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John Neporadny Jr.

Fishing Buddy
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About John Neporadny Jr.

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  1. Lake of the Ozarks showcases its superb bass fishing each year during national, regional and local bass tournaments. While he had not been on the Lake of the Ozarks for more than a decade, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Mike McClelland said he was reminded of how much fun it was to fish there when he recently competed in the Missouri Invitational Fishing and Golf Championship at the lake. The Buena Vista, Ark., pro honed his skills fishing tournaments at Ozark highland reservoirs, including Lake of the Ozarks. The northernmost reservoir in the Ozark foothills has some similarities
  2. While other Missouri lakes have up and down years of bass fishing, Lake of the Ozarks experiences good bass fishing every year. Stable water conditions and good shad production create good bass fishing year after year at this Central Missouri Lake. “There is really not a lot of variation from year to year so our (bass) spawning is pretty consistent,” says MDC Fisheries Biologist Greg Stoner. “It looks like we have a slug of fish that is coming on just below the length limit in that 12- to 14-inch range and I expect fishing to be better.” There is an abundance of keeper siz
  3. The 10-mile Gravois arm is one of the oldest developed sections of the Lake of the Ozarks so its shoreline is dotted with boat docks. Whereas other sections have more docks for yachts and off-shore racing boats, the Gravois features more docks owned by fishermen who sink plenty of brush piles to attract bass and crappie. Fed by the gin-clear waters of the Gravois, Little Gravois, Spring Branch, Soap, Indian and Mill creeks, this arm usually remains one of the clearest sections of the lake throughout the year. The upper end turns murky quickly from rain runoff, but the flow from
  4. The passage of cold fronts can be a tough time to catch bass, but Brian Maloney believes this situation negatively affects anglers more than bass. “You are freezing your tail off and you are thinking it is killing the fish, but you have to remember that those fish are already in their winter mode,” Maloney says. “Their metabolism is already shut down. So in the wintertime just don’t get wrapped up in what the front is doing. I think that is more the front messing with the fisherman than it is messing with the fish.” The former Bass Fishing League All-American champion notices cold
  5. Lake of the Ozarks bass in November are on the move from the shallow foraging areas to their deep wintertime haunts. During their migration bass seek out some fast food spots where they can chow down on baitfish. These fast food spots are usually some type of cover found throughout the lake. Bass use the cover as rest stops and ambush points to nab a quick meal before heading out to their winter homes. Savvy bass anglers at the lake look for these hotspots to pinpoint migrating bass during late fall/early winter. Rocks are one of the best hotspots for finding bass in November at
  6. Getting a different perspective on how to fish your home waters can keep you from becoming stuck in a rut. I have a bad habit of fishing the same old way and the same old spots on my home waters of Lake of the Ozarks, so when the Missouri Outdoor Communicators (MOC) met at the lake in early September and had a guide trip set up for MOC members I jumped at the opportunity. Even though I have fished the lake for more than 30 years I know I can always learn something from another local expert, especially one who gets to spend more time on the water than I do. During the pre-conferenc
  7. Lake of the Ozarks bass anglers need to “go with the flow” to get in on the best fishing action during September. By September, the summer heat has generated bath-water temperatures and depleted oxygen levels in the shallows of lakes and ponds throughout the state. These conditions make for some tough fishing during the month, but anglers can still catch plenty of fish at Lake of the Ozarks by seeking waters with plenty of current. When fishing the headwaters of the lake, bass anglers will discover the current in these waters create a cool, oxygen-rich environment that makes bass more
  8. Schooling bass show up just about anywhere during the summer at Lake of the Ozarks. You can usually find them surfacing near some type of point, channel or other areas that are close to deep water. There doesn't seem to be any particular time when these fish show up on the surface, so I always keep a rod rigged specifically for schooling bass. If you notice schooling fish surface one day at 10 a.m., chances are they will come up the next day at the same time and location. That isn’t always true, but it's usually a pretty good way to predict when schooling fish will surface.
  9. When crappie settle into the wide-open expanses of deep water during the summer, Lake of the Ozarks guide Terry Blankenship relies on his Humminbird 360 imaging system to pinpoint the fish. The guide mainly vertical jigs along bluffs and ledges or shoots docks for Lake of the Ozarks crappie in the summertime. HTre previously used side-imaging technology to find crappie in deep water, but now he favors the following advantages of the 360 viewing over side imaging. *Front viewing: “When you have side imaging you just scan whatever is in that scan line,” Blankenship said. “Most o
  10. Boat docks are high priority targets for Casey Scanlon whenever he practices for a tournament at Lake of the Ozarks. Scanlon admits targeting docks gives him confidence, especially since he guides on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, the 54,000-acre reservoir loaded with countless docks. So it is a given that the first piece of cover Scanlon checks out in practice will be a dock. Throughout his pro career, Scanlon has fished all sorts of docks ranging from the stationary wooden piers to floating structures secured with steel cables. Scanlon mainly fishes the floating-style boat ho
  11. After bass go through the rigors of spawning, there is no rest for the weary fish as they make the trek to their summertime haunts on Lake of the Ozarks. When bass leave the spawning nests, male bass usually stay in the shallows for a while to protect fry while the females start on the migration route to deeper water. Eventually all the bass will travel the same route to their summer homes so the key to catching postspawn bass is intercepting them during this transition stage at Lake of the Ozarks. Fishing can be fantastic during this time because after a couple of weeks of fas
  12. When pollen coats the water surface of Lake of the Ozarks, Mike Malone knows it’s time to throw a floating worm. The pollen coating on the surface signifies bass are bedding on Malone’s home lake, but the tournament veteran suggests you can use other signs of spring in your region to determine when bass are spawning. When the spawn is on, Malone opts for the floating worm, a finesse bait that has produced for him for 20 years. “It’s a stealthy, finesse bait that doesn’t make a lot of noise when it hits the water,” he says. “You are able to skip it under cover such as boat dock r
  13. The spring crappie fishing outlook should be good to excellent whether you decide to dunk a minnow or pitch a jig at Lake of the Ozarks. Crappie abound throughout the lake and springtime crappie fishing heats up in early March and continues to excel on some parts of the lake until almost Memorial Day. Lake levels remain fairly constant throughout the years at Lake of the Ozarks so crappie reproduction is pretty consistent most years. Warm spells of two to three days in February can trigger some good shallow-water action, according to guide Terry Blankenship. “One of the
  14. Most winters lately in this area have been mild with Lake of the Ozarks remaining nearly ice-free allowing anglers to fish throughout the winter. However during the coldest winters, ice buildup limits access to the lake and anglers have to wait for a thaw to get back on the water. When “ice-out” occurs, you might have to break through a thin layer of ice at the boat ramp or to get to a sweet spot, but it will be worth the trouble because you’ll have your best chance to catch some of the biggest bass of the year. During most winters on this lake, the ice starts thawing and break
  15. Knowing the plans for preventing floods in the spring can improve your chances of catching wintertime bass on Lake of the Ozarks. AmerenMissouri annually draws down lake levels during the winter to prevent flooding in the spring, so Lake of the Ozarks anglers must adapt to the falling water to catch bass. A typical winter drawdowns usually leads to three phases that anglers must adjust to in order to keep track of bass throughout the winter and early spring. Phase One occurs when the drawdown begins and bass move from the shallows to deeper sanctuaries. Next comes Phase Two when
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