Avast ‘ye Matey’s! ‘Thar’s Treasure and Fun to be Had Here!
By Forrest Fisher
If you happen along the Gravois Arm while boating Lake-of-the-Ozarks, you could find a wailing pirate in search of treasure, and you could be helping ‘em.
Your kids might be part of the crew too!
You would be setting sail from the Jolly Roger Grub-n-Grog waterfront restaurant aboard their weathered Pirate Ship with Captain Scalawag, of course, chock full with a new gold and silver search for a fun adventure. It’s unforgettable for kids and some of the not-so-young kids too.
After the lake-ward treasure hunt, it’s to shore to the Kracken Shack Seafood and Oyster Bar. Look to find an assortment of tasty and healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner assortments, a topside menu of buccaneer beverages, an arcade for the fun of it, and lake-life leisure like you may have never found before. You can feast, party, find all sorts of adventure and even book a charter fishing trip. Well, shiver me fishing pole timbers!
If you’re driving there, you’ll find them at 28443 Polk Dr., Rocky Mount, Missouri (65072), or call ahead at 573-392-0700.
It's a Crock-O-Gator "Swamp Bug" in Pumpkin-Candy color...I call 'em "Swamp Things." Ugly, no idea what they look like to fish...but they work.
Big Bass and Small Bass….you know you need to jig “in the junk”
We do that with Soft Plastics, Jig Heads and Buzz Baits to Score
Where to find help with Colors, Sizes, and Choices that Work…see below
By Forrest Fisher
If you’re like me, whenever I fish, the baits I use sort of need to have a history that tells me somehow, “I’m gonna catch fish with this bait.” Sometimes when nothing else works, we try an untested bait from our box and are surprised to hear those words in our mind, “There’s a Fish!”
We set the hook.
Pure satisfaction! Surprise too!
Of course, we need to afford what we fish too and at Crock-O-Gator, imagine that you can buy soft plastics for about 45 cents apiece. It’s true! Get a 10 pack of tubes for $4.25! Unreal. Not a 4-pack or 5-pack, but a 10-pack for under 5 bucks. I was hooked and so was the many bass, all released, that we tallied that morning. We were fishing for fun.
Above all that “gotta have” thinking, I like to use baits that have come from resources within the USA, when they work. Crock-O-Gator baits all come from the USA and guess what? Because they are so affordable, you can try them to see for yourself. Check out this video below. In the video below, veteran angler David Gray talks with Jim and Denise Dill on Lake of the Ozarks, he discovers how the company came to be and grew to what it offers today for anglers that like to fish for bass and catch bass, all with USA-made fishing products.
Click the picture below to learn more about Crock-O-Gator.
Jim Dill says, “We are an American-owned and operated company based at Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri. We bought the company in 2010, it was founded in 1984. Since we bought it, Crock-O-Gator has been steadily growing since. Our goal is to continue making and providing top quality baits at a fair price. All of our products go through extensive testing prior to marketing to ensure every feature of the bait is perfect. As anglers ourselves, we understand the importance of quality products to get the most of every fishing outing.”
Kick back, chill out, shed the stress…unplug, hammock time, escape…wind down
Go Prepared, get a copy of the new Shore Magazine…then, get it done at the lake
By David Gray
In Missouri, from St. Louis to Kansas City and all points in between, when you say I am heading to the Lake, everyone knows you are going to Lake of the Ozarks. Tucked into the central Missouri Ozark hills, “the lake,” as it is called, is 92 miles long and offers 55,000 acres for the ultimate recreational destination magnet.
In addition to fishing, boating, swimming and water sports, the lake area offers every kind of recreational activity you might ever consider.
Among the endless choices of things to do are annual events like the Magic Dragon Street Car Show, Shoot-Out Boat Races with every level of lodging accommodations, including camping, are available.
With all the recreational options, the lake area delivers something for everyone.
Maybe the best lake activity of all is to just “relax.” Call it by any name, kick back, chill out, shed the stress, unplug, hammock time, escape, wind down – you can get it done at the lake.
As of 2019, relaxing gets a boost from the new Shore Magazine. Many people miss good print magazines that have been replaced by internet communications. If you fear there will be no new good publications, chase that fear away with the new annual print publication, Shore Magazine, which focuses on boating and recreation at Lake of the Ozarks.
Let’s admit sitting on a deck at the lake, morning coffee in hand, laptop off, phone turned down…is the preamble for getting relaxed. Add to that equation, Shore Magazine, a new excellent quality print publication to browse thru and everyday stress starts to melt away.
