Missouri Outdoors

Smithville Lake Information

Fishing Information

Crappie fishing and bass fishing on Smithville Lake, Missouri
The fishing is great at Smithville Lake

Smithville Lake is a 7,190 acre reservoir located just north of Kansas City.  2013 and 2014 provided stable to high water levels that helped increase aquatic vegetation in the lake producing great reproduction for each fish species. There are now several large year classes of fish coming through the system.  Efforts continue every year to enhance the aquatic habitat in Smithville Lake, and excellent gizzard shad production has helped increase growth and should produce more legal size fish.

Largemouth Bass - numbers at Smithville Lake are the highest they have been in nearly 20 years!  Casting crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and plastics around existing selected habitat such as standing timber, brush piles, rocky points, and docks as well as around the newly installed habitat should produce some nice fish. 

Limit is 6 per day and a possession limit of 12.  Length limit is 15"

White Bass - fishing has been excellent and if you find the shad you will find the white bass. Try running crankbaits through busting schools of shad on the surface or off the main lake points.

Limit is 15 per day and a possession limit of 30.  Length limits for White Bass is no more than 4 longer than 18"

Crappie - continue to be the focal point of Smithville Lake producing nice stringers of fish.  Netting information from the fall of 2013 indicates that 60 percent of the white crappie were above the 9" minimum. Black crappie numbers remained high but the size structure tended to run a little smaller. Fishing mall plastic jigs and minnows around the numerous brush piles and standing timber in the lake should produce some nice fish.

Limit is 15 per day and a possession limit of 30.  Length limit is 9"

Walleye - that were stocked in 2012 have reached legal size and fishing should be good. The walleye are fun to catch and produce some nice meals.   Walleye sampled in 2013 indicated that 44 percent of the walleye were over 20 inches.  That is the highest percentage of fish over 20" in the last 15 years.  Walleye fishing has two primary seasons at the lake: the spawning run to the dam, and the hot summer months on the points and flats.  Shallow diving crank baits work best during spawning run.  Walleye tend to move deeper off of points and flats in main lake during the summer months.  Fishing the newly installed rock piles in the main lake area should produce good numbers of fish.  Try trolling deep diving cranks or crawler harnesses over these areas.

Limit is 4 per day and a possession limit of 8  Length limit is 15"

Catfish - fishing for catfish at Smithville Lake can be outstanding.  Fish at night in the upper ends of the lake arms or along the shallow flats around the islands and main lake for best results. Fresh cut shad or livers work best.  Flathead catfish can be caught with fresh shad or live baits on trotlines along creek channels and rocky bluffs.  Remember to always label your lines and watch for boat traffic.

  • Blue Catfish limit is 5 per day and a possession limit of 10.  There is no length limit.
  • Channel catfish limit is 10 per day and a possession limit of 20  There is no length limit.
  • Flathead catfish limit is 5 per day and a possession limit of 10.  There is no length limit

Vehicle and Boat Fees

Crappie fishing around brushpiles at Smithville Lake, MO
Smithville Lake, a great place for crappie, bass, and walleye

Daily Entry Fees

  • Vehicle   $5
  • Boat   $10

Season Entry Fees

  • Vehicle   $40
  • Boat Only   $80
  • Vehicle / Boat Combo   $120
  • Senior Vehicle   $30
  • Senior Boat   $60
  • Senior Vehicle / Boat Combo   $90

Discount for Clay County Personal Property Taxpayers

  • Vehicle*   $30
  • Boat Only*   $60
  • Vehicle / Boat Combo*   $90
  • Senior Vehicle*   $25
  • Senior Boat*   $55
  • Senior Vehicle / Boat Combo*   $80
  1. * Must provide a current Personal Property Tax Receipt
  2. *Only one discounted pass per receipt
  3. *Must be purchased at the Park Office at Camp Branch Marina

Be sure a get your Missouri Hunting & Fishing License before getting on the water