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John Neporadny Jr.

Family Fishing Vacation at Lake of the Ozarks

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When I was a kid, I always cherished our summer fishing trips more than any of our other family vacation excursions.

When I moved from St. Louis to Lake of the Ozarks with my own family, we spent a lot of our summers at home where my daughters learned to fish, swim and water ski. We also visited most of the local attractions including Big Surf water park, HaHaTonkaState Park, the Bagnell Dam Strip and BridalCave.

So I have spent a lot of family fishing outings at one of the best lakes in the state, which can also be a great family-friendly vacation destination.

Heavy recreational boat traffic makes fishing tough on my home lake during the summer, but families can still catch plenty of fish if they pick the right times and locations.

When I guided on the lake, I would usually take my clients out bass fishing early in the morning and try to get off the water before . In June, we would catch keeper bass and plenty of sub-legal fish on Texas-rigged plastic worms, medium-diving crankbaits, topwater chuggers and Carolina-rigged plastic lizards.  I would usually start out on the main lake points in the early morning and as the boat traffic increased I would head for the backs of the major coves and have my clients work plastic worms through the brush piles around docks.

Catfish provide plenty of action for families on vacation at Lake of the Ozarks. Blue and channel catfish can be taken on juglines, trotlines or drifting with cut shad or tight lining from the resort docks with stink baits, nightcrawlers or chicken livers.

Kids can catch bluegill and green sunfish all day long off the resort docks or seawalls. Attaching a small bobber to their lines and baiting their hooks with red wigglers, crickets or even pieces of bread or hot dogs will keep the kids busy until they get tired of catching fish. 

Resort owners usually sink brush piles around their docks, which makes these spots ideal for catching crappie at night under the lights. Minnows and jigs are all a family needs to catch some nighttime crappie in June.

The lake area offers families plenty of amenities and attractions when they come off the water. Popular activities at the lake include visiting Big Surf water park, Miner Mike’s Indoor Family Fun Center, HaHa Tonka State Park, Bridal Cave and the Bagnell Dam Strip or shopping at the Osage Beach Premium Outlets mall.

For information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks or to receive a free vacation guide, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE or visit the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitors Bureau web site at funlake.com.  

Copies of John Neporadny's book, "THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide" are
available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web site www.jnoutdoors.com.

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