The lake level was 656.2; plans call for modest generation that should raise the lake to 656.3 by the weekend, then depending on rainfall and generating demands, rising slowly to 659 by mid-May. Surface temperature at Bagnell Dam was 57 degrees; tributary temperatures were 55 to 58 degrees. Truman Lake is one foot over pool.
BLACK BASS – One tournament reported, taking just over 18 pounds to win. Bagnell Dam Tailwater: Anglers should remember, black bass season in rivers does not open until May 24. Lower Osage: Fair, try Jerk Money 120 jerkbaits around rocky points and channel swings, also try Bullseye jigs tipped with green pumpkin colored Berkley’s Havoc Craw Fatty. Glaize Arm: Fair, try shaky head jigs tipped with soft plastics around dock brush on points. Gravois Arm: Good, try Storm’s Wiggle Warts or jigs tipped with Berkley’s Chigger Craw. Mid-Lake: Fair, try brown Crock-O-Gator jigs on points around dock brush. Niangua Arm: Fair, try Smithwick Rogues around rocky points. Upper Osage: Fair, try jerkbaits and Wiggle Warts toward the front of coves. Osage 60 MM: Good, try silver-sided crankbaits like Wiggle Warts on windblown rocky banks.
CATFISH – Bagnell Dam Tailwater: Very good on cut shad since the increased flow began. Lower Osage: Fair to good on rod and reel baited with cut bait. Glaize Arm: Fair, try deep coves with nightcrawlers or chicken livers. Gravois Arm: Fair on rod and reel baited with dead minnows or cut shad. Mid-Lake: Fair on dead shad fished on the bottom with a rod and reel. Niangua Arm: Fair on cut shad, try drifting deep coves. Upper Osage: Fair, try shad sides or ‘perch’. Osage 60 MM: Slow, try nightcrawlers. Truman Tailwater: Fair to good on cut bait.
CRAPPIE – It took 10.06 pounds (7 fish limit) to win the Crappie Masters tourney, Big Fish was 2.08 pounds. Bagnell Dam Tailwater: Has been poor, should pick up with increased flow rate. Try shiners or chartreuse/black jigs. Lower Osage: Excellent, try chartreuse colored Blakemore Road Runner Crappie Thunder jigs 8 to 10-feet deep along gravel shorelines. Glaize Arm: Very good, try small jerkbaits fished around boat docks. Gravois Arm: Very good, try small jerkbaits or blue-and-white jigs around docks. Mid-Lake: Excellent from the shoreline out to 8 feet of water. Niangua Arm: Excellent shallow, try jigs with Road Runner heads with blue-and-chartreuse Kalin’s curly tail grubs or small jerkbaits. Upper Osage: Excellent on jigs or minnows on pebble banks. Osage 60 MM: Excellent on single tail grubs on shallow rocky banks.
PADDLEFISH (SPOONBILL) – The legal length limit in the lake and tributaries is 34 inches, measured from the eye to the fork in the tail. The minimum length limit is 24 inches in the Osage River below Bagnell Dam. Bagnell Dam Tailwater: Has been poor, should pick up with increased flow rate. Upper Osage: Excellent for above average sized fish from the 47-mile mark upstream.
WHITE AND HYBRID BASS – Try jerkbaits before dawn in spring-fed areas; after that try chicken liver or cut shad fished on the bottom or in the tailwaters of both dams.
BLUEGILL – Very good to excellent around docks or submerged brush, try mealworms or Berkley Gulp worm pieces.
NOTE: The Lower Osage is from the dam to the 22-mile mark; Mid-Lake is between the 22 and 38-mile marks; the Upper Osage is between the 38 and 55-mile marks; the Osage 60 MM is between the 55-mile mark and the 89-mile mark; and the 89 MM is between the 89 MM and the Rt. 65 Bridge.
UPDATES – Bagnell Dam Tailwater – Dam Bait Shop (573-216-2084); Lower Osage and Glaize Arm – Guide Skip Surbaugh (573-365-0006); Midlake and Gravois – Mike Foree @ Osage Beach Bait & Tackle (573-348-9333); Niangua Arm – Darrell Taylor; Upper Osage – Guide John Blankenbeker (573-280-1455); Little Niangua River – Greenmill Campground, (573-363-5577); Osage 60 MM – Bryants Osage Outdoors, www.osagetackle.com (573-374-2278); Tourney Results – www724outdoors.com; Lake Level (573-365-9205). Compiled by Darrell Taylor.