Shore Magazine was a collaboration between Showcase Publishing and Nauticus Media, and both companies are well versed in serving the needs for the Lake of the Ozarks area.
The folks that run Showcase know a lot about lake life. Showcase Publishing did their first magazine 34 years ago. Showcase publisher David Leathers learned the newspaper trade from his father, Tom Leathers, who published the Squire Newspaper in Kansas City for many years. David used his newspaper experience to publish Kansas City Home and Gardens, his first glossy magazine.
David Leathers knows the Lake of the Ozarks area well. His initiation began when he started selling ads around the lake for his Dad’s newspaper, then later for his own magazine. In a few years, the flow of people relocating and moving from population centers of St. Louis and Kansas City grew and David realized the need for a new magazine. David brought out Lake Relo and it was the right magazine at the right time. Lake Relo continues to be a very popular lake area magazine. The success of Lake Relo spun another great publication with the title “SHL,” Second Home Living, which is distributed free around the lake area. David Leathers enjoyed not only working, but being at the lake and like many others, could not resist the second home experience. He used the knowledge that goes into his Lake Relo and SHL Second Home publications to soon find a lake home getaway.
Even for experienced businesses, it is never easy to produce a successful new product, but your first look at Shore Magazine will tell you this one hits the mark. At the recent Lake of the Ozarks Boat Show, the new Shore Magazine was unveiled. Lisa Larsen, Showcase Publishing operations manager, shared the extensive amount of planning and development that went into creating this masterpiece before the decision to go forward with the new magazine was made.
The Shore Magazine subtitle is directed at boating on Lake of the Ozarks and it not only lives up to the subtitle promise, it exceeds it. Articles and information include Fishing, Boat Reviews, Lake Fashion, and Dining on and off the water, places to go, area things to do, lake lore and more. Every page of Shore Magazine offers quality and good-to-know info. Even the advertising, which is exceptionally well done, is enjoyable to browse.
Shore magazine is coffee table quality with high grade printing, spectacular photos and interesting content that will draw your attention to look twice. Get your copy of Shore, grab a coffee or libation, and go directly to your deck, dock or back of the boat. Take a seat, open the magazine, flip thru the pages and move the needle on your relaxing timetable to ON while at the Lake.
Shore is an annual edition magazine. The 2019 edition is ready and will be available at select marina and water locations around the lake for free. You can also get a paid subscription copy sent to your home or business at www.shoreboatingmag.com.
Many years ago during a beautiful spring in the Missouri Ozarks, a good friend of mine, Bob Nelson, invited me to go fishing with him for a fish he called “Jack Salmon”. I had never heard of such a fish so I went along mainly out of curiosity.
He took me north to Stockton Lake and a creek called Turnback. We walked up creek and found this fish with the funny name as they headed upstream to spawn. Casting spinner rigs and spoons the fight was a whole lot of fun in the swift water. We caught our limit and the fish weren’t the only thing hooked that day.
Just when I thought this special day was over and it couldn’t get any better, it did. Bob fileted the fish, started a campfire on a gravel bar, pulled a cast iron skillet from his truck, added some lard, cut up some potatoes and onions, opened a can of beans, covered the filets with cornmeal and cooked up a meal I still remember over 40 years later.
Unless you are as old I am, if you tell someone you are going fishing for Jack Salmon they will probably look at you kind of funny. Today most of us know them as the delicious, fun-to-catch walleye.
When you talk about walleye most fishermen think of the legendary fishing in the Dakota’s, Minnesota, Wisconsin and several of our northeastern states. They might also think of the fabulous walleye fishing on Greer’s Ferry Lake in Arkansas or Old Hickory Lake in Tennessee.
And I, like many of you, have made several trips to fish legendary Canadian lakes for walleye. The next time I go, I’m going to ask them if they have ever heard of a Jack Salmon.
Sometimes I wonder why I ever go out of state after walleye. We have some really good walleye fishing right here at home. In fact, the Missouri state record is 21.1 pounds, caught in 1988 at Bull Shoals Lake by Gerry Partlow. That’s bigger than 90% of the famous walleye states I just mentioned.
Walleye are native to some areas of Missouri and in some waters they naturally reproduce. However, in most of our large and small lakes, and reservoirs as well, as some streams and rivers they have to be stocked to keep up with fishing pressure. The Missouri Department of Conservation started stocking walleyes in the 1970s and now stock 1.2 million a year all over the state.
