Wappapello Lake


Bluegill, channel catfish, largemouth bass are proven stocking combination that provides both food and sport-fishing. When stocked in this order and properly managed, these species provide great fishing and good eating.

Annual Prospects Report

Wappapello Lake is an 8,400 acre reservoir that offers a variety of fishing opportunities.

Crappie fishing should be fair in 2024. The catch rate of white crappie over 9 inches in the 2023 fall trap net survey was not as high as it was in 2022, but similar to what we have observed in past years.   Although not as abundant as in 2023, there should be a decent number of white crappie in the 10- to 12-inch range.  Anglers can expect approximately 11 percent of the white crappie they catch to be over 9 inches.  A majority of the black crappie in the lake will range from 5 to 8 inches.  However, we are starting to see more black crappie over 9 inches than we have seen in the past.  A new regulation for crappie was implemented in the spring of 2019. The daily limit is 30 crappie, but no more than 15 fish can be over 9 inches.  Anglers are encouraged to keep fish under 9 inches (especially black crappie) to help reduce densities of slow growing crappie.  In the spring, anglers should target crappie in shallow areas around brush piles or on shallow flats. In the fall and winter, crappie can be found cruising large flats adjacent to the old St. Francis River channel, suspended in the old river channel, or in some of the larger creek arms.

The largemouth bass fishing should continue to be good in 2024. The population was not surveyed in 2023, but the spring of 2022 electrofishing survey showed almost 18 percent of the bass were over 15 inches and 5 percent were over 18 inches. Anglers should target largemouth bass in the spring along rocky banks and in shallow water around structure in the summer. White bass fishing will be fair in 2024 and anglers should expect a good number of white bass in the 14- to 16-inch range.  Anglers should target white bass in the spring on the northern end of the lake as they move up the St. Francis River. Anglers can also be successful pursuing schooling white bass and largemouth bass that are chasing shad during the summer months.

Bluegill fishing is fair, with many of the fish in the 6- to 8-inch range. Sunfish anglers can also expect to catch redear sunfish, warmouth, green sunfish, and longear sunfish.

Anglers can expect quality channel catfish fishing in 2024.  There should be plenty of fish in the 16- to 24-inch range, with some channel catfish reaching over 10 pounds.  Flathead catfish are not overly abundant in the lake, but anglers commonly catch quality fish.  Many anglers are successful using jugs or trotlines for both species of catfish.

Driving Directions
Map Image
Map showing Wappapello Lake's location in southeast Missouri