Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Year-Round Fishing at Lake of the Ozarks

If your vacation luggage always includes a tackle box, Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks is the perfect year-round destination for you. The Lake includes 54,000 acres of fish-filled water and is fed by several rivers and their tributaries - the Osage River, the Big and Little Niangua arms, Gravois Arm and Grand Glaize Arm - so there is plenty of fishing fun for everyone.

Crappie, bass and catfish are the most common catches, but other species, like walleye and bluegill, await anglers as well. Fishing is fun at the Lake for both serious sport fishers and casual enthusiasts of all age and skill levels. "If you're interested in catching your daily limits of large and small mouth bass, white bass, crappie and catfish, the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks provides a wonderful opportunity to accomplish that. Some of our family's fondest memories were created with one-on-one time fishing with our children," Jim Divincen, administrator for the Lake of the Ozarks Tri-County Lodging Association, said.

Anytime is a great time for crappie fishing at the Lake of the Ozarks. Spring means spawning in the shallows at the Lake and nearly everyone can cast a minnow and bobber into the water and catch fish. In the summer, you'll have to fish in deeper waters or try night fishing for the best success. Dock fishing is great in fall, when crappie like to stay in tighter schools near the structures. Don't put away the tackle in the winter, either, as a number of the Lake area's smaller family-owned resorts offer heated fishing docks, perfect for catching crappie when the weather turns cooler.

If bass are your target, the Lake of the Ozarks has plenty of largemouth, white and spotted, all of which can be caught year-round. In spring and fall, the Missouri Department of Conservation suggests the use of topwater baits, plastic worms, jigs, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Winter is an excellent time to catch bass by slowly fishing jerkbaits off points or pea gravel banks.

Spring and fall bass and crappie tournaments offer big purses, making a fun day on the water very profitable, as well. "We know about catching big fish in Central Missouri. We're blessed to have one of the top fisheries in the entire country here at the Lake of the Ozarks, hosting more than 500 fishing tournaments annually, primarily in the spring and fall," Divincen said. "We're also home to three of the BassMaster Classic Winners, Denny Brauer, the first ever fisherman to be featured on the Wheaties Box, and father and son winners Guido and Dion Hibdon."

Channel, blue and flathead catfish all can be found at the Lake of the Ozarks. The best months for catching channel catfish are April through September, according to the Department of Conservation, though blue catfish remain active later into the fall and can be caught year-round.  Blue catfish tend toward the open water, so fishing in the mouths of coves and deep flats brings the best success. To catch channel catfish, keep bait on or near the bottom and stay near the shoreline. Use live bait and stay near large boulders or woody cover to land flathead catfish.

The Lake of the Ozarks has made a point of providing top-notch services for anglers for decades. Public launching sites are available in the Lake area's two state parks - Lake of the Ozarks State Park and Ha Ha Tonka State Park - as well as at full-service marinas and resorts around the Lake.  Many of the same marinas and resorts offer boat rentals.

Fishing guides make for a relaxing and effortless fishing experience. With one call, you can book these professionals, who will take you to the Lake's fishing "hot spots," and will also provide the boat and all the equipment needed for the excursion.

Fishing licenses are required for most anglers in Missouri. For more information, or to apply online, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation at www.mdc.mo.gov/permits.

Whether you're fishing with your buddies or your family, your time off the water can be as enjoyable as the time you spend fishing. The Lake of the Ozarks has activities and events for every age and interest.  To learn more about these, plus dining and accommodations options, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) at1-800-FUN-LAKE, or visit the CVB's award-winning website at www.FunLake.com.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Festivities at The Lake

Saint Patrick’s Day at Lake of the Ozarks is kind of a big deal. Not only is it a day (and night) dedicated to fun parties and all things green, it heralds the return of Spring - a time when we can emerge from our sheltered winter existence and enjoy warm sunshine and our beautiful Lake landscape coming back to life.