Lakes that receive walleye stockings include Bilby, Bull Shoals, Jacomo, Lake of the Ozarks, Longview, Long Branch, Mozingo, Norfork, Pomme de Terre, Smithville, Stockton, Table Rock, and Truman. The Mississippi, Black and Current Rivers are also known for good walleye fishing.
During the spring, walleyes will run up rivers and streams that flow into or out of a lake to spawn. Just like they were doing the day Bob Nelson took me fishing for Jack Salmon. They can also be found in areas of lakes with gravel or rip rap where they will also spawn.
Wherever you go walleye fishing in Missouri, make sure you check the season, length and possession limits of the water you are fishing because they can vary.
If you are new to walleye fishing, just realize it won’t be easy. If you’re willing to go without a little sleep, that’s good. Walleye feed actively at night. If you don’t mind bad weather, that’s good too. Walleye will sometimes bite the best when the weather isn’t best.
There are other times you can catch walleye. Early morning, low-light conditions from a half hour before to a few hours after sunrise are also good. I have better luck though, fishing a couple of hours before sunset to right up until dark sets in.
A dark, cloudy day is usually always good because the fish will sometimes feed all day. If it is a bright sunny day they will be at 20 feet or more trying to get away from the sunlight that penetrates the water.
Spoons, crankbaits and plain jigs, or jigs tipped with a minnow or nightcrawler, are good most of the time. Nightcrawlers and leeches work well on slip-sinker rigs. Trolling at 1 to 1.5 mph can also be effective.
Last year on Stockton Lake, my grandson Hunter, granddaughter Anna and I, did exceptionally well catching walleye. We used 1/8 ounce Roadrunners with gray shad bodies and hammered willow leaf silver blades. My son, Daron, caught his walleye with a crappie spinnerbait.
Walleye are usually not going to hit your bait hard. When they take it, you might just feel a hesitation or a little bump and think your bait just ran into something. That hesitation or bump just might be a Missouri Jack Salmon and you better set the hook.
To learn more about Jack Salmon, I mean walleye fishing, in Missouri, go to the Missouri Department of Conservation web site and search for walleye.
Ozarks Attractions Abound Above and Beneath the Water, and Below the Ground Too
Leaving Alhonna Resort on the shores of Lake of the Ozarks was bittersweet. We felt we had only scratched the surface and we begged for more as we pulled away in our Chevy Tahoe. The Tahoe was made for this terrain. Every driveway seemed perpendicular along the lake, dealing with the tops of the hills that now surrounded the lake after the valleys below were flooded back in 1931. We were driving the 2016 LTZ version, a perfect fit for two couples with lots of luggage. Of course, with a third seat in the back, it’s also a great vehicle for the family. The 5.3 Liter V-8 VVT with direct injection and cylinder deactivation gave us the power we needed. We could have trailered up to 8,600 pounds had we wanted to, and the next trip we just might have a pontoon boat, fully loaded!
Our first stop for the morning was a breakfast that legends are made of. Kyle Stewart (no relation) who had put together an itinerary for us, recommended a place in Lake Ozark called Stewart’s. We were told to order their famous cinnamon rolls, as big as a “catcher’s mitt.” Sandy and I ordered one to split; Joe and Laurie Calvert split one as well. No exaggeration, they were bigger than a catcher’s mitt! More like a soccer ball! And they were delicious. I also ordered their famous pork tenderloin smothered in gravy (if my doctor is reading this, I did have plenty of exercise to work it off as you will read about). It covered the plate. Not your standard dinner plates, one of the big oval ones! Hash browns and toast rounded out the monster platter. Yes, I’m a food guy and I appreciate quality.
As we stuffed ourselves back into the Tahoe, we realized we wouldn’t need lunch. The next part of the lake we would visit was the area in and around Camdenton. The first attraction we came to was Bridal Cave (www.bridalcave.com), one of the largest caves in the state. Missouri has a wealth of caves and caverns, hitting the 7,000 mark just recently. When it’s all said and done, the Show-Me State will be number one when it comes to overall numbers within Missouri boundaries. This cave was cool – literally and figuratively. Calcite deposits with stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws and so much more mesmerized the folks on the tour. There was a connection with Western New York where they announced the “Frozen Niagara” calcite formation. More than 2,500 couples have been married in Bridal Cave or renewed their vows – another connection with the Honeymoon Capital. This is a must see for the entire family.
