve can vary, but the action of the chugger
must be a deliberate pop. "The chugger's got to throw that water out
front," Gier says. "It's got to look like an explosion."

 Gier jerks the chugger and reels at the same time.  He also makes
sure he works the rig all the way to the boat.  "A lot of times, they'll
 hit it right when you're picking it up out of the water."

 Sometimes Gier catches a double on his rig.  "If you ever catch one
on the topwater lure, nine out of 10 times you'll catch one on the
crappie jig."  When he hooks one  on the  chugger, Gier lets the fish
swim around until another white hits the trailer jig.

 The chugger and jig technique works even without much wind.  The
chugging  noise attracts the whites if they are in the vicinity. 
"Whenever the white bass are running, you can catch just as many as
you want,"  Gier says.

Crankbait  Crazy

 Big white bass also show a preference in the fall for crankbaits
 normally used for black bass.  Shallow- and medium-running crankbaits
such as the Norman Lures Little N, Bagley's B1, Storm Lures Wiggle
Warts and Bomber Model 6As have all produced big whites for me on
a regular basis.

 One of my most productive lures a couple of years back  was the Storm
Lures 1/2-ounce  Thin Fin. We found white bass trapping shad in the
back of a shallow pocket next to a main lake point. That fall, we
caught the largest  white bass retrieving the Thin Fin at a fast pace
and occasionally twitching the lure to make it flash in the clear
water.

 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 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 Tricks for Taking Lake of the Ozarks White Bass

 When chilling northern winds signal the arrival of fall, white bass
invade the shallows in search-and-feed missions on shad at Lake of the Ozarks.

 Anglers who store their rods and reels to concentrate on hunting
at this time miss out on some of the year's hottest fishing action. 
Veteran Lake of the Ozarks anglers  have experienced this fall phenomenon numerous times
and have developed effective methods for taking the marauding whites.
 Try these   tips for catching white bass
the next time you visit the lake in autumn.

 Roostertails,  Jigs and Chuggers

 From the middle of September to early November,  look for
spots where the wind is blowing in on rocky points.  Three lures catch plenty of  whites in the  fall.
Use Roostertails or marabou crappie jigs in sunny weather or a topwater chugger on overcast
days.

 The spinner on  a Roostertail makes it an easy lure to use for whites. Just cast the lure close
the bank and crank it out.  If the white bass are around, the spinner will draw a strike. Throw a one-sixth ounce
white Roostertail in clear water and switch to yellow for dingy water.  Use an ultralight spinning
rod and reel filled with 6-pound test line. 

 Since whites cruise around in  shallow, rocky areas, you should retrieve the Roostertail
rapidly to prevent hanging up in the rocks.  Anglers who have trouble
retrieving fast can switch to a one-eighth ounce Roostertail which
falls slower.
 Plenty of white bass  can also be caught on  one-eighth ounce marabou
crappie jigs.   Employ the same fast, steady retrieve as the Roostertail when swimming
the lure through the shallows.  But when the lure reaches deeper water,
 let it drop and  bounce the jig along the bottom.

 Topwater chuggers are another favorite bait for catching
fall white bass.  Chuggers 2 1/2 inches long in shad colors, such as black and silver
or clear with black back, work best. Switch 
to 8-pound test when throwing the chugger.

 Retrieving the topwater lure in a steady, straight manner entices
the whites.  Keep chugging the lure all
the way to the boat even if a fish rolls at it and misses.  The fish will usually hit it
before it reaches the boat. If
you stop the lure, the white bass usually turns away from it.

Twitching Rapalas

 On overcast fall days, look for whites on the windy sides of points. 
 When you find a promising spot, toss a floating Rapala into
the shallows.  A variety of minnow-type baits will catch
whites, especially a 2 1/2-inch blue-and-white or black-and-silver
belly Rapala.  Use a light- to medium-action rod and spinning
reel filled with 4-pound test line.

 Experiment with retrieves, varying from a slow, twitching
motion to a stop-and-go  or a steady cranking  of two to three turns
on the reel and then stop and let the Rapala float back to
the surface.  Just vary the speed until you find a retrieve that
really turns the fish on. 

 When the wind makes casting the lightweight lure difficult, 
attach a small split shot to the line about 2 feet above the lure. 
The extra weight makes casting easier, but has little effect on the
lure's action if retrieved in the steady, twitching motion.

 To double your fun, add a trailer jig to the Rapala.  Tie on  a 1/32-ounce white, chartreuse or
yellow crappie jig on a 6-pound
test leader line.  The leader should be about 30 inches long. If
you use a shorter leader, the tailer lure will get tangled up with
the Rapala. With the extra lure, you can frequently
catch two white bass at the same time.

 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 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.

Choosing Lures For Lake of the Ozarks’ Fall Bass Fishing

 Selecting  lures  can be tough sometimes, but the decision becomes
easier in the fall at Lake of the Ozarks  if you pay attention to
a bass'  autumn diet.

 Since shad become a favorite meal for bass then, any lure that imitates
this baitfish will produce for you. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs are three of the top fall lure
choices for catching bass from this  reservoir. 

 If the wind is blowing, burn  a spinnerbait
 along bluff ledges and main lake points. The size of spinnerbait  depends
on the type of cover you target. If you're concentrating on shallow cover, try a
1/4-ounce spinnerbait with a single number 5 or 6 chrome Colorado
blade. When keying on main lake structure in windy conditions,
switch to a 3/4- to 1-ounce spinnerbait with tandem willowleaf blades
(numbers 5 and 7). Combine chrome and gold blades for clear water-cloudy
day conditions, and select a copper-and-gold blade combination for
dirty water situations. Favorite spinnerbait skirt colors of the local anglers are
white and white-and-chartreuse. 
 The single spin works best when  burning the lure up to the cover
then stopping it. Use a fast, steady retrieve on the larger model
and you can also catch fish early on calm mornings by waking the blade bait
across the surface.  

 When the fishing gets tough and bass hold tight to cover, 
try the crankbait around any wood or brush
piles you can find  in the backs of shallow pockets or along shallow
flats.  Although the lure works best in wind, 
a crankbait also produces when the lake has a slick surface. 

 A shad-pattern, shallow-running, Mann's 1-Minus or a Bagley's B-I in
shad colors are good lures for the fall at Lake of the Ozarks. If the water is off-colored,
 switch to a black-and-chartreuse crankbait.

 Vary the speed of your crankbait retrieve, but always
makes sure to bang the lure into cover.  If  the fish are really
holding tight to the cover,   burn the lure and bang it right into
the cover Sometimes you might have to run the lure three or four times alongside a log to trigger
a strike. 
 

 When bass suspend under docks at the Lake of the Ozarks, swim a jig along the foam.
This technique produces because you can drop the lure to spots in a dock well that
are unreachable with other baits. While  a jig is often used for sluggish bass in cold-front
situations,  the lure in this situation is used for active bass
hiding in the shady areas of the docks. 
 To detect the subtle strikes that usually occur when swimming a jig,
use a heavier lure (1/2 to 3/4 ounces). A white jig with a white Gene Larew Salt Craw or a
  black-and-chartreuse model with a plastic chunk in the same colors work
well for this tactic.

 Throughout the fall, a variety of lures will catch bass, but you
can simplify your lure choices  at the Lake of the Ozarks by trying
a spinnerbait, crankbait or jig as a shad imitator.   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 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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