Start your St. Paddy’s Day at Lake of the Ozarks with a unique parade experience - on the water! The Saint Patrick’s Parade on the Water will be held on March 14th, 2015 and is a fun day trip on the Lake and a perfect way to kick off the Spring boating season. A new route this year will start at Captain Ron’s in Sunrise Beach. An optional breakfast buffet at Captain Ron’s is available, beginning at 8 am. Boats depart and the parade officially begins at 10 am. There will be the cruise boat again this year with tickets available through the Lake West Chamber office for only $25.

The Water Parade route is as follows: Captain Ron’s (34.5 MM by water, LR 5-50 by land) to Bear Bottom (38 MM by water, LR 5-36 by land) to Bulldogs Beach House (33 MM by water, LR 5-65 by land) and then Larry’s on the Lake (31 MM by water, Pier 31 Road by land). Stay up to date and get more information on the St. Patrick's Day Water Parade on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/St-Patricks-Water-Parade/945176652159813.

The 31st Annual Lake of the Ozarks St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on March 14, 2015 at 1:00 pm on the historic Bagnell Dam Strip (Bagnell Dam Boulevard) in Lake Ozark, Missouri. The St. Patrick's Day Parade is Lake Ozark's longest running traditional parade and is guaranteed to bring out the Irish in you. Deck the whole family in green, grab the lawn chairs and head out to the Bagnell Dam Strip for an afternoon of family fun watching the various floats, cars, motorcycles and yes even boats as they make trip along the Strip. And who knows you might even score some candy! 

Do you or your group/organization have a boat, float, car, truck or motorcycle that you would like to enter  in the parade? You can download the official entry from and return it to the Bagnell Dam Strip Association no later than March 9, 2015. See past parade photos and get more information, including registration at www.lakestpatsparade.com.

Whether they are Irish or not, visitors to the Lake of the Ozarks can get a head start on St. Patrick’s Day at The 5th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Short Bus Shuffle, to be held March 14 on the west (Hwy 5) side of Lake of the Ozarks. Ten restaurants and nightspots will offer live entertainment and St. Patrick’s Day food and drink specials. In addition, six West Side lodging establishments will provide special Short Bus Shuffle rates for participants who make reservations in advance. 

Shuttle buses will safely transport “shufflers” from location to location, beginning at 4 pm. A required $5 wristband grants entrance to any participating entertainment venue along the shuffle route and is also necessary to ride the shuttles. “The Lake of the Ozarks West Lake Chamber of Commerce’s goal for the Short Bus Shuffle is for participants to have a fun time and be transported safely when doing so,” Chamber Executive Director Deborah Buscher said. “We are currently selling wrist bands and they can be ordered directly from the Lake West Chamber of Commerce office.”

Many participants will be honoring the St. Patrick’s Day tradition of wearing green, including green souvenir shirts from the Short Bus Shuffle. Like the wrist bands, the shirts are available prior to the event at any participating location or the Lake of the Ozarks West Chamber of Commerce office.

A list of the businesses and lodging establishments participating in the St. Patrick’s Day Short Bus Shuffle can be found at: www.lakewestchamber.com/events/short-bus-shuffle or the event’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/shortbusshuffle.

If you plan to visit Lake of the Ozarks for your St. Paddy's day celebration, head to www.funlake.com or call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau office for complete area lodging, dining, attractions and more. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Cold Water Warms Hearts at the 2015 Polar Plunge

Going for a swim in Central Missouri's beautiful Lake of the Ozarks is a common occurrence. Doing it in February is less common. Nevertheless, brave souls with warm hearts will "take the plunge" for Special Olympics at the Polar Plunge on February 28. 

2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the plunge at Lake of the Ozarks. Organizers expect approximately 600 "plungers" and another 1,500 spectators to be on hand for the event at Public Beach #2 in Lake of the Ozarks State Park. Many of the participants don a costume for their plunge, so the event begins with a costume parade at 2 pm, prior to the 2:30 pm plunge. The Polar Plunge makes a great centerpiece for a winter weekend of fun at the Lake of the Ozarks. Lodging facilities offer great winter rates and activities like shopping and golf, if the weather permits, add to the fun. Restaurants and nightspots can help plungers, and their fans, celebrate their success.

