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Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Info

Fishing Information

Lake of the Ozarks is loaded with a variety of fish species: largemouth bass, spotted bass, black and white crappie, blue catfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, white bass, hybrid stripers, paddlefish, walleye and bluegill. Most are caught year-round; they just change their habits depending on the season.Most of the year walleye, paddlefish and white bass are scattered throughout the Lake. But in the springtime, because they are migratory, they tend to congregate in the upper ends of the Niangua, Gravois or Grand Glaize arms.

Some monster fish have been caught in the last ten years on Lake of the Ozarks including a 20-lb., 8-oz. hybrid striper; a 40-lb., 8-oz. drum; a 36-lb., 12-oz. buffalo; a 42-lb., 2-oz. muskie; a 91-lb. blue catfish; and a whopping 134-lb., 12-oz. paddlefish.

Bass fishing can be good year around.  The best producing lures are topwater baits (low light periods), plastic worms, jigs, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits. Your best locations will likely be points, brush piles, and docks.

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.

White bass you should fish windy points, submerged islands and long, sloping points using either artificial lures or shad.

Catfishing is great on Lake of the Ozarks.  Drifting and fishing live or cut shad on days with a light breeze consistently produces the best catches. Blue catfish are best hunted some distance from the shoreline with your bait several feet off the bottom. The mouths of coves, deep flats, and river channel breaks are prime areas.

Concentrate on brush piles, especially those located on or near points. The ability to locate good structure is the key to successful crappie fishing on Lake of the Ozarks.

History Of Lake of the Ozarks

Ralph Street back in 1912 first looked into developing a hydro-electric power plant on the Osage River. He gathered the initial funding and began building roads, railroads and infrastructure necessary to start construction of the dam, with a plan to impound a much smaller lake. In the mid-1920s, Street’s funding dried up and he abandoned the effort.

Bagnell Dam

The lake was created by the construction of the 2,543-foot long Bagnell Dam by Union Electric Company of St. Louis, Missouri. The principal engineering firm was Stone and Webster. Construction began August 8th, 1929, and was completed in April 1931. The dam is now operated and maintained by AmerenUE, the successor of Union Electric, under the authority of a permit issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The massive body of water backed up behind Bagnell Dam is the largest man-made lake in the Midwestern United States.

During construction the lake was referred to as Osage Reservoir or Lake Osage. The Missouri General Assembly officially named it Lake Benton after the former Senator Thomas Hart Benton. None of the names took as it was popularly referred to by its location in the Ozarks. The electric generating station, however, is still referred to by the utility company as the Osage Hydroelectric Plant.

At the time of construction it was one of the largest man-made lakes in the world and the largest in the United States. Though built to provide hydroelectric power for customers of Union Electric, the lake quickly became a significant tourist destination for the Midwest.

There are over 70,000 homes existing along the lake, many of which are vacation homes. Spectacular scenery characteristic of the Ozarks has also helped to transform the lake into a major resort area. More than 3 million people visit the lake annually.