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John Neporadny Jr.

Lake of the Ozarks Cold Topwater Fishing

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Topwaters have long been considered lures for fishing in warm water, but a Lake of the Ozarks pro knows surface lures will trick bass—especially big bass—when the water temperatures are chilly. Whether it’s springtime when the water struggles to reach 60 degrees or fall when the water temperatures plunge into the 50s, a lure moving slowly across the surface is an easy target for even listless Lake of the Ozarks bass.

So when bass are shallow in chilly water, a topwater lure remains a viable option.  FLW Tour pro and Lake of the Ozarks guide Casey Scanlon throws a Heddon Zara Spook One Knocker or a Reaction Innovations Vixen in the spring when the water temperature climbs into the upper 50s and he starts seeing bass cruise the shallows of the spawning areas.  He sticks with the same plugs in the fall when the water is even colder.  

“As opposed to the spring when the bass are still heating up, the fish are still active in the fall so when that water temperature starts dropping it seems like their activity level is still higher,” Scanlon says. “So I have caught them (on Spooks) in upper 40 water temperatures.”

The local guide favors the versatility of a topwater walker in cold-water situations.  “You can start it and stop it and fish it however fast you want,” Scanlon says. “You can also make it almost walk in place to where you don’t have to move the bait very far but it still has a lot of action. The other thing I like about it is when a bass misses it, if you resist the urge to jerk on the lure then, a lot of times they will come back and get on it.” 

A steady retrieve works best for Scanlon walking the surface plug in chilly Lake of the Ozarks waters. “In the springtime I twitch it slower but I keep a steady walk towards me,” he says.  “In the fall I will fish it more erratically where I will twitch it real fast then slow it down for a few walks, the n twitch it real fast so it almost makes the lure  break cadence and kind of come out of the water like a shad fleeing.”

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.  

For copies of John Neporadny’s THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Guide call 573/365-4296 or visit www.jnoutdoors.com.


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