Thursday, March 6, 2014

Guest Blog: Bassing Bob on Fishing in March at Lake of the Ozarks

Fishing at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri during March can be one of the most productive times to enjoy and catch fish. During March the days are getting longer, the water temperatures will be warming up and the fish will be starting to move from their winter time holding areas and their metabolism will start get faster, therefore they will be on the hunt for food.

This winter however, has been one of the coldest in many years, the lake has been frozen for most of February and early March water temperatures are in the mid to upper 30’s, therefore the fishing in early March has been quite difficult to get the bass and crappie to bite. For the most part the bass are mostly on the bottom from 20’-30’ of water, holding inside of deep brush piles or suspended over very deep water, without much indication that they want to eat or move to chase a meal. The  crappie have also been more lethargic than usual for this time of the year, however they seem to be more catchable than the bass in deep brush piles and around dock brush piles.

In fact, many of the bass being caught are being caught on crappie jigs by fisherman fishing for crappie in brush piles. This is certainly an indication that brush piles are holding bass and the bass want their meal to be small and brought to them worked very slowly.

Bass tournaments the early part of March have seen weights being way down.   While it is not unusual to see 5 fish limit weights from 18-22 pounds this time of the year, winning weights have been in the 10-12 pound range, with many tournament anglers being shut out from catching a single fish, including me.

The cold water temperature bite that has been successful has been slow rolling a multi rig bait (ala the Alabama Rig), a rig that has multiple swim baits (3-5 baits) that imitate a small school of shad or bait fish. The successful fisherman have been working this style of rig slowly along the bottom in 15 to 30 feet of water or over the top of brush piles. It should be noted that the State of Missouri regulation for multi-rig baits is a total of 3 hooks, therefore for rigs that have capacity for more than three swim baits, you will need to either attach a spinner to the other wires of the rig or use what is referred to as dummy baits, swim baits with no hooks. These can be attached to the rig with a hitch hiker, a hitch hiker is a small screw like wire that the bait without a hook can be added to the rig.

As the water begins to warm, which it will in March, the bass fishing should really turn on.   As the water temperature starts to reach into the low, to mid and high 40’s which is likely through March, the fish will start to move and want to feed. They will start to feel that spring fever,  just as we do.  However, they also are going to start feeling the urge to spawn and/or get into the spawning areas to pre-stage for the spawn. While the spawn on Lake of the Ozarks does not really start to happen until about mid-late April and into May, the end of March as the water temperatures rise, the fish will start to migrate into the areas in preparation for the spawn.

Lake of the Ozarks Bass Fishing pro’s and experts recently met with BassingBob to discuss March bass fishing on the Lake of the Ozarks, this monthly meeting of experts is video taped each month and can be watched in it’s entirety on www.bassingbob.com. A monthly publication for March can also be found on the same web site.

In summary of the experts meeting, there is a lot of similarity amongst the experts regarding what baits to fish, locations and structure. The experts agree that during March the fish will begin to become more active as the water warms into the 40’s. They suggest fishing in and around secondary points that lead to spawning areas. As the fish are still a bit lethargic, it is key to fish slowly. Brush piles and docks around these areas will also hold catchable fish.   The experts pretty much agree on three primary baits to catch bass, a jerkbait, an Alabama Rig and a bottom bait, like a jig or creature bait. As the water begins to warm, fish should become catchable at the more common strike zone depths of 8’ – 15’ of water.  

The bass will also be found close to bait fish and they will likely be close to deep water but up on the flats and secondary points to feed.   It is often overlook at Lake of the Ozarks, that many fish also spawn on bluff ledges. These are often some of your biggest fish. These are often referred to as river fish, as these fish live full time along the river channels of Lake of the Ozarks. These fish will also start to feed and move more as the water temperatures warm. They will come up along the ledges of bluffs and on main lake points to feed. The baits to catch these fish are the same, a suspending jerk bait, Alabama Rig and bottom bait like a jig or creature bait. The jig/creature baits are very successful on bluff ledges by pulling the bait from ledge to ledge, often the fish will be relating to a drop off of a ledge and the bait will be eaten either as it is falling in front of them or being dragged in the bottom of a ledge. The very best jig and/or creature bait on Lake of the Ozarks is made my Crock-o-Gator Bait Company.

I would also encourage fisherman coming to the lake in March, whether you are an occasional angler or tournament angler, to hire a guide for a half a day or full day. March is a very tricky time of year, especially this year as we have had such severe cold water temperatures. My suggestion is to contact Jack Uxa of Jack’s Guide Service. Jack is a full time guide on the lake, he is the only multi species guide (crappie, bass, catfish, etc.). The Lake of the Ozarks bait and tackle stores are also another great place to find out what the fish are biting on, where to fish for the active fish, ect. My suggestions for bait stores on Lake of the Ozarks are Fitz Fishing, Tackle and Supplies, and Osage Bait and Tackle. Wayne, the owner of Fitz Fishing, is a veteran active tournament fisherman on Lake of the Ozarks and Bill at Osage Bait and Tackle has a great selection of fishing goods and always has an entourage of fishing guides and expert fisherman working at his store.

