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Catching Lake of the Ozarks bass in September

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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 aggressive feeders. So Lake of the Ozarks anglers should “go with the flow” for the best bass action at the lake during early fall.

When September arrives, veteran tournament angler Mike Malone starts running up the Osage arm of the lake to catch bass. 

“Those fish are moving at that time and the baitfish are moving and bass get predominantly on those mud flats (on the upper Osage arm),” he says.  “If you can figure out what area of that upper reach is on you are going to catch a bunch.”

The Lake Ozark angler keys on the main lake flats rather than back in the creeks because current is more predominant there. “There is usually a two- to three-hour window where they turn on the water (at Truman Dam),” Malone says.  “As long as there is movement to the water, those fish get positioned and are very predictable as to where they are going to be and how to catch them.”

Malone usually finds bass around boat docks where the fish remain less than 4 feet deep. “I have a milk run where I might hit 30 to 40 docks up there starting at about Proctor Creek all the way up to the 88-mile marker,” he says.  “Sometimes the fish are on the outside ends of the docks.  If they are not running current the fish might be on the backs of the docks.”

Malone’s favorite lures for throwing around the docks include a black/red flake flipping tube, black/chartreuse jig with blue plastic chunk, a 1/2-ounce white/chartreuse spinnerbait and black/chartreuse wake bait.   

Anglers unfamiliar with this section need to be cautious while navigating the upper lake because it contains lots of shallow mud flats on the main lake and in coves.  “It’s not an area where you want to go fast if you don’t know where you are going,” Malone says.  He recommends using good electronics and mapping to navigate safely in this section of the lake.

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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You nailed it when you said be careful navigating this area.  I weekend live around MM81 and cringe when I see guys driving fast.  The flats change in size regularly also.  The navigation maps have been know to make mistakes in this area.

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I've seen plenty of boats stuck and blowing mud on the point by the 64mm and on the big flat just above Rebel Harbor at the 60mm. If it weren't for me running a jet last year, I would have been one of them around the 63mm. Wasn't paying attention to my mapping and got over too far and my buddy started asking why the water in my jet wash was so brown. 😆 Oops!

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The local Elks lodge used to do a annual pontoon float where they would all load up on about 60-80 pontoons and convoy to Truman dam and back.    It was always a nightmare.  

Nothing worse than a dozen or more pontoons full of old women that all have to pee, stuck on a mud flat.  

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We hit Brown in a cove on Pickwick last winter while wearing bibs to keep warm. The creek that runs in had blew a big gravel bar in the channel we normally run. I saw the pebbles poking thru the top of the water before I alerted the captain. We beached it good and got wet getting it off.  Fun afternoon

"Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously."

Hunter S. Thompson

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