Annual Prospects Report
The Platte River meanders through Platte County and is full of snags and standing timber. Flooding from 2019 and 2020 should have allowed more fish to be produced and those fish should be getting good harvest size. However, the prolonged drought of 2021 to 2022, has drastically reduced the accessibility of the Platte River in places. Channel catfish and flathead catfish are common throughout the Platte and large flatheads are caught each year. Blue catfish are also present in the river and fish over 40 pounds are possible. Blue catfish are most common in the lower 10 miles of the river but are becoming more common further upstream each year. Blue catfish numbers in the lower 3 miles of the river are higher in late spring. Channel and blue catfish take a variety of live and prepared baits. Flathead catfish prefer live fish except in the early spring when feeding on winter killed shad. Flathead catfish prefer woody cover and fishermen should target brush when fishing for them. If you can't get live fish, a large hook full of nightcrawlers or crayfish can often entice a flathead catfish too. Common carp, buffalo, freshwater drum, and gar are also common in the Platte River and traditional baits work well. Pay attention when boating, the bighead and silver carp inhabit the river and can jump into your boat. Anglers can use bighead and silver carp as bait if the fish are dead. Both must be euthanized or returned to the river immediately after being caught or after they jump in your boat.
The Platte River is one of our most accessible rivers. The boat ramp at Schimmel City Access also allows access to the Missouri River just two miles downstream. Sharps Station Access is the uppermost boat ramp. There are also two boat ramps at the Platte Falls Conservation Area near Platte City. The ramps share the same parking area, but one ramp is three miles downstream from the other. There is a big meander or loop in the river, so you can put in and take out from the same parking lot. If you look at this area on a map the river forms a "duck head" as it meanders from one ramp to the next. This makes an excellent short float or half-day fishing trip since only one vehicle is needed. Bank access is also available at several locations including the Platte Falls Conservation Area, which has over 10 miles of river frontage and at Humphrey Access downstream of Platte City. The old boat slide at Humphrey Access has been damaged by flooding and should not be used until repair or replacement has occurred. Union Mill Access, west of Edgerton, is located on a stretch of the river that is able to be waded during the summer months.
There are three boat ramp accesses on the Platte River. Schimmel City (near Farley), Platte Falls (The Duck Head) and Sharps Station (off Interurban Road).