Archie, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Amarugia Lake in southern Cass County is open for a full summer of fishing for the first time since the lake was renovated.
MDC began a project to deepen the lake and improve the fishery in 2012. When the renovation was complete, the 45-acre lake at the Amarugia Highlands Conservation Area was refilled. The lake was stocked with fish in 2016. But it remained closed to fishing so the fish population could rebuild. Last autumn, the lake was re-opened for fishing.
Anglers can catch several species of fish at Amarugia Lake. MDC stocked the lake northwest of Archie with channel catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, and redear sunfish. Unfortunately, although white crappie and bullhead catfish were not stocked, they entered the lake from the watershed, or an unauthorized stocking, and have become overpopulated. That is negatively impacting populations of the fish that were stocked, said Jake Colehour, MDC fisheries management biologist.
The daily creel limit for crappie at the lake is 30 fish, with no length limit. Anglers are encouraged to catch and keep a full limit of crappie. The same is true for bullheads, where the daily limit is 20 fish.
In surveys, biologists found low population numbers for largemouth bass and a relatively low percentage of bass over the 15-inch minimum length limit. Anglers can catch and keep a limit of two largemouth bass that are 15 inches or longer.
“But I would encourage anglers not to keep any largemouth bass at the lake at this time,” Colehour said.
Anglers can keep four channel catfish. The upside for anglers is that the lake has a lot of hungry fish.
“I would say with the sheer number of crappie, bluegill, and bullheads, you’re going to catch something,” Colehour side. “If you put a piece of worm out there, you’re going to catch a fish.”
The renovation made water depth near the banks deeper. Amarugia Lake also has some fishing jetties, a boat launch ramp, a privy and several parking lots. The fishing pier on the west side of the lake is handicapped accessible. A few small islands were added during the renovation to diversify fish habitat.
For information about Amarugia Highlands Conservation Area and the lake, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZxA.
Missouri offers a wide variety of fishing opportunities, including public waters in the Kansas City metro area. For information, visit https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing.