The Lake of the Ozarks, which has been an angler's paradise since its creation in 1932, is a must-visit for anyone that wants great odds on catching their daily limit of fish. Known as one of the best fresh-water fisheries in the nation, this man-made reservoir features 54,000 acres of water stretching 92 miles end to end with 1,150 miles of shoreline.
There's nothing like the thrill one gets when they feel their line go taut and they see their rod bend to absorb the strength of a fish as it fights to get free. It doesn't matter if it's the first fish someone's ever caught or the thousandth, the excitement never wanes. It's for this reason so many anglers return time and time again to Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks - because no matter the season, the "bite is on."
The Lake of the Ozarks, which has been an angler's paradise since its creation in 1932, is a must-visit for anyone that wants great odds on catching their daily limit of fish. Known as one of the best fresh-water fisheries in the nation, this man-made reservoir features 54,000 acres of water stretching 92 miles end to end with 1,150 miles of shoreline. That's a lot of water holding a lot of fish.
"Big Ed" Franko, professional fishing guide and owner of Big Ed's Guide Service based in Lake Ozark, has fished all over the U.S. and Canada and insists the Lake of the Ozarks holds its own when compared to any other lake.
"The Lake of the Ozarks is special because it's such a healthy lake and, as a result, it holds so many great big fish," Franko says. "There's an unbelievable amount of 3- to 5-pound largemouth bass swimming around and we catch far more bass here than anywhere else I've fished. Day in and day out, it's my favorite lake and that's why I live here. I'm able to be out on the water chasing fish 250 days of the year and I get to help make sure people who are visiting the Lake have the best fishing experience possible when they're here. That's what it's all about. Having fun and catching a bunch of great fish."
The variety of fish at the "Best Recreational Lake in the Nation" includes largemouth and spotted bass; white bass; black and white crappie; hybrid white bass/stripers; bluegill; walleye; and channel, flathead and blue catfish, as well as paddlefish. However, the most popular species are easily crappie and bass. The Lake hosts over 500 professional and amateur fishing tournaments each year, the two most popular being the semi-annual spring and fall Big Bass Bash tournaments, with each typically paying out a whopping $100,000 cash prize to the amateur that reels in the biggest fish.
For any first-timers to the Lake of the Ozarks -- whether it's someone's first ever attempt at fishing or their first time fishing at the Lake -- the surest strategy for success is to get hooked up with a professional guide. The local pros know the water better than anyone and have all the equipment and knowledge to make for a memorable day (or days) out on the water. The Lake of the Ozarks' guides are a great resource and they are eager to show off the highlights of their home waters. With a guide, beginners can learn the basics: how to properly cast, what habitat the fish like and what type of baits work best for each species and during which time of year. They'll also pick up many simple tips on easily overlooked essentials that will help them catch more fish and have more fun. Most guides have set rates for either a half-day (four hours) or a full-day (eight hours) fishing trip, but special arrangements can be made ahead of time for a customized trip. To book a Lake of the Ozarks fishing guide, all a visitor has to do is call the guide of their choice to arrange their fishing excursion and the guides will provide the rest. A list of fishing guides in the area can be found at www.FunLake.com.