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Spring Bass Fishing Trip

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I'm trying to put together a trip to MO in late March/early April and wondering which lake to hit - Table Rock, Lake of the Ozarks or Truman. Is there any advantage to any one of these at this time of year - or disadvantages that should be considered?

I think it will be 3 boats/6 guys so we can cover some water seeking fish.

Any thoughts from those who are more familiar with those waters? All of us have fished at least one of these waters in the past but none really have a lot of experience on them. Basically we can't stand waiting until nearly June to chase bass here in MN and have to get a "fix" - a BPS visit is another nice incentive...

If you know of a reasonable resort that you would recommend it would be helpful as well.

Thanks for your thoughts!

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I actually live on Table Rock and am looking out upon it as I type so I am a little biased. Late March/early April is a great time to come down. Peak of spawn is usually aound 3rd week of April so you would be in the prime for pre-spawn hog catching.

There are a lot of different presentation that will work and you can expect to catch some real quality fish relatively shallow.

I would have to say go for the Rock. Lake O and Truman are pretty much LM lakes period. The Rock has LM, SM and Ky bass, and the chance for one of them to be on the feed bag is good, even if another species is tough. I can not thnk of any advantages to Truman or Lake of Oz at this time of year other than the fact they are a little shorter drive for you. Negatives on these lakes are minimal SM or Spotted Bass opportunities. The Rock is much more scenic, and closer to BPS in Spgfld if you need a BPS fix.

Lake O is a good LM lake but really overdeveloped and you will be battling LARGE boat traffic, and better like fishing docks. Truman is hit or miss, great LM lake but a cold front will have you playing cards for a couple days.

The Rock water will be a bit warmer in spots. It is a huge lake and you can find off-colored and warmer water in the Kings, James, and Long Creek tributaries. But that is not where you want to go for SM or spots. The time of year you are coming is my FAVORITE for big fish. I wish I knew how to post a pic on the forum cause I have a picture of my Nephew Jeff from Dodge Center MN/Hayfield area (he in the Zumbro Club) taken April 5 of last year, holding up the Table Rock Grand Slam: One each of LM, SM, Ky, and meanmouth bass. (Meanmouth are a cross between KY and SM), all of them 15"+.

That time of year is my favorite time to go after big SM, throw a Pointer 100 in Table Rock Shad on the chunk and gravel flats and hang on. Spinnerbaits if the wind blows. PB&J's and finesse rigs w/fries always work.

I would recommend the western half of the lake in the Baxter to Shell Knob area. That would put you in the clearwater portion of the lake, yet close enough to run up the James or Kings if that where the bite was.

You can do some old reading on the ozarkanglers web site for that time of year. If you register there and ask the same question you will get a lot of info. Email me at aim (at) mo-net.com and I can send you more info on whatever you want.

I'll try to check back in here also and answer any ?'s but my acount keeps getting cancelled and I have to re-register. I look at this great site cause I have MN roots and I come up there every year to pester the Smallies. Go to Vermillion, Mille Lacs, or Lower Miss every year for some of that action.

Lots of good resorts at reasonable rates and I could help with that too. 45-55/day will get you in a nice place with covered boat slips.

Come on down, you will not be disappointed. With 3 boats out foraging you will get on a bite quick.

I'd be tickled to help in any way I can, just ask away or get in touch by email and I'll send you my phone#

Tight Lines - SKMO

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Just read your response - awesome! Appreciate the info - we are still in full planning stage and all lights appear to be green!

I'm meeting some of the other guys that are going this week so will send you another message early next week!

Thanks again - and I can return the favor on some of our lakes when you come this way! I fish the lower Rum River which flows from Mille Lacs to the Mississippi for smallies all the time - not unusual to get several over 17" and maybe even a 19 - 20" or two....

I still have my LC Pointer in Table Rock colors from last trip <g> - although the weather stunk so badly last time I was there that all I caught were a couple of smallies all week. (Tornados and hail brought in a massive cold front).

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Well just bring it on, the questions that is.

Had a bit of insomnia the other night and was cruising the boards to see what the MN bassers were talking about, otherwise I might have never seen your message.

I think T-rock is the Real Deal that time of year. Since you have been here you know what to expect.

I was way under the price guesstimate on the lodging once I re-read your post and realised you had 6 guys. Double those numbers for a larger cabin, or maybe two units. If you want to stay on the W end of the lake for the best fishing I can pare the list of resorts to check out down to about 6-8 and save you a bunch of time there.

What time of year and what part of the lake were you on during your previous trip? A "massive" cold front can spell disaster in the Spring, but you can react and go deep to 30-40 and more feet on this lake and recover if you know how. This deep fishing is a real trip and it takes some getting used to, but the saying on the water is "there is always a deep bite" rings true on this pond.

I am intimately familiar with the lake from Kimberling City west up the White and Kings River, having fished it for 15 years, the last few years about 80-90 trips/year. Was out about 6 times over the holidays dragging up fish from 60' down. Fishing is actually pretty good right now.

Fish year round, "winterize the boat" is not a phrase we use much around here.

In any case try to make contact w/me by email and/or I'll try to keep an eye on this thread. If you decide to come to TR I think I could be some pretty good help.

Tight Lines....

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OK - I'll see if this works -

On the one with multiple fish, in his left hand looks like a dink, but it is a 15" fish to put it in perspective. The one on the deck is the meanmouth, also just over 15". The SM and LM are 19-20" specimens.

Just saved up a few fish in the livewell for a pic but obviously some pig SM were on the feed bag first week of April last yr!

Minnesota Jeff is a whale of a stick on the bass, not sure how anyone gets that good when the season/lakes are frozen or closed half the year. Just got that predatory instinct I guess.




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I've found a couple of resorts that look decent around the Kimberling City area and a bit west - any suggestions for further west near the areas you mentioned? I'm going to surf around a bit tonight and see what I can find over the internet too.

Last time we stayed at Bar M resort just west of Indian Point and about the only thing we caught any fish on was a 5" smoke/pepper grub thrown at the bluffs and bounced down. You are absolutely right about the deep water thing - hard to imagine bringing bass up from that deep but saw some guys on TV drop-shotting in 60' near a bridge that I thought was near K City.

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First off Indian Point it way too far down the lake (toward the dam) that time of year. Go west young man.

You need to be in the Baxter to Shell Knob area.

Find the HSOforum for the Shell Knob Chamber of Commerce.

What is your budget? i.e. do you want bare fishermans accomodations or a nicer place.

Look at the list at

Fish N Fun

Hardmans Hollow

Indian Hills

Lunker Landing

Kings harbor

Play Port

Quail Cove


All these are in the middle of the best fishing.

Indian Hills is really nice and in a great location, but kind of pricy probably. This would be my #1 spot for location and accomodations.

Once again I would encourage you to email me.

If you want to stay closer to K-City I can't give you any first hand info, but I know a lot of people and guides down that way that I can get a recommendation them from for you.

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Any hints for guy taking his kid? I got my kid a custom made rod for his birthday last year, buthe didn't catch anything on it. I want to take him down to Table Rock for crappie and bass. I don't have a boat, so I'm leaning towards a guide. Any ideas for that too?



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