It’s no secret that the Lake of the Ozarks is a Missouri tourist hotspot.
During the summer months, over 3.5 million visitors make a stop at the lake. With its world-class fishing, plentiful tournaments, and beautiful scenery, it’s not hard to see why.
Keep reading if you’re planning a Lake of the Ozarks fishing trip. Our handy guide will help you get the most of your vacation.
Lake of the Ozarks Fish Species to Catch
The Lake of the Ozarks is home to many different species of fish. Many tournaments fishermen come to the lake for the bass. There are plenty of other species to look for, though.
In the spring months, fishermen flock to the lake to try and catch paddlefish. These primitive fish have been on earth for over 300 million years. Though once nearly extinct, they’re now thriving again in the lakes, rivers, and streams of the Mississippi Basin.
Crappie and bass spawn from March through May. You’ll have luck catching lunkers during this time.
From late May to Mid-June, bass will be aggressive after their spawn. This makes June is a great month to catch bass in the Ozark lakes. You should also be able to find several types of catfish including channel and blueheads. We recommend the blue cats as they’re often the tastiest.
The fall signifies the beginning of a gizzard shad migration. Fish are less sluggish as the temperatures start to fall. They’ll start to hit aggressively again.
You can catch almost any type of fish during the winter with the exception of paddlefish. They’re highly regulated; the season runs between March 15 and April 30.
We recommend checking the annual prospects reports to learn what to expect on your trip.
Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Tips
It’s exhilarating to be fishing, but the real thrill is catching fish. Our tips below will help increase the likelihood of a successful fishing trip.
Know Where to Go
Before heading out, it’s good to know the Lake of the Ozarks fishing hot spots.
The lake is chock full of decent-sized black bass. This is thanks to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s minimum length regulation.
They tend to move to shallower water during March (pre-spawn season).
In spring, bass migrate to pea gravel banks for spawning.
During May and early June, topwater action is best. You’ll have the best luck fishing along main lake points.
It’s best to prepare for deep fishing during the summer. The lake gets very warm during the hotter months. This makes the big fish stay deep where the temperature is cooler.
Fish are scattered throughout the lake during the fall months.
In the early winter, some fisherman have luck fishing shallow. Many fish choose to move to channels with closeby deep water access points.
Most bass anglers prefer the lower end of the lake during winter. Here the water is clearer and warmer than other areas.
Use the Right Bait
During the spring, bass fishermen should use jigs, finesse worms, or topwater lures. These will encourage nesting bass to bite.
You can also try using deep-diving crankbaits during late spring. Some fishermen have great luck with heavyweight jigs, too.
During the summer, heavy jigs, worms, and crankbaits are necessary for your tackle box. If you’re looking for brush pile fish, try Texas rigging a big plastic worm.
Spinnerbaits and topwater walking baits are common during fall fishing trips. These allow you to catch bass that will be feeding in shallow water in late autumn.
Jerkbaits and jigs are great baits to use for bass in the winter.
Making the Most of Your Fishing Trip
We at the Lodge at Port Arrowhead are excited to welcome you for your Ozark fishing trip. We are more than equipped to assist you in making the most of your vacation.
There is plenty of boat trailer parking and outlets available for our guests. We can also connect you with the best Lake of the Ozarks fishing guides. You’ll know you’re in good hands with their expert knowledge.
We can also help you choose other attractions to add to your bucket list.
Contact us today to talk about booking your next Lake of the Ozarks fishing trip.