Fishing Bass at Your Local MO Fishing Resort
Many of you might already know that the largemouth bass is one of the most popular freshwater game fish in North America, but do you know how to catch one every cast?
The largemouth bass is part of the sunfish family, a species that is native to North America and has many regional names: brown bass, widemouth bass, bigmouth bass and more. You can tell a largemouth by its olive green color, dark, sometimes black markings and upper jaw that extends beyond the rear margin of the eye socket.
In Missouri, it’s pretty hard to find a body of water without at least a few bass. The ideal location in which the state is located, not to mention long growing seasons, make Missouri a leading state for bass population. Most Missouri rivers, ponds and lakes contain bass; specifically, Bull Shoals Lake, Harry S. Truman Reservoir, Lake of The Ozarks, Mark Twain Lake and Missouri fishing resorts like Cedar Creek.
Timing is Everything, Well Almost
Late spring is one of the best times to catch a largemouth bass due to their migration to warmer water for spawning. Keep an eye on the weather, watching for warm rain and air moving through the region. Concentrate your efforts outside structures off spawning flats such as points, logs, humps and rocks.
When the water temperature reaches 55 to 65 F, bass will seek out a shallow, protected place for spawning. Bigger lakes don’t warm up uniformly. In this case, bass will not all spawn at the same time. To be certain, in the later spring months, try the Northwestern most part of the lake and test the water temperature with a thermometer. Typically, this area of the lake will be the warmest.
During the spawn, topwater baits work best on the outside edges of reedbeds, secondary points, over cover, and over beds. If a cold front moves in, fish the more covered parts of the water, flipping the cover with jigs and worms.
Habitat & Shelter
Largemouth bass have a large temperature range in which they can live, which extends to waters above 90 F down through the mid-30s F. The ideal temperature for largemouth bass is between 65 and 85 F – perfect for many Missouri fishing resorts.
Ideal water conditions range from murky to stained to clear, but they prefer non-flowing waters with plenty vegetation or flooded timber. They like cover too – lily pads, weeds, bushes, docks, stumps, rocks, or stonewalls, but can survive without cover.
Generally, largemouth bass are found in shallow water. However, if waters lack the cover necessary, then they can be found in water near drop-offs, channels, and rocky bluffs. Largemouth bass are not migratory by nature, preferring to stay in holding positions within a given area for extended periods of time.
Top Seasonal Baits for Missouri
Like catching most fish, seasonality plays a big role in what type of bait to use. The largemouth bass has a mouth wide enough to objects the size of its own head. It will attempt to eat virtually anything it can catch and swallow, which is why these fish commonly grow well over 20 pounds – much bigger than its smallmouth cousin.
- Spring – Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Fish shallow to moderate depths as they move to shallows for warmer water to spawn and feed. You may consider trying shallow-water flipping on cloudy days or in murky water.
- Summer – Crankbaits, jigs and plastic worms. Fish shallow in the mornings and evenings – move deeper as the sun rises. ”Deep” depends on the lake you’re fishing, as some lakes you’ll need to venture as far as 60ft., whereas others won’t have much action deeper than 35ft.
- Fall – Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and spoons. Fish shallow to moderate depths in the morning and evenings. As the day progresses, move to outside deep structure and use spoons or jigs.
- Winter – Jigs, pork baits and plastic worms. Try shallow in the mornings then move deeper as the sun rises. Bass are seldom active in cooler water, so move your bait in a slow, easy to catch manner. Also, move to deep cover and structure.
Great Missouri Bass Lakes by Game & Fish Magazine
- Shawnee Trail CA
- Mozingo Lake
- Harry S. Truman Lake
- August A. Busch Memorial CA
- Table Rock Lake
- Stockton Lake
- Lake of the Ozarks
- Montrose Lake
- Bilby Ranch Lake
- Pomme De Terre
Cedar Creek’s 7 acre fishing lake is a great place to start or practice until you are ready for one of the big 10!