Geologically speaking, Missouri is littered with “karst” topography, a landscape that is filled with sinkholes, caves, natural bridges, large springs and underground streams. Many of the caves in the state can be found on private land. However, there are many on public land, too. For example, nearby Ha Ha Tonka State Park – recently named by USA Today readers as the fourth best state park in the country – has 19 caves recorded within its boundaries so far (www.mostateparks.com). It was a beautiful park and we even hiked up a castle trail that took us up to old ruins on a bluff overlooking the Niangua arm of Lake of the Ozarks, a spot we would be fishing the next morning.
When we stopped into the Visitors Center at Ha Ha Tonka, we immediately found out that there is no admission fee into any of the state parks in Missouri, thanks to a dedicated funding source (with the exception of camping sites). The public land was just that, for the public to use. What a novel idea! With 88 parks in the state, they will be celebrating a milestone next year (2017) – 100 years of the state’s natural and cultural attractions. Pick up a copy of the state’s Parks Centennial Passport. Earn a stamp by visiting each of those parks and the first 1,000 people receive a prize. Five grand prizes will be up for grabs, too. Last year, some 19 million people visited Missouri parks (www.mostateparks.com).
Next stop was our accommodations for the evening – Old Kinderhook (www.oldkinderhook.com). If you are looking for quality in the way of lodging, golf, fishing and dining options, this facility was top notch. The golf course is ranked second in the state and our fishing guide was none other than Casey Scanlon, a Bassmaster Elite Series Pro who lives on the lake. If you want to treat yourself to something special, this place was amazing – really! After checking in, we enjoyed one of the best meals we’ve had in a long, long time in the Trophy Room – fine dining at its best. Accolades came pouring out after that meal from all four of us.
Bright and early the next morning, Scanlon picked Joe and me up at sunrise to fish the lake. This is his home waters and he won the Bassmaster Open on nearby Table Rock Lake a few years ago. Originally from Kansas City, he’s been fishing the Elite Series for five years now. In fact, he had just returned from the Elite Series event on Cayuga Lake in New York in June – just a couple hours from where I live.
“This is a great body of water to fish,” said Scanlon, as he reeled in his first fish, a largemouth, just five minutes into the trip. For this time of year, large rubber worms on a jig head was a favorite enticement. “The lake is over 90 miles long, great for largemouth and spotted bass. My favorite time is November and December when spinnerbaits and top waters work the best. April and May is also excellent when suspended jerk baits will dominate as a favorite technique. To give you an idea about how this lake fishes, it consistently takes 20 pounds or more per day to win a tournament here. There are lots of three and four pounders here and you can catch fish up to and over 10 pounds. In fact, two 10 pounders have been weighed in already this year. Fishing has really been great this season because of the added water flow coming through the system due to the heavy rains earlier.”
Almost on cue, Calvert’s rod doubled over and he fought a monster under Scanlon’s Nitro Bass Boat. When it finally came to net, it was over four pounds – Joe’s personal best. After a couple of quick pictures, we released the fish to fight another day.
Primary forage in the lake for these bass is gizzard shad and is the preferred food source. There are also threadfin shad. An underrated fish in these waters is walleye … and no one fishes for them. If someone came in here and targeted walleye, the potential is very good. Night fishing could be a way to approach old marble eye, but there may be some competition. Because the lake has turned into a recreational playground for watercraft during the middle part of the day, some bass tournaments are now being held at night to deal with the mid-day turbulence and to battle the summer heat. Heat index during the hottest part of the day would hit over 100 degrees and one day it hit 108. It didn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves though.
Back to the hotel for breakfast and check-out. Again, we didn’t want to leave. Next stop on our Ozarks experience was Holiday Shores Resort (www.holidayshoresresort.com), another quality experience but entirely different from the other two accommodations we sampled. Owner Lori Piedt runs an excellent operation, featuring 26 cottages overlooking the lake at Osage Beach. Again, the facility was well equipped as a one stop shop for families to enjoy the waters of the lake or relax in the uniquely-shaped cottages. Every cottage has an outside deck with a grill and one night we cooked up burgers as the sun set. What a relaxing time.
Holiday Shores offers visitors the opportunity to rent one of its 20 covered and fully electric boat slip at a nominal price. There is a boat launch available for guests if you bring your own boat or jet ski. They also rent paddleboards, paddleboats and chill rafts. There is a swimming pool or you can take advantage of a swim dock in the lake. Our last part of the trip will wind down next week with a personal best largemouth bass! Check out the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau’s website at www.FunLake.com; 1-800-FUN-LAKE.