Special Olympics Missouri's 14 Polar Plunges take place around the state in February to generate funds for the organization's year-round program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

New for 2015, Special Olympics Missouri has extended the Polar Plunge to include the little ones who want to participate in the event. The all new Pee Wee Polar Plunge will take place on Friday, February 27 at Timber Falls, Tan-Tar-A Resort's indoor water park. The Pee Wee Polar Plunge is open to children up to 9 years of age.

Is jumping into frigid waters not your thing? Maybe a brisk run through Osage Beach would be more your speed with the Polar Bear Strut. The only thing is that you'll have to rise and shine early as the Strut starts at 8:00 am sharp on February 28th. Visit http://bit.ly/PolarStrut2015 for more information and registration.  
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, giving them, as one team puts it, "a reason for freezin'." 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. For more information and registration for both Polar Plunge events, visit Special Olympics Missouri's Polar Plunge Lake of the Ozarks website at http://bit.ly/plunge2015.

For general Lake of the Ozarks lodging, dining and more information, visit www.funlake.com or call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau at 800-FUN-LAKE or 573-348-1599.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lake of the Ozarks Eagle Days 2015

The bluffs and forests around Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks are a popular destination for eagles on their annual southern migration. Visitors who want to see these majestic birds in their natural habitat should make Lake of the Ozarks Eagle Days a winter weekend destination January 3 - 4, 2015.

Missouri is one of the leaders in eagle population in the lower 48 states, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation, with more than 2,000 bald eagles reported each winter. They are drawn to warmer, wooded areas such as the Lake of the Ozarks in their migration from Alaska, Canada and the northern U.S.

Eagle Days activities allow attendees to see the birds in a natural setting, as well as offering opportunities for up-close viewing at programs offered by the World Bird Sanctuary. Events on Saturday, January 3, begin at 9 am and continue until 5:30 pm. On Sunday, January 4, events begin at 10:00 am and end at 4:30 pm. All Eagle Days activities and sites are located in Lake Ozark, all within a short drive of one another.

Eagle-viewing activities are located at Willmore Lodge and the Bagnell Dam Access. Eagle-watchers are encouraged to bring cameras and binoculars. Interactive exhibits and crafts will be on display at Willmore Lodge each day, and eagle nest-building and rope-making exhibitions will be held at the Bagnell Dam Access. 

At Osage National Golf Resort, live eagle programs are presented by the World Bird Sanctuary from St. Louis, beginning on the hour from 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday and 10 am to 2 pm on Sunday.

School of the Osage Heritage Elementary will feature two programs by Springfield's Dickerson Park Zoo. The "Live Owls of Missouri" program features information about the species of owls indigenous to Missouri. The second program, called "Day Shift, Night Shift and Garbage Gal" provides information about hawks, owls and turkey vultures. These shows will be held every hour on the half-hour beginning at 9:30 a.m. and ending at 4:30 pm on Saturday and from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm on Sunday. There will also be coloring contests and other activities for kids, as well as nature-related exhibitors including the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Department of Conservation.

If weather permits, eagle-watching cruises will be offered aboard the Tom Sawyer for a nominal fee. Attendees interested in taking the cruise should go to the boarding area on Bagnell Dam Blvd.

Lake of the Ozark Eagle Days is made possible by the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau, Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, Osage National Golf Resort, FaceLift Marketing, School of the Osage, Missouri Master Naturalist - Lake of the Ozarks Chapter and Boy Scouts of America. To learn more about Eagle Days, visit LakeoftheOzarksEagleDays.com or call 1-800-386-5253.

For information on the year-round fun at Missouri's Fun Lake, including activities, events, dining and accommodations, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) at 1-800-FUN-LAKE or visit the CVB's multiple award-winning website, FunLake.com.

Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Holiday Events at Lake of the Ozarks

From the "gobble, gobble" of Thanksgiving to the "ho, ho, ho" of the Christmas season, Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks is the place to celebrate the holidays.

For those who don't want to cook - but do want to eat - on Thanksgiving Day, a number of the Lake area's resorts and restaurants offer turkey and all the trimmings. Visit www.funlakeevents.com for a list of Thanksgiving buffets open around The Lake on November 27th.