Finally, for videos, pictures, daily, weekly and monthly fishing reports, check out www.bassingbob.com.


Good fishing everyone.  Please feel free to contact me with questions or send me pics with your fishing report to bob@bassingbob.com.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Liverpool Legends Make Their 6th Annual Stop at The Lake



Once again in 2014, the Grammy Nominated and award-winning Beatles tribute band, Liverpool Legends, will come to the stage at Main Street Music Hall in Osage Beach for two performances, on Friday and Saturday, March 7 & 8, at 8 pm. Branson's Liverpool Legends tribute show, created by Louise Harrison, sister of the late George Harrison, gives audiences the full Beatles experience.
  
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Louise Harrison has been a part of what she describes as "The Global Family of Beatle People," since her youngest brother came to America with the "Fab Four" in the 1960s. She hand-picked the performers for the Liverpool Legends show both for their striking physical resemblance to the original Beatles and also for their musical expertise.  

These talented artists faithfully recreate performances throughout the Beatles' career, complete with wardrobe changes to represent the different eras of the band's history, and then continue on through the years of band members' solo performances. Vintage video footage of the Beatles serves as a backdrop for the performance and audience members are invited to relive the experience of a live concert by standing near the stage. The result is a widely acclaimed and crowd-pleasing tribute that engages audience members and takes them back in time to the years when the world was watching the Beatles.

Tickets are available from the Tri-County Lodging Association and The Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau. Premium seats are $30 for adults and children; regular reserved seating is $25 for adults and $20 for children. The venue will sell out quickly, so it's recommended that tickets be purchased early. For more information, call 800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253) or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau's special event website, www.funlake.com/liverpoollegends. For information on Lake Area lodging, dining, attractions and more, visit www.funlake.com.

Polar Plunge at the Lake Set for Feb. 22, 2014

Only brave souls with warm hearts would be inclined to take a dip in Lake of the Ozarks in February. On February 22, costumed participants will "take the plunge" into the frigid waters of the Lake as part of their commitment to Special Olympics Missouri's year-round program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. 

Festivities at the event include a costume parade before the 2:30 pm plunge, when participants walk, run or crawl into the cold winter waters of the Lake from Public Beach #2 in Lake of the Ozarks State Park. All participants fundraise for the Special Olympics prior to the plunge and prizes are awarded for top fundraisers. These donations help the participating individuals and teams show their pride and dedication to the cause and give them, as one team puts it, "a reason for freezin'." Spectators crowd the shoreline at the event, cheering on their favorite participants and showing their support for the cause. The Polar Plunge is a project of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Missouri and is proudly hosted by the Osage Beach Police Department. To register yourself or a team to take the plunge, or to donate to your favorite participant, visit the Special Olympics of Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks Polar Plunge page at http://bit.ly/1kA5rm0.

To view a complete series of photos from the 2013 Polar Plunge, check our our Flickr photo set at http://bit.ly/YAGOZ6.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lake of the Ozarks Mardi Gras Pub Crawl 2014


Missourians know they don't have to go to Louisiana to celebrate Mardi Gras. Lake of the Ozarks' 13th annual Mardi Gras Pub Crawl will offer great food and live entertainment on Feb. 15, beginning at 4 pm. For just $10, participants get a wristband granting them admission to more than 20 pub crawl restaurants and night spots, all of which feature live entertainment by bands and DJs. The $10 participation fee also includes shuttle transportation. A total of 32 buses will take participants from venue to venue, as well as picking up and dropping off at participating area hotels and motels. Pub crawl organizer Jeff Carroll says it is the Lake's biggest winter event, with more than 6,800 people participating in 2013. See over 60 photos from the 2013 event on our Flickr Page hereFor more information on this year's Pub Crawl, visit www.LakePubCrawl.com

Friday, December 20, 2013

Eagle Days 2014

Dates for the 2014 Lake of the Ozarks Eagle Days event are set for January 4th and 5th. Bundle up in coats, hats and gloves and bring binoculars and cameras for this popular winter event, which features majestic wild eagles.  These awesome creatures nest in the bluffs around the Lake of the Ozarks and Eagle Days provides a great opportunity to see and appreciate their beauty. 


The event includes hourly programs at Osage National Golf Resort, featuring naturalists with eagles from the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis. Wild eagle viewing through telescopes provided by the Lake Area Astronomy Club will be at Willmore Lodge each day. Eagle viewing, nest building, rope making and free hot chocolate will be available at the Bagnell Dam River Access.  New for 2014, the Country Club Hotel will host two programs given by Dickerson Park Zoo, featuring owls, hawks and vultures along with interactive exhibits and crafts. The shows will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday rotating every hour.  Eagle Days activities are free, but donations are gladly accepted. To view the entire schedule of Eagle Days activities, visit LakeoftheOzarksEagleDays.com



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Holiday Lights at Lake of the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks shows off its natural beauty for photographers all year, but when it gets dressed up for the holidays, it offers glitz and sparkle that demand a close-up from visiting camera bugs.  Thousands of lights reflect the joy of the season off the Lake's quiet waters, adding an aquatic theme to the holidays.

