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James Yalem

Decline In Bass Fishing On Truman Lake

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I built a house on Truman Lake in 1981. For the first twenty years after I built the house, I would say that bass fishing on Truman Lake was as good as any in Missouri. However, since about 2001, IMO the bass fishing on Truman Lake has really declined. I fish from Osage Bluff Marina.

First, I have experienced many more days of high wind and Truman is difficult to fish in high wind. Also, the lake level seems to always be dropping or rising much faster than in the past. I have finally put my house up for sale and after I sell it, I'm going to buy a condo on LOZ. Another reason is that I no longer am confined to fishing on the weekends and can now fish weekdays so boat traffic is not the concern that it used to be for me.

But I have really struggled to catch bass on Truman in areas like the upper Pomme De Terre arm that used to produce so many bass. Do you agree with me?

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I built a house on Truman Lake in 1981. For the first twenty years after I built the house, I would say that bass fishing on Truman Lake was as good as any in Missouri. However, since about 2001, IMO the bass fishing on Truman Lake has really declined. I fish from Osage Bluff Marina.

First, I have experienced many more days of high wind and Truman is difficult to fish in high wind. Also, the lake level seems to always be dropping or rising much faster than in the past. I have finally put my house up for sale and after I sell it, I'm going to buy a condo on LOZ. Another reason is that I no longer am confined to fishing on the weekends and can now fish weekdays so boat traffic is not the concern that it used to be for me.

But I have really struggled to catch bass on Truman in areas like the upper Pomme De Terre arm that used to produce so many bass. Do you agree with me?

James, I don't hear of Truman Lake like I used to, come to think of it. You should know. I would say the key phrase here is "always dropping or rising". That messes with the spawn.

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Lakes change all the time. Where I fish, each year is different. The same baits seem to work but the locations are changing. It seems to go hand in hand with water levels and water clarity. The last 2 years the chain of lakes I fish seem to give up smaller numbers but better quality bass. I have to work for fish now but have been rewarded greatly.

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James, I don't hear of Truman Lake like I used to, come to think of it. You should know. I would say the key phrase here is "always dropping or rising". That messes with the spawn.

That is my theory too. Since 2000, it seems that Corp of Engineers drops the lake level much faster then it used to when it gets high; sometimes only a few feet high. In recent years it has happened quite often in the spring. So not only does it mess with the spawn, but it scatters the bass.

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Everytime I've fished Truman it has been very tough. The fish are still there because I've done really well a couple times but it is usually tough to get anything big enough to weigh. LOZ is one of my favorite lakes to fish and has always been nicer to me than Truman. The heaviest limit I've ever weighed in came from Truman but that is the only time I've ever caught a limit at Truman.

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All of my usual places here in CT were very hot withy decent size LMB for decades. But i'm positive that all our waters are changing with water levels which also has something to do with the plant life and the PH factor too. One more thing to think about is fishing the same places the fish do learn our baits plus the smell of the scent i'm using too. I'm finding out the fish are still there but there not taking our baits like they once did. I was up to 9 to 10 decent sized bass per outing "fishing from shore" in the same spot. Considering my health is poor now and i can't stand for too long i wasn't doing too bad. I fish the smaller places that were untouched at one time until i told my buddy's now there are more fisherman there. Luckily they get skunked and leave, most of them. If you don't fish the place correctly with the right bait and presentation you leave a beaten fisherman, fish "1" fisherman "0".

My point is things are changing all the time wether we realize it or not and we must change with them. To me its a challange to go to a heavily fish place and continue to catch fish. Bill

Its not luck in fishing, its skill so read everything info thats here and it will make us a better fisherman or fisherwoman in the future.

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I think you've already touched on one thing that is key: water levels. Green fish do not do well in constantly fluctuating levels. I also think that in the early 1990 time frame they began to manage the lake for other species more intensely. There are still some great fish in Truman, and there's great fishing but it is far more inconsistent than it has been in the past. Historically, we could cound on a three day weight of at least 40, now, 30 is winning those same three days. Many clubs, organizations, and Trails have stopped fishing Truman because of the issues it's had in recent years with water levels.

Truman will always be one of my favorite fisheries because of the way it fishes. I remember many, many days of cranking the Pomme arm and positively slamming fish on the flats. Now, that's all whites and hybrids. I have to feel like the management strategy for the lake has had a great effect on the green fish, more than any other factor. In realizing that the COE is the determining factor in water levels and what they're going to do, MO DNR was forced to go with a strategy that allowed them to deal with the fluctuations and still manage a really good fishery. Whites and Wipers are what they have to do that with. I'd love to see it come back to it's Glory of being a premier Midwestern Bass fishery, but sadly don't think that it will.

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I think you've already touched on one thing that is key: water levels. Green fish do not do well in constantly fluctuating levels. I also think that in the early 1990 time frame they began to manage the lake for other species more intensely. There are still some great fish in Truman, and there's great fishing but it is far more inconsistent than it has been in the past. Historically, we could cound on a three day weight of at least 40, now, 30 is winning those same three days. Many clubs, organizations, and Trails have stopped fishing Truman because of the issues it's had in recent years with water levels.

Truman will always be one of my favorite fisheries because of the way it fishes. I remember many, many days of cranking the Pomme arm and positively slamming fish on the flats. Now, that's all whites and hybrids. I have to feel like the management strategy for the lake has had a great effect on the green fish, more than any other factor. In realizing that the COE is the determining factor in water levels and what they're going to do, MO DNR was forced to go with a strategy that allowed them to deal with the fluctuations and still manage a really good fishery. Whites and Wipers are what they have to do that with. I'd love to see it come back to it's Glory of being a premier Midwestern Bass fishery, but sadly don't think that it will.

Well stated. I completely agree. Recently, I had my home on Truman cleaned to get ready to sell. The cleaning lady told me that her uncle is a guide on Truman and has the same opinion. Also, she informed me that the local person in charge of Truman Dam for the COE passed away in 2000. Since 2000, I have noticed that the change in water level is much more extreme. Even when the lake got 4-5 feet high the COE dropped in .4-.6 feet per day rather than the .2-.3 feet per day that it used to drop it. In addition, in recent years springs and falls have been very wet. I never did fish for white bass or hybrids (I have caught some by accident including an 11.75 hybrid). I just know that since 2000, largemouth bass fishing is much tougher than in the 1980's and 1990's, especially the late 1990's when I caught lots of bass as late as mid-November.

So I am moving to LOZ where the water level never changes 10 feet in a year and rarely more than one foot in a month. Also, I am tired of the wind on Truman.

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Yes, most tournament anglers agree. Dave Barker, who has won as many midwest tournaments as anyone tell me regularly that the places he used to catch multiple bass on Truman just don't hold the bass these days. Good idea moving to Lake O. Save a few bass for me. I'm also getting a place there!

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