Annual Prospects Report
Smallmouth bass and goggle-eye are the most sought-after fish on the upper reaches of the Gasconade River. Smallmouth bass fishing should be excellent in 2023. Fish surveys indicate good numbers of smallmouth bass on this section of the river. Smallmouth bass are usually found near rootwads and boulders that are close to fast current. Goggle-eye fishing should be good. The most recently conducted fish surveys indicate high densities of goggle-eye, with a good number greater than 8 inches. Goggle-eye are often found around boulders and rootwads near submerged aquatic vegetation or stands of water willow along the shoreline. Preferred artificial baits include crayfish-colored crankbaits, soft plastic jigs, and worms fished around logs and boulders. Live bait (crayfish and worms) also work well. When using live bait, care should be taken to not introduce minnows and crayfish from other stream systems. Introductions of minnows and crayfish from different stream systems may upset the ecological balance of the Gasconade. Largemouth bass make up less than 50 percent of the black bass population and prefer slower flowing water, especially around stands of vegetation. Plastic worms fished Texas-style work well for largemouth bass. Flathead and channel catfish can be caught using limb lines, set lines, and trotlines in the deeper pools. Live sunfish usually work best for flathead catfish; nightcrawlers, chicken liver, and stinkbaits are good for channel catfish. Longear sunfish provide plenty of action for the whole family. They are especially fun for beginning anglers because of their willingness, under almost all conditions, to take very small artificial lures or a hook baited with a worm or cricket. For giggers willing to brave the cold, the Gasconade River clears up by late-November, and there are plenty of suckers to provide good action.