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Fishing Articles
Catching Lake of the Ozarks Post-Spawn Bass
Submitted By: John Neporadny
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Lake of the Ozarks bass have endured the rigors of spawning and are now ready to take a break to recuperate from their annual chores of procreating.

The fishing seemed a lot easier during the spawn when bass aggressively attacked anything that ventured into the nests.  However the early post-spawn period tends to frustrate the average angler because the fish become sluggish and want to rest for a while.  Male bass remain aggressive though to protect fry and hunger triggers a recuperating female bass to ambush any prey that enters her resting spot.

On Lake of the Ozarks a bass migrates from the spawning bank to its summertime haunt along a basic route.  The spawning banks at Lake of the Ozarks will consist of pea gravel or hard mud bottom along shallow flats or pockets in coves.  After the spawn, bass will travel along a depression (ditch or creek channel) to the first major drop-off (usually a secondary point) where the fish set up ambush points around some type of cover such as brush piles, boulders or docks.  Some bass stay on the secondary points or channel drops throughout the summer while others migrate to points and other deep structure on the main lake.

During the latter stages of the post-spawn, reinvigorated bass chase baitfish near the surface on the main lake until the heat of summer drives both baitfish and bass deeper into the water column.

The post-spawn stage at Lake of the Ozarks mainly occurs in May.  Whenever I see large balls of bass fry hanging around docks on my home waters in May I know it is time to throw a topwater plug. My favorite post-spawn topwater lure is the flash bass or flitter shad Zara Spook because it seems to draw strikes from bigger fish.  If wind is making the surface too choppy, I will switch to a Gilmore Jumper prop bait to catch post-spawn bass along main and secondary points.

The first resting spots for Lake of the Ozarks bass after the spawn are the boat docks in the gravel pockets.  I catch these bass working the Spook along the sides of the dock where the suspended fish are either recuperating from the spawn or protecting fry.  Another productive tactic for catching early post-spawn bass in the pockets is to pitch a 1/4-ounce shaky jighead and 7- or 8-inch finesse worm in green pumpkin or pumpkinseed hues along the sides or behind the docks.

Bluegill usually start nesting in the backs of pockets during May so this becomes a great time to throw sunfish imitators such as Texas-rigged green pumpkin or watermelon plastic worms or small brown jigs with green pumpkin plastic chunks for post-spawn bass.  Since bass spent a couple of weeks chasing bluegill away from their nests, itís payback time for bass now so they will smash anything that resembles those sunfish pests.   

By late May, Lake of the Ozarks bass move to the deeper secondary points hallway back in the creeks or out on the main lake points.   Docks are once again key rest stops for postspawn bass before they move into their summertime haunts of deep brush piles or channel drops.   Swimming a 1/4- or 3/8-ounce shaky jighead tipped with a soft plastic creature bait  along the sides of main lake docks is an effective tactic for catching late post-spawn bass on my home lake.

Main lake points become primary feeding areas for post-spawn bass when power generation is creating current.  The best tactics for catching these aggressive fish are cranking deep-diving crankbaits and stroking a 1/2- or 3/4-ounce football jig and plastic chunk or craw trailer off the bottom.  Topwater plugs will also work early in the morning until the recreational boat traffic drives the baitfish and bass to the bottom.  A Carolina-rigged plastic lizard or creature bait worked along the bottom of main lake gravel points and humps also produces post-spawn bass later in the month.

For information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free vacation guide, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau web site at funlake.com.

Copies of John Neporadny's book, "THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide" are
available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site
www.jnoutdoors.com.

 

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