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The Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Missouri

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Guide to fishing for spotted, smallmouth and largemouth bass in Missouri lakes.

Bass fishing lures

Bass are one of the most sought after of all the game fish. Its appeal spans cultures, age groups and genders to tap on the heart strings of anglers everywhere. Visit the Bass Knowledge Center for valuable information about bass and bass fishing. Join us in our endeavor to offer information about bass fishing.

Missouri is a haven for bass fishing enthusiasts, offering abundant populations of largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass across its numerous lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Largemouth bass are highly sought after and can be found in both natural and man-made bodies of water throughout the state. They are known for their aggressive strikes and powerful fights, making them a favorite among anglers. Many anglers target largemouth bass in spring and early summer when they are actively feeding in shallow waters near cover such as vegetation, fallen trees, or submerged structures.

Smallmouth bass, on the other hand, prefer clear, rocky waters and are typically found in the Ozark streams and rivers of southern Missouri. They are known for their tenacity and hard-fighting nature, making them a popular game fish. Anglers often use various lures and techniques, such as crankbaits, jerkbaits, or topwater lures, to entice smallmouth bass. Late spring and early fall are considered prime times to target smallmouth bass when water temperatures are cooler, and they are more active.

Spotted bass, also known as Kentucky bass, can be found in several Missouri reservoirs and rivers. They closely resemble largemouth bass but have distinct spots on their lower sides. Spotted bass are known for their voracious appetites and aggressive strikes. Anglers target them using similar techniques as largemouth and smallmouth bass, focusing on rocky areas, submerged structures, or areas with current. Spotted bass fishing can be productive year-round, but the spring and fall seasons tend to yield the best results.

Missouri's diverse bass fishery, with its variety of species and angling opportunities, attracts bass anglers from near and far. Whether you're casting for largemouth, targeting smallmouth in scenic rivers, or seeking out the feisty spotted bass in reservoirs, Missouri offers plenty of options for bass fishing enthusiasts to enjoy their pursuit of these popular game fish.

Bass Fishing Lakes In MO

It might be hard to find water in Missouri without at least a few bass. Ideal location and long growing seasons make MO a bass factory. Most rivers, ponds and lakes contain bass. Major lakes including Bull Shoals Lake, Harry S. Truman Reservoir, Lake of The Ozarks, Long Branch Lake, Mark Twain Lake, Mozingo Lake, Pomme de Terre Lake, Smithville Reservoir, Stockton Lake, Table Rock Lake, Atkinson Lake, Bean Lake, Big Lake, Blue Springs Lake, Clearwater Lake, Council Bluff Lake, Fellows Lake, Forest Lake, Lake Jacomo, Lake Springfield, Lake Taneycomo, Lake Wappapello, Long Branch Lake, Longview Lake, McDaniel Lake, Montrose Lake, Mozingo Lake, Thomas Hill Reservoir and many others all have excellent populations of bass. Many of these lakes support one or more of the state species - spotted, smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Missouri

Bass In Missouri

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 13 lbs 14 oz

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 2 oz

Spotted Bass

Spotted bass

World record: 9 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 8 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Top 5 Bass Fishing Lures For Missouri

When bass are shallow, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and top water lures are the most productive. As they move deeper, worms and jigs are among the top producers.

The state record largemouth bass was caught from Bull Shoals Lake.

The state record smallmouth bass came from Stockton Lake.

The state record spotted bass came from Table Rock Lake.

Missouri Bass - Howard Wright

Whether you are a novice, seasoned fisherman or a professional bass angler, MO has plenty of opportunities to catch both quality and quantities of spots, smallies and big mouth bass.

Bass fishing basics video.

Understanding the primary seasonal movements of smallmouth bass and largemouth bass is key to locating them on local lakes in the Show Me State.

Bass fishing book

Catch big bass!


Bass fishing information by state.

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The lifecycle of bass

The more you know about the seasonal migration of bass, the more likely you are to be looking in the right area next time you visit Missouri bass fishing lakes. Visit the bass fishing page for more in-depth information about bass activities.