In addition to Thanksgiving meals, there are special activities to kick off the holiday season at two of the area's full-service resorts.  The Lodge of Four Seasons offers carriage rides through the resort to enjoy the festive holiday decorations. The carriage rides are available Nov. 27th–29th, December 5th & 6th and December 12th & 13th.  Breakfast with Santa on December 6th and 13th is another holiday treat at The Lodge.  Learn more at www.4seasonsresort.com

Thanksgiving Day at Tan-Tar-A Resort will feature a Tailgate Party and a bonfire and sing-along before the lighting of the resort's Christmas decorations. And if you're feeling over-stuffed from your Thanksgiving feast, get out to burn some calories in Tan-Tar-A's Turkey Trot 5K on November 28th.  For more on Tan-Tar-A's festivities, visit www.Tan-Tar-A.com.

Visitors can enjoy holiday lights throughout the Lake of the Ozarks area at several drive-through parks featuring lighting displays that encompass thousands of brightly burning bulbs.

From November 17th to January 1st, the City of Laurie presents the Enchanted Village of Lights at the Laurie Fairgrounds. The Fairgrounds' 27 acres will be filled with displays, from small ones to towering displays over 30 feet high.  Six new displays will be added this year and LED lights make them shine even brighter than ever.  The smiles on the faces of the visitors shine the brightest, however, as they enjoy this holiday tradition. "Even a Scrooge smiles when he comes here," says Laurie's Events and Parks Coordinator Susann Huff. The Enchanted Village of Lights opens each day at 5:00 pm. The park will stay open until at least 9:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 pm on 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, including exact hours of operation, can be found at www.CityofLaurie.com/EnchantedLights.

Also in Laurie, and opening Thanksgiving Day, The Festival of Lights at the Shrine of St. Patrick on Hwy. 5 is the oldest light park in the area. Started in 1981, the festival has continued to grow each year, with thousands of lights decorating the buildings and grounds. The site is also the home of the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church, so this display focuses on Jesus and His mother, Mary. The St. Patrick Festival of Lights will be open daily from 6:00–10:00 pm from Thanksgiving through January 1st. There is no charge for the beautiful light display; it's simply a gift to the community. Learn more at www.ShrineOfStPatrick.org.

Lights shine brightly in the City of Versailles, as well, with the city park aglow for the Unity Circle of Lights.  Beginning November 26th and continuing through January 1st, the holiday light park will feature approximately 40 glowing and animated holiday scenes. The light park is named for the "Unity Circle," a monument at the park entrance that shows cooperation among community members.  For more information, visit the website at www.CityOfVersailles.org.

The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year. The Lake's Osage Beach Premium Outlets mall offers extended hours and special savings on that day to make holiday gift-buying easier.  In addition, specialty shops around the area offer gifts for the home, unique clothing, jewelry and other personal items. Antique shops are packed with treasures from the past and handmade crafts.  For more information about shopping at the Lake, click on the "shopping" tab at www.FunLake.com.

Thanksgiving weekend offers family fun in Versailles, which hosts Olde Fashioned Christmas on the Square on Saturday, November 29th, from 5:00–8:00 pm.  Vendor booths will line the historic Courthouse Square and the Versailles Choir will sing on the courthouse steps. Santa will arrive on the Versailles Rural Fire Department's fire engine then adjourn to the Royal Theater. His lap will be ready for sitting and his ears ready to hear children's gift requests. Guests can view and bid on silent auction items in the theater's Annex.  Learn more at www.VersaillesChamber.com/Christmas-on-the-Square.

Also on November 29th, Laurie's 13th annual Lighted Christmas Parade begins at 6:00 pm at Central Bank, traveling north on Hwy. 5 to the Laurie Mall. Santa will ride on a float in the parade, then visit with the children inside the mall.