Twinkling lights are the stars of the show at drive-through holiday light parks around the Lake area. 
   
In Laurie, the 20th Annual Enchanted Village of Lights turns the 27-acre Laurie Fairgrounds into a winter wonderland from November 16th to January 1st.  Some of the displays are massive - up to 30 feet tall and 30 feet wide - while others come to life through animation.  Many are being equipped with LED lights to shine brightly throughout the park.  None of them, however, shine as brightly as the eyes of the children who visit, according to Susann Huff, Laurie's events and parks coordinator.  "I just love to see the kids' eyes when they arrive," she said.  "They can't believe it. It's hard to take it all in." 
  
Work has already begun on preparing the spectacle for visitors, expected to top 16,000 people again this year. The Enchanted Village of Lights opens each day at 5 pm, staying open later on the weekends. There is no charge to drive through the village, but any donations will be put to use in refurbishing and preserving the displays for the future. More information about the event can be found at CityofLaurie.com/EnchantedLights.htm.
   
Also, just a mile down the road in Laurie is the Lake area's most enduring drive-through Christmas lights event - Saint Patrick's Festival of Lights, celebrating 30 years when the lights go on this Thanksgiving evening. The Shrine of St. Patrick on Hwy. 5 on the north side of Laurie also is the site of the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church, so this festival of lights focuses on Jesus and his mother, Mary. The drive-through festival will be open daily from 6 pm to 9 pm on weekdays and 6 pm to 10 pm on weekends until January 1st. New for this year, the gift shop will be open during festival hours and volunteers will be serving hot chocolate and apple cider. The Festival of Lights is a free event, though donations are accepted.
  
Versailles joins the lighting celebration from November 26th through January 1st with its own Unity Circle of Lights, featuring 40 lighted holiday exhibits in the Versailles City Park, at the junction of Highways 5 and 52 in Morgan County. The Unity Circle of Lights, too, is offered free of charge to visitors.

Last but not least, Deck the Docks is back for 2013 to light up the Lake of the Ozarks waterfront. Climb aboard the Celebration Cruise Boat for a view of beautiful lakefront homes and docks decorated for the season. This is truly a memorable holiday experience that you can only find at Lake of the Ozarks. Cruises run every Friday and Saturday evening between November 29th through December 28th. Tickets must be purchased in advance for this one-of-a-kind attraction. As an added holiday bonus, a part of the proceeds go to support the Dogwood Animal Shelter. Visit www.cruiselake.com for more information or call (573) 480-3212 to reserve your tickets.
  
Learn more about all of these drive-through lights parks at: LakeHolidayLights.com/parks. Additional holiday event information can be found on the Lake's most complete event calendar at www.funlakeevents.com.

If you plan to visit the Lake for an extended shopping trip or if you want a beautiful location to host your family's holiday gathering, www.funlake.com has a complete list of Lake homes and condos to bring everyone together under one roof. Make this year's holiday season one to remember.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Autumn Color at Lake of the Ozarks

It is mid-October and Autumn is beginning to show some color all across the Lake of the Ozarks area. Fall is the perfect season to enjoy our two Missouri State Parks, scenic boat rides and seasonal festivals. If you happen to live in the Lake Area or if you are thinking of making one last visit before the weather takes a turn, now is the time to get outdoors and enjoy the Lake.

Of course, the most common question that we get this time of year is, "When will the fall colors peak at the Lake?". The truth is, we aren't aware of a way to accurately predict the exact peak of foliage color. What we can tell you is that, traditionally, our trees look their best in the week leading up to Halloween. This time varies year to year and it looks to be slightly delayed for 2013; meaning that you may still see some colorful scenery into the first week of November. Be aware that once the peak hits, colors drop very quickly and we could begin to see bare branches within just a few days afterwards. All that said, you certainly will not be disappointed if you head to the Lake right now. Hiking trails and scenic overlooks are bustling with activity as our weather has been great for enjoying a long walk in the woods. 

Don't forget your camera! We love to see and share our visitors' Lake experiences, and Fall makes for some awesome photo opportunities. If you happen to be an Instagram and/or Twitter user, follow @FunLakeMO and tag your snapshots with the hashtags #LakeoftheOzarks and #funlake. If Facebook is your thing, share a photo or two to the Lake of the Ozarks Page at www.facebook.com/funlake. We look forward to sharing and re-tweeting Lake of the Ozarks from your point of view.

If you're looking for a place to stay or if you are wondering if your favorite waterfront restaurant or dining establishment is still open for business, www.funlake.com has all of the contact information you need to plan an Autumn visit to Lake of the Ozarks. We even have downloadable State Park trail maps in the Outdoors section to help you pick the perfect hiking spot for you and your family.