What, Where and When...
that the Professional Walleye Trail has held multiple walleye tournaments on the reservoir. Walleye populations also are on the rise in Table Rock.
From January to March, look for walleye congregating near spawning areas in major tributaries. Cast stick baits parallel to the bank in shallow water or troll minnow-tipped, bottom bouncers along flats.
After the spawn, try trolling crankbaits across flats or main lake points. As the year progresses, the walleye seem to move to deeper water. You’ll usually find them near bottom in between 25 and 30 feet of water, but they sometimes move as deep as 40 feet.
Crankbaits and bottom bouncers tipped with nightcrawlers are the most popular lures at Table Rock and Bull Shoals. Jigging spoons also seem to work well. When the fishing is slow, try slowly dragging a minnow-tipped jig along the bottom.
In summer, use your depthfinder to locate the thermocline, above which water temperatures and dissolved oxygen levels are more attractive to walleye and prey fish.
During March and April, white bass congregating to spawn in the lakes’ upper ends and in the major creek arms of the White River lakes are vulnerable to boat, bank and wading anglers. Use light tackle and long rods to help you cast farther.
Purple, white and baitfish-colored single-tail plastic grubs and marabou jigs are good choices. These baits can be fished slow or fast and in shallow or deep water. Choose 1/8- to 1/16-ounce jigs. At night, try fishing a black grub or jig in shallow water.
Baitfish-colored crankbaits also are effective. Both floating and shallow-diving lures catch fish from both shallow and deep water. Small topwater lures also have produced limits of white bass.
During early summer months, anglers use lanterns or other artificial lights to attract baitfish, which draw white bass in to feed. The night fishermen use minnows and freshly caught shad for bait. Anchor your boat along submerged river channels and fish minnows or freshly caught shad at various depths near the edge of the circle of light.
Summer is also a good time to catch large white bass on Table Rock by trolling crankbaits over deep, open water.
For additional tips on fishing these lakes, watch “Missouri Outdoors” the weekend of April 29 & 30
The White River Border Lakes Permit entitles Missouri and Arkansas resident fishing permit holders and Missouri residents 65 years old or older to fish anywhere on Bull Shoals, Norfork and Table Rock lakes. This annual permit opens up about 50,000 acres of water to Missouri resident anglers and eliminates the need to purchase a nonresident fishing permit from Arkansas. The permit is available at all Missouri and Arkansas permit vendor locations.
For fish population data based on fish sampling studies and creel surveys, read the annual fishing prospects report at www.MissouriConservation.org/fish/prospects/ or request a copy from your nearest Conservation Department office. See page 1 for regional office phone numbers.
For current fishing information about fishing Bull Shoals and Table Rock reservoirs, read the statewide weekly fishing report at www.MissouriConservation.org/fish/fishrt/.
For general information about fishing the lakes, visit the Conservation Department’s Web site at www.MissouriConservation.org and type the lake’s name and “fishing” in the search box.