Missouri Outdoors

Truman Lake Information

Truman Lake FishingTruman Lake is a great location for fishing, even in the winter, as power from Truman Dam helps heat the water. Truman Lake is nationally known for its excellent crappie and bass fishing. The reservoir is fed by four rivers and several small streams, creating a broad diversity for fishing.

Fishing Information

Truman Lake continue to be one of the best crappie hot spots in the Midwest. 

Crappie fishing is excellent throughout the lake.  In general the further upstream you go the bigger the fish.  In the spring look for crappie congregated at the mouths of creeks and tributary coves staging to spawn.   As the water warms look for fish to begin moving to spawning banks.  Spawning banks usually have flatter slopes and finer gravel.  Fish will move to the bank early and late in the day early in the spawn and can be found throughout the day in shallow water as the spawn peeks.

Bass fishing can be good year around.  The best producing lures are topwater baits (low light periods), plastic worms, jigs, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits. 

Walleye are typically caught by trolling crankbaits on steep rocky points and humps. Jigs tipped with either minnows, nightcrawlers, or a twister tail grub, fished on or near the bottom, is another productive technique. Unlike bass, walleye tend to prefer bright colored jigs and dressings such as orange, white, and chartreuse.   Walleye are stocked at Bucksaw, Long Shoal, Osage Bluff, and Berry Bend. Walleye fishing near these areas is the best bet on the lake. The upper ends of the river arms are also hot spots for walleye. The best arms are the Pomme de Terre, Upper Osage, and Sac River from the mouth up to Caplinger Mills. Walleye make early spring runs up tributaries and concentrate in pools just below riffles.

White bass After a long time of poor white bass fishing, Truman Lake is starting to improve.  White bass numbers have gotten better over the past few years.  Large numbers of 8-10 inch white bass were caught during the summer of 2012 and 13.  These fish are getting in the 1 to 3 pound range now. April and May, and even as early as March, white bass can be caught making their spawning runs up the major tributaries like the Pomme de Terre, Osage, Sac, South Grand, and Tebo arms.  Other minor tributaries to the Osage also support good white bass fishing during these times.

Hybrid Striped Bass - Summertime will find white bass and hybrid striped bass associated with mid and lower lake humps and points.  Trolling over humps with silver or white crankbaits, or imitation shad baits will work well in these areas.  Bouncing jigging spoons over these areas also works well.  White bass and hybrids can be caught on or near the surface in late summer and early fall chasing schools of shad. 

Catfishing should continue to be good on the Osage, Grand, Deepwater, and Tebo arms.  Channels can best be caught on the flats with worms or prepared baits.  Channels will move to rip rap near roads and bridges to spawn in May - June.  Blue catfishing on Truman is good for small and medium sized fish, while larger blues are not as abundant as they once were.  The average size of blue catfish caught on Truman is about 4 pounds.   Blues can be caught on rod and reel drifting cut shad.  Blues can also be caught effectively drifting or anchoring jug lines baited with cut shad. 

Paddlefish - The paddlefish snagging season is March 15 through April 30. Snagging should be good for legal fish (greater-than 34 inches) in the upper Osage from Talley Bend to above the Taberville Access with many fish greater than 45 pounds. The paddlefish population is maintained through annual stockings by the Department of Conservation.

History Of Truman Lake

Truman Dam FishingThis 55,600-plus acre lake offers 958 miles of coast line and has created a diverse wildlife area rich in the history of Osage Indians, explorers, fur trappers, traders and settlers.

The area around Truman Lake became the towns of Warsaw, Fairfield, and Clinton and were settled around 1820, primarily by Kentucky and Tennessee farmers of English, Irish and German descents.The settlement became a crossroads of travel and freighting. The first ferry was established on the Osage River in 1831 by Lewis Bledsoe, located where the site of Bledsoe Ferry Park, near Truman Dam, is located today. Bledsoe's Osage Ferry served the Boonville-Springfield Road, parts of which were also called the Old Military Road or Wire Road, east of town. Another ferry was later established by Mark Fristoe to the west. Soon, numerous freight wagons, stagecoaches, and wagon trains began to pass through the area. The first steamboats traveled the Osage River, docking in Warsaw, carrying cargos of salt, iron, nails, and other supplies to the area. On their return voyage, the steamboats hauled meat, furs, grain, eggs, and whiskey. Because of the shoals and tight bends in the river, the steamboats were necessarily smaller and had shallower drafts than the steamboats operating on the Missouri River. But, travel and trade they did, transferring goods all the way from St. Louis and back. 

The first train arrived in Warsaw from Sedalia in November, 1880, which ceased the need for Riverboat traffic on the Osage River. The Homer C. Wright was the last steamer to work on the Osage River. After its years of usefulness were over, it eventually sank during a winter ice storm.

The Flood Control Act of 1954 authorized the construction of Kaysinger Bluff Dam and Reservoir (now known as Harry S Truman Dam and Reservoir) on the Osage River. The plans were modified in 1962 to add hydroelectric power and recreation to the list of purposes for the dam.

 Harry S Truman State Park, located on the peninsula that juts into the lake, opened in 1983.

Truman Dam

Originally named Kaysinger Bluff Dam and Reservoir in 1954, when construction was authorized, construction began in August 1964. It was renamed the Harry S. Truman Dam and Reservoir in honor of the former president from Missouri by Congress in 1970. Construction was completed in 1979.

The Kaysinger name refers to the bluff immediately north next to where the dam was eventually constructed. The bluff, a popular landmark even before the dam, overlooked the confluence of the South Grand River, Tebo Creek and the Osage River.

Completing the Truman Project took many years of planning, land acquisition, constructing new bridges and demolishing old ones. Several roads, towns, and cemeteries had to be relocated. The first construction project completed on the project was relocating Route 13 so it would be above maximum pool level.

The creation of the lake forced the closure of the Frisco Railroad Highline. Rising water levels severed the railroad tracks near Osceola and Deepwater and railroad officials declined to spend millions of dollars to reroute the lightly used tracks. The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, however, did relocate its main line between La Due and Clinton; the project included five miles of new track and a causeway/bridge combination over the lake.

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