Welcome to Smithville Lake
furrows in the lake bottom when trolled in 6 feet of water using 10-pound test Fireline. He likes to cast Rapala DT6s, which he said are heavier and rip through the weeds well. He said the walleyes often hit during a pause after he jerks the lure free from weeds.
Willadsen said he catches plenty of largemouth bass, white bass and, occasionally, channel cats while fishing for walleye. “If a person goes out there and trolls crankbaits over main lake points, they are going to catch something,” he said. “Sometimes we’d practically give up on walleye because the whites were coming up all around, and they’re too much fun to pass up.”
One reason Smithville Lake has remained such a great fishing lake is the solid working relationship between the Corps of Engineers and the Conservation Department. These two entities are represented at Smithville Lake by pals Jake Allman, the Conservation Department biologist who manages the fishery in the lake, and Bruce Clark, the Corps’ operations manager for the lake.
Clark said Allman is the right biologist in the right place at the right time. “We’ve never had a biologist who’s had as much interest in the fishery,” Clark said. “Jake has taken it on as a personal thing, something he really enjoys and feels the need for.”
Allman said Smithville Lake is fortunate to have Clark in charge of lake operations. “He’s an avid fisherman and is excellent to work with,” Allman said. “He and I have known each other for years. We fish together and are friends, not just associates. It makes for a good working relationship.”
It also makes for a very good fishing lake.
Smithville’s Wild Side
The main lake area at Smithville might best be categorized as a “civilized” outdoor recreation area. Much of the shoreline is open and well-groomed. Clay County maintains lots of public access areas for bank fishing, and there are many more places where you can park and walk to the lake. You’ll find plenty of ramps, trails, picnic tables, shelter houses, beaches, playgrounds and camping sites. The complex even has three marinas with boat slips and a couple of golf courses.
Smithville Lake has a wild side, however. When you leave the main lake and head up the Camp Branch and Little Platte River Arm, the lake narrows and becomes mostly timbered, both in the water and on shore. Skiing is not allowed above the bridges, and