The music of the holiday season is featured each year as Main Street Music Hall in Osage Beach presents Christmas on Main Street. Holiday carols, gospel hymns, musical impersonations and comedy are all included in a great show offered by Thom and Sandy Gumm, along with their cast of talented singers and musicians. The show is offered on weekends beginning November 7th and continuing through December 21st. For more information, including show dates and times, as well as ticket prices, call the Main Street Music Hall box office at 800-348-9501 or visit www.LakeMusicHall.com.

Deck the Docks is back for 2014 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 28th through December 27th. 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.

The Lake of the Ozarks' newest winter attraction, an outdoor ice rink aptly named "The Ice," opens to the public on December 4th at Old Kinderhook Resort in Camdenton. And on December 5th, a 9:00 pm ceremony will feature the lighting of the grand Christmas tree on The Ice. The skating rink is located next door to The Lodge at Old Kinderhook, a new 84-room expansion at the resort, which is scheduled to open early in 2015. For more information, visit www.OldKinderhook.com.

Camdenton offers a day of family fun at Christmas on the Square, December 6th. This all-day event features food, games, gifts and, of course, a visit from the season's guest of honor - Santa. For more information, visit www.CamdentonChamber.com.

The 30th Annual Lake Ozark "Christmas Magic" Parade will be held on December 13th at 1:00 pm. The procession will line up at Hwy 242 starting at t he HH & Bagnell Dam Blvd. intersection in Lake Ozark, and will turn right to proceed down Bagnell Dam Boulevard to the Dam. The Parade will be lead by the Maine Corp League Honor Guard with the Grand Marshall and all parade participants following them. Again this year, Santa will be available immediately after the Parade at the White House on Bagnell Dam Blvd. for pictures with the children. Christmas Stockings, will be handed out to all the children who stop to see him, and hot chocolate and cookies will be served to all waiting in line to see Santa!

Whether visitors are coming to the Lake to see the lighting displays, check items off the holiday gift list or just escape the demands of the season, the area's lodging properties offer the gift of off-season savings.  Winter and holiday-special lodging rates are some of the lowest of the year at Lake-area resorts, hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and RV parks.  In some cases, travelers can save as much as 40 percent off in-season rates and give themselves the gift of a good night's rest and relaxation.

The Lake of the Ozarks is also the perfect place to ring in the New Year. Ask your favorite lodging establishment about their New Year's Eve specials. 

For information about all events and activities at the Lake of the Ozarks, as well as information on dining and accommodations, visit our award-winning website at FunLake.com, or call 1-800-FUN-LAKE.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Patriots All Motorcycle Rally at Lake of the Ozarks

Bikers will rally for a cause June 27-28 at Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks.  The Patriots All Motorcycle Rally features entertainment and activities for bikers who want to support wounded warriors and their families.  Headlining the entertainment for the event is heavy-metal band Molly Hatchet.  Proceeds from the event are donated to Peterson Outdoor Ministries, a Joplin-based organization that provides recreational activities, counseling and support for veterans and their families. 

This is the second year for the rally, which is moving from Sedalia to the Lake of the Ozarks.  "Sedalia was a great venue for us," rally organizer Angie Thessen said.  "But the Lake can offer more fun things to do for attendees in conjunction with the rally.  People are just drawn to the Lake."
Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau Executive Director Tim Jacobsen is delighted to have the rally come to the area.  "We love having events for bikers at the Lake," he said.  "We are able to offer a variety of scenic rides, as well as other activities and amenities for bikers.  We support the Patriots All Motorcycle Rally as a way to give back to those who have bravely served our country."

Approximately 1,200 bikers attended last year's event.  Thessen hopes more will come to the Lake and stresses that all activities are open to the public, whether they are bikers or not.  Activities will be held at the Camden on the Lake Resort and Lake of the Ozarks Harley Davidson.

The fun begins with a reception at Camden on the Lake on June 27 for veteran rider groups like American Legion Riders and Patriot Guard Riders, allowing them to meet one another and honoring their service.  Patriot Guard Riders are volunteers who serve as an honor guard at funerals for members of the military, police and firefighters.  They also greet troops who are returning home from overseas and volunteer for veterans' organizations like veterans homes. 

