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Lake of the Ozarks Offers Plenty of Action After Dark by John Neporadny

Lake of the Ozarks  Offers Plenty of Action After Dark

by John Neporadny

You can beat the heat and summertime crowds by fishing at night on the Lake of the Ozarks. When the  moon shines and the water calms down, the fishing action picks up for bass, crappie and catfish.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 6.18.48 PMSome fish can be taken during the day, but night fishing offers a cooler alternative and the fish seem to feed more after dark. From mid-June to the latter part of July,  nocturnal trips for bass  are productive on the Big and Little Niangua arms where  the fish hold in  brush piles around docks. In the Little Niangua, flipping  behind docks in coves also takes bass at night.  Fish lights on the back of a dock are  good attractants for bass, especially if there is a brush pile within 5 feet of  it because the light brings the bugs in, which brings the baitfish and big bass in. During the  last part of  July and in  August, concentrate on brush piles on the Osage arm around the  Lodge of the Four Seasons.

Bass seem to prefer main lake structure later in the summer. Points can be ideal spots to check at night becasue the fish move out to deep, cooler water during the day, but after midnight when the water starts to cool down they will come up on the shelves.

Water color has little effect on  night fishing since  bass can be taken in clear or off-color conditions. The key is to find brush piles  either on the main lake or other areas that have deep water nearby. Any brush pile sitting in 5 feet of water or deeper will hold bass at night.

The depth of the fish varies throughout the night as they come up to feed at certain times.  Start your  evening fishing  the brush piles 5 to 10 feet deep and when the fish stop biting in the brush, move up  shallower in search of bass roaming and feeding behind the docks. As morning approaches, move back to the brush piles.

Picking the best time after dark to catch bass can be difficult because the action can be non-stop some nights or there will be lulls between bites other nights.  If there’s a full moon, the  fish might  bite all night. Other times the fish bite during periods such as  11 p.m. to 3 a.m. or daylight to 8 am.

Magnum-size plastic worms (10 or 11 inches) and jigs are excellent night-time lures. Plastic worms in darker hues, such as black, blue fleck, June  bug and red shad, work well along with a brown or black 3/8-ounce jig with a rattle and some type of pork chunk or double-tail plastic grub trailer in a bluegill color. Retrieve the worm and the jig in the same fashion. Let the lure fall into the brush and crawl it through the limbs.

Sometimes the fish  suspend around the brush piles, so you should lift the worm up over the brush and then let it drop down into it, then lift it out of the brush  again and let it drop back to  get the fish that are suspended around the brush.

Another technique also produces at night for bass.   Try  a 3/8-ounce black spinnerbait with a silver willowleaf blade and a black twin-tail trailer, which shoudl be  slow rolled over the chunk rocks.

Nights are also a prime time to  drift for catfish. When the wind calms in the evening,  head for a the back of a cove and rig your rods  with shad and frozen shrimp. Spend  the rest of the evening and into the early morning drifting the cove for catfish.

If you don’t have a boat,  resort docks also provide good night action for a variety of fish. Most of the resorts have sunken brush piles around the docks, which become havens for bass  and crappie. Bass can be taken from the brush on plastic worms or jigs.  The best crappie action occurs in the brush piles located under lights that shine directly into the water. The lights set off a chain reaction as microorganisms are attracted to the lit area, followed by baitfish  and then crappie. Minnows,  jigs or a jig tipped with a minnow catch crappie under the lights. Some crappie anglers also get in on a bonus catch when a school of white bass move under the lights to feed on shad. Tight-lining off the docks with live bait or stink baits is an effective way to take catfish  at night.

As the  temperatures rise, take the day off and try some fishing under the stars  at the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks this summer. 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.

About Travis Perret