White Bass provide lots of action when they make their spawning run in March. One of these prime white bass areas is the James River, near Galena, where the fish travel in large schools. They can be taken on jigs, spoons and small crankbaits at this time of year.
Crappie fishing is at its best in the early spring, when they school. A this time, they can be found near submerged stumps and trees in shallow pockets and coves. Jigs, grubs and live minnows on light tackle are effective at this time. Crappie fishing is also good under lights during the late summer months. Live shad netted at the site are excellent bait for the fish under these circumstances. When the water cools in October, crappie can be caught 6-10 feet deep around sunken cedar trees in feeder creek bays.
Catfish can be caught on Table Rock Lake throughout the year, both on trotlines and by angling. Large bluegill can also be taken year round.
While the lake boasts of an abundance of bass, crappie, white bass, catfish and bluegill, Table Rock is acclaimed as one of the best bass fishing lakes in this hemisphere.
It’s reputation for producing hefty stringers of bass laced with linkers was earned through an unprecedented management program, which combined man’s biological expertise with the natural environment. A 15-inch size limit and creel limit of six fish, linked with an abundant food chain in the lake, is the foundation for this fine program.
The result is resurgence of large numbers of largemouth, Kentucky and smallmouth bass of exceptional size available at any time of the year for the professional and novice angler alike.
In the early spring before the spawning season, largemouth and Kentucky bass will be found at the base of cedar trees and also near structures in various feeder creeks in the lake. During this time, the fish can be taken on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and the jig-and-frog. Smallmouth will be near rocky banks at varied depths. Feather jigs are deadly for these bronzebacks at this time.
During the spawning season in late spring, bass will be on gradually sloping pea gravel banks. They build their nests near stumps, logs, rocks and other structures along these banks in 2-8 feet of water. During the early days of spawning, the fish can be found more abundantly on the north banks, where the water warms more rapidly. The most action will occur in May, when both the male and female are attending the nest. During this time, the fish will strike nearly anything thrown in the vicinity of their beds.
In the summer, most bass migrate to deeper water from 25 to 35 feet. Here, the fish will hit plastic worms, jigs, grubs and spoons. The fish will stay near chunk rock points and along rocky banks, dotted with hardwood trees in the main channel. Also at this time, some breaking activity will appear throughout the lake, usually at the mouths of feeder creeks, which enter the main channel. Food lures for this type of fishing are clear top-water lures and chuggers. During the summer, Kentucky bass can be taken in large numbers on pea gravel points at depths of between 20 and 40 feet. Live night crawlers and crawfish on light tackle are best for this type of fishing.
In the fall, when temperatures cool the water, the bass move into the shadows once again. Crankbaits, jigs, grubs and jig-and-frog are effective when fished on rocky banks for both largemouth and smallmouth. Kentucky bass will remain deep at this time of year, and they can be caught near the channels on a variety of spoons, as well as live worms and crawfish. White bass will chase shad on the surface and nail topwater and slow falling lures.
November & December
During the months of November and December, lunker bass cruise the shallows, gorging themselves in preparation for winter dormancy. They fall prey to spinnerbaits and crankbaits. They can be found mostly in the back of live creek beds, which hold heavy concentrations of baitfish.
The lake contains every conceivable type of structure, which the bass use as they progress through their consistent seasonal patterns. While the patterns may vary slightly during the year due to fluctuating changes, successful fishermen conform to these cycles in order to locate and catch their quarry.
If you are unsure of the fishing pattern, check with the friendly folks at the various marinas, bait shops and resorts in the area. These folks keep up with all the fishing action that goes on in the area throughout the year, and they are more than happy to share their knowledge with you. For those anglers who want to be assured of full stringers of fish, try one of the excellent guides in the area, like SKEETER.
It is true that fishing in Table Rock Lake is different than in streams and cold water, and you have to change your fishing habits a bit; but we can assure you that the challenge and thrill of bringing in that big one can be yours.
There is no better place to plan your fishing trip and all-around family vacation than on Table Rock Lake. With accommodations to fit everyone’s needs and budgets, and the best fishing in the Midwest, you can expect your visit to be convenient, comfortable and filled with fish-catching excitement.
Each year pros throughout the United States fish Table Rock Lake and come back again and again. Why? The answer is simple: they catch fish and so can you.