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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Truman Lake attracts anglers across Missouri

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A rig that catches summer crappie is a jig head tipped with a minnow.
Some 12 years ago, David Teegarden had been making so many trips from the Kansas City area to fish on Truman Lake that he and his mother decided to build a home near the lake. They settled on a six-acre plot in the town of Racket, which is close to the lake, and since that day, they have been happy with their decision to move and have pulled a lot of fish from the lake.

Since they have been living close to the lake, Teegarden and his mother are able to keep track of the movements of the fish. Recently, they have found plenty of fish in the lake.

Teegarden said, "We like Truman because of the variety of fish it holds, from catfish to crappie. It has a lot of timber that holds fish and you can usually catch crappie, most any time of the year.

David Teegarden with the first crappie of the day.
"The crappie we catch in the summer are usually around standing or submerged timber. By fishing with minnows and fish, vertically to keep from getting hooked up, works well.

"Nearly every tree will hold some crappie. You might have to move around and hit each stickup and if you only catch a couple of fish, move to another tree. If you fish (around) enough trees, you can get your limit of crappie over 9 inches long. That pattern is normally the best way to catch crappie in the summer (at Truman Lake)."

Some of the largest crappie of the year are caught in the month of August. Keeping on the move works best at this time of the year.

Last week, Teegarden and I tried the crappie fishing at Truman Lake, right after a big crappie fishing tournament. By using the method mentioned above, we started catching fish.

At the first stop and on the first cast, Teegarden hooked a big crappie, followed by another. After several more casts and no more fish, he said it was time to move on to another tree. By hitting many of the trees in the cove, we had 10 nice fish in the livewell.

Crappie aren't the only fish Teegarden catches in Truman Lake, though. He also caught a 16-pound catfish on a rod and reel, a lot of 2-pound crappie and walleye up to 6 pounds. Even the bluegill fishing can be great.

The Truman Lake angler said, "By fishing the outside row of trees in the lake and using a long pole -- I use a pole 10 feet long -- and by using a jig tipped with a minnow, you fish straight down in the brush. Using this method you don't lose too many jigs."

Although Teegarden built a home near the lake 12 years ago, he has fished Truman for around 25 years, with good results. Not only does he catch his share of fish, he also often bags wild turkey around the lake.

"There are a lot of turkeys around Truman and the hunting can be very good each spring," he said. "Another bonus of being close to the lake is finding morel mushrooms in the spring. Last April, we found bushels of them."

Teegarden doesn't limit his fishing just to Truman Lake, though. He also fishes Stockton Lake a lot because of the good crappie and walleye that lake affords an angler.

"I have fished Table Rock and Taneycomo and caught fish, but since I know Truman so well, it is easier to find the fish," he said. "With all the standing timber and brush, it is one of the best crappie lakes in Missouri.

"Spring spawning fish can be great. There are places where you might catch dozens of crappie without moving very far. Winter crappie fishing is also good."

The 55,000-acre Truman Lake is roughly 90 minutes north of Springfield and has a lot of followers who catch their share of fish there.

Dan Bennett is a former Springfield resident who moved to Warsaw because of the good crappie fishing.

"On my first trip to fish Truman, I caught a limit of 15 crappie in less than an hour and I was hooked on the good fishing," He said. "Since then, after I retired, I fish the lake more than 150 days a year."

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Ken White
Outdoor Living