Fishing changes fast in the fall. The fish are constantly moving with the bait fish to feed up for the winter. During the day there is always feeding activity in the fall. This lake is almost 100 miles long and fishing is always good somewhere. The problem is the turnover. Portions of that 100 mile stretch are down right funky and you canít catch anything. And it seems the funk has moved down lake to the lower portions of the Osage river. Some pockets where there were shad and bass everywhere last week. Are empty this week. So, you canít get stuck on one area very long in the fall. This time of year is when it really pays off to be a pattern fishermen over an area fishermen. Two of my customers last week finished 1st and 4th in their year end tournaments here at the lake. The guy who finished 1st also had both big bass awards with a 5.1#er and a 5.5#er. They were both taught pattern fishing at Bassfactory Instructional Fishing Trips. They were able to put together solid game plans based on what they learned and executed them. Good Job Guys!
Lake level: 658.7 with medium to light generation for the next few days. This will bring the lake up then drop it slowly. Truman lake level: 707.2
Water temps: 57-63 degrees
Gravois and Dam area: Clear to stained. This is your safest bet for avoiding the funk. This part of the lake is the deepest and turns over last. The lake has also dropped in the past couple of weeks. It was 659 and a half. Now it is back to 658.7. This will improve the deep bite along the bluffs and points with the football jig. That really wasnít working when the water was up. But now that it has dropped a foot the bait fish have pulled out to the points and are moving up and down the bluffs. Once they start the winter draw down, which should be soon, the football jig along the bluffs will be the dominate pattern. Right now more fish seem to be suspended under the bait fish around the points. You can catch them by slow rolling a spinnerbait or lipless crankbait under the bait fish schools. If you donít see fish actively feeding fish the available cover near the bait fish. That cover can be docks, rocks, wood or whatever. The bass donít care as long as it is a good ambush location. Bait selection is not as important as the ability to cast and put a lure right on their head. Your lure is not a good as the one Mother Nature has. So you better surprise that bass for he doesnít get a good look at that thing you are throwing. Lures are tools that are used for specific applications to get the job done. A spinnerbait, jig or plastic, crankbait and some type of topwater lure will get the job done in the fall. And some of the new lures like swimbaits also are productive when you need something more subtle than a spinnerbait.
Glaize: Clear to stained. Football jigs on bluff points are catching a few fish. And there is still fish to be caught in the sunken brush in the 8'-15' zone. The key to getting bites from these fish is to crash a deep crank into the brush piles. Use a DD 22 on 12-14# line and crash it into the brush then pause it. This looks like a stunned bait fish to the bass. And a easy meal. Use shad or bluegill colors. There are also fish to be caught around the docks pitching plastics. Fish the back and the sides of the docks for the best results.
Nianguas: Clear. The fishing in the Nianguas has been a little tough. Must be the funk. The bait fish donít seem to be as active. With only a few flickering on the surface. It will bounce back fast. I can still catch fish there and some good ones. But it is harder for me to catch a limit there. The best fishing has been at the mouths to half way back into the coves. Fish the available cover around the bait fish which are much harder to find now. Spinnerbaits, jig or plastic and crankbaits catch a few fish.
Osage River: Clear to stained with some dirty water. The water around the Hurricane Deck Bridge is clear. Above the 50mm it gets stained to dirty. Some parts of the Osage are tough because of the funk. For example my fishing partner was paired with Dion Hibdon in the Heartland Pro/Am tournament. They went to the area where he won Stren. The fishing was very tough and that pattern had just about completely vanished. They were up there pretty far and the fishing was better down the lake. Now that funk has moved even further down the river and the fishing is better even further down the lake. I had been catching them good last week I the mid lake area. Now it is time for me to pick up and move down lake. But I stay mobile and fish this entire lake. So thatís no problem. The fishing in the Osage River is tough not only because of the funk. But there is so many leaves in the backs of pockets the only place I seem to get bites are the points. I have noticed since I live on the lake and fish it 250 days a year. When these leaves fall and get blown into the backs of pockets the fish avoid those areas. Not just the bass, but the bait fish donít like to be around the leaves. I think those dead leaves give off some kind of chemical the fish donít like. Wed as soon as I backed off them leaves I started catching fish. I also noticed large schools of bait fish on wind blown points. And that is where I caught my fish on spinnerbaits. What a difference a few days makes.
Thanks and Good Luck!
Note: If your interested in learning how to catch quality fish on Lake of the Ozarks book a trip with me at Bassfactory Instructional Fishing Trips and see what you been missing. Bassfactory@Charter.net