"These volunteers often see one another only at somber occasions," Thessen said. "This event gives them the opportunity to participate in some fun activities and gives us a chance to thank them for what they do."

Friday evening's entertainment on the main stage at H. Toad's Bar and Grill at Camden on the Lake Resort will feature "Deff Lepardz," a "Def Leppard" tribute band opening for "The American Hitmen Band."  The American Hitmen Band, which is composed of Marines, formed during Operation Phantom Fury in 2004 when brothers Dan and Tim Cord played for their fellow soldiers in Fallujah, Iraq.  When they returned to Camp Pendleton, Cal., they added fellow Marines to the mix and began playing regularly in Southern California.  After being honorably discharged in 2007, they relocated to Utah and have been performing regularly, including an appearance in Season 8 of "America's Got Talent."

Rally activities continue on Saturday with a bike rodeo, National Guard tank rides and a poker run, as well as scenic rides.  The Patriots All poker run, a new event for this year's motorcycle rally, begins with registration and breakfast at Lake of the Ozarks Harley Davidson, located in Osage Beach.  Stops include Bridal Cave, Dog Days Saloon, Bootlegger's Sports Bar and Grill and ends at Toad Cove at Camden on the Lake.

Also on Saturday, a bike show will be held at Lake of the Ozarks Harley Davidson, with attendees voting for their favorite bikes by making donations for the event.  Information about these activities, including maps for scenic motorcycle rides around the Lake area, is available with registration for the rally.
On Saturday evening "Molly Hatchet" will perform on the main stage at H. Toad's Bar and Grill.  "Molly Hatchet" burst into the Southern rock music scene in 1978 and later took on a more heavy metal sound.  In the three decades that have followed, the band has continued touring and recording and has returned to its Southern rock roots.  "The American Hitmen Band" will open for "Molly Hatchet" at the Saturday night show.  There is a $10 cover charge for this event only and VIP tables also are available. Tickets can be purchased at www.CamdenOnTheLake.com. All other activities for the weekend are free, although donations will be accepted throughout the weekend for Peterson Outdoor Ministries.

Peterson Outdoor Ministries is a faith-based organization that offers outdoor recreational opportunities to wounded warriors, as well as people with disabilities or terminal illnesses.  While activities like Wounded Warrior Wildlife Hunts are a primary focus for the ministry, they also offer counseling and support to wounded combat veterans and their families.  One of their goals is to help wounded warriors transition from their lives in the armed forces to their new civilian lives, reducing the suicide rate among these veterans.
Thessen, who works as a legislative assistant in the Missouri House of Representatives, and her co-organizer, Maj. Chris Ash from the Missouri National Guard, have seen the need for supports like those offered by Peterson Outdoor Ministries.  In her work with the House of Representatives, Thessen has become involved in veterans' activities.  She met Maj. Ash through these activities and, together, they set out to organize the Patriots All Motorcycle Rally.

"In its first year, the Patriots All Motorcycle Rally not only met, but in many ways exceeded, our goals of thanking our veterans and raising funds to help Peterson Outdoor Ministries," Maj. Ash said.  "With all the bikers, bike lovers, veterans, service members, sponsors, vendors and entertainers, it made sense for us to move to a destination like the Lake of the Ozarks for the second year.  We expect an even better turnout this year, especially since our rally coincides with the 7th Annual Support Our Troops Poker Run."

The Support Our Troops Poker Run, while not a part of the Patriots All rally, supports H.E.R.O.E.S Care, another charitable organization that offers services to military personnel and their families.  The Support Our Troops Poker Run will be held on Friday, June 27, prior to the Patriots All rally and is also headquartered at Camden on the Lake Resort.  More information about this poker run, sponsored by Midwest Boat Party, is available at LakeOzarksPokerRun.com.

For more information, pre-registration or sponsorship opportunities for the Patriots All Motorcycle Rally, contact Angie Thessen or Maj. Chris Ash at PatriotFoundation@outlook.com.

Learn more about all of the attractions and activities, as well as lodging and dining options, at the Lake of the Ozarks, by calling the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253), or visiting FunLake.com.

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.