1. Bull Shoals Lake Fishing Report 3-17-15
    The warming trend we’ve been experiencing the last week has had a positive influence on Bull Shoals. The surface temperature ...more in the mid lake area (point 24) has come up several degrees in the main lake from 40 to 47 degrees. The lake elevation is at 657.27 and is about three feet from just a week ago. White bass are starting to make their way up the larger creek arms in search of warmer water and can be found in depths of 2 to 5 feet. East Sugar Loaf Creek near Lead Hill has a few white bass starting to show, however it is running a little muddy since the last rain. With more rain in the forecast, I would assume it will stay that way for the next few days. Shoal Creek is running very clear and has white bass moving in during the afternoons when the water warms. Make sure to have the White River Border Lakes License (WRL $10.00) with you, as the lake crosses over to the MO side when you get into the upper reaches of this major creek arm. Red and white jigs and Road Runners are working well on these early fish.
    Walleyes are also moving through the creek arms, some are spawning and others have already finished and will start moving onto secondary points and banks. Trolling Walleye Divers and deep running Smithwicks in 20 feet of water should start to produce fish.
    Smallmouth Bass seem to be the most enthusiastic about the warmer water and are moving into the fingers of smaller bays which are not too far from the main lake. Nice catches of fish are coming from the 8 to 30 foot range in the evenings. Largemouth bass, spotted bass and smallmouths are also moving to very shallow water right before dark to feed on small crayfish. Look for them in 2 to 4 feet of water on gentle sloping secondary points with brush cover and water temperature over 55 degrees. However, they are moving out again during the night when the water cools off. The best morning locations are main lake points in the 8 to 15 foot range.
    Cribs and brush piles located in bays and fingers near the main lake will also be holding spotted bass and crappies and should not be over looked. However, if you don’t see action after 15 or 20 minutes move on to other lake structure and return later.
    The main thing to keep in mind this time of year is to keep moving and searching. Spots that are hot in the evening may produce nothing in the mornings. The fish are just starting to make their moves from the main lake and are quick to return to in when the water cools off.

    1. http://kenminskyslochleven.com/blog/
  2. I saw you made a mark on Yellowstone Lake. Have you fished it much? I'm trying to gather info on fishing there for Lake Trout. However it seems very few fish ...more it.

  3. Fall Turnover
    Fact, Fiction, or Superfluous Trumpeting?
    Seems every year in the first week of October I start to field questions regarding fall turnover on Bull ...more Shoals Lake. I also start seeing lake and river fishing reports touting the ill effects it has on not only the lake fishing but the river fishing as well. It almost seems there is a prize of some kind to be the first to mention it! Perhaps I can shed some light on what the phenomena actually is, if, and when it may actually happen, and what effects it has on lake and river fishing.
    First, there is no shortage of information available on the internet regarding fall turnover. One simply has to do a quick Google search and you’ll have enough fireside reading for several evenings.
    So what is Fall Turnover? Simply put, it is the mixing of the stratified layers of lake water formed throughout the spring and summer. You see, not all the water in the lake actually weighs the same. It varies slightly throughout the year depending on depth, temperature, and time of year.
    In the very early spring, the lake water from surface to bottom is rather uniform in temperature, varying only slightly from surface to bottom. However, (due mainly to solar radiation) the surface of a body of water will start to warm. Warm water, being less dense and usually more oxygenated, weighs less than cooler, denser, less oxygenated water. As the spring wears on and turns to summer, the surface water continues to warm to deeper and deeper depths. Lake depth, water clarity, and wave action will determine how deep the solar warming will be driven into any given body of water.
    Small, very shallow ponds may actually warm evenly from top to bottom, many times becoming too warm to support fish. Larger, deeper bodies of water will develop three distinct layers of water of different weights and densities, sometimes referred to as Stratification Zones. The upper level (the warmest and most oxygenated) is the Epilimnion. The coolest, deepest, (and least oxygenated) level is the Hypolimnion, and the middle layer is what is commonly referred to as, the Thermocline. We’ve all heard of that one right?
    The thermocline can usually be easily identified by taking water temperature readings every few feet throughout the water column. When you note a rapid change in water temperature, that is usually the top of the thermocline and may be as wide as ten to fifteen feet. The water throughout the thermocline may become so dense that you can actually see it as a dark line on your sonar unit!
    The lake will stay in this stratified state until the hours of daylight (and solar radiation) begin to decrease causing the surface to become cooler. Finally, the surface water will cool to the point that it becomes denser (heavier) than the supporting water below it and actually sink through the water column mixing all three layers into a more uniform state. This mixing of the water is what is commonly referred to as the Fall Turnover.
    By now I’m sure you’re thinking; ok that’s all fine and good. But, at what temperature does all of this sinking, mixing, and turning over actually take place, and has it happened yet or not?
    Good question, precisely the one that inspired me to write this article in the first place. The general consensus is the surface water needs to drop to approximately 50 degrees. Some documentation suggests the mid forties and others say perhaps as high as 55 degrees.
    With that in mind, I set out yesterday (October7th) to see if, in fact the lake has indeed “turned over” or whether the low dissolved oxygen level and off colored water coming through the dam that I have been reading about may be caused by something else.
    To accurately gather the date required, I popped a fresh battery in my temperature meter and went to the mid lake area near point #24 and stopped in the deepest water I could find, approximately 118 feet. I then attached my temperature probe to a 10lb cannonball on my downrigger (to eliminate cable swing) and started to pay out line and rigger cable, taking readings every five feet. The chart below details my findings.
    Depth (feet) Temperature (F) Depth (feet) Temperature (F)
    Surface 73 60 61
    5 feet 72 65 60
    10 feet 71 70 60
    15 71 75 59
    20 70 80 58
    25 70 85 58
    30 70 90 56
    35 70 95 55
    40 70 100 53
    45 69 105 53
    50 63 110 51
    55 62 115 51

    As you can see from the table, I could have stopped my data collection after taking the surface temperature. If the lake had indeed “turned over” we certainly would not see a surface temperature of 73 degrees! One would surmise the surface would be 55 degrees or less. It is also interesting to note that there is a defined Thermocline starting at the 40ft to 50ft level as evidenced by the sharp decrease in water temperature between those depths.
    It is very evident that Bull Shoals Lake has not yet turned over. To address the question as to whether it will turn over and when? I perused my fishing logs for the past 17 years and found that the earliest I have noted surface temperatures near the magic 50 to 55 degree level has been mid December. Therefore, I would assume that it will in fact turn over sometime in mid to late December, depending on weather and wind conditions.

    Now to address why the reports of low dissolved oxygen levels and off color water showing up below the dam? I would suggest the reason has nothing to do with turnover as is so often reported as the cause. In fact, I would dare say, it is the exact opposite. It is because the lake has NOT turned over. The evidence being that low dissolved oxygen levels are associated with the deeper denser water in the water column. It is also important to note that the centerline of the water intakes on Bull Shoals Lake are located at 535 feet, approximately 119 feet below the current lake surface level. With those facts in mind, the water coming through the dam by generation is water that is clearly well below the Thermocline. The water at that level is expected to be of low dissolved oxygen and somewhat off colored due to the natural decomposing of organic organisms within the lake at this time of year.
    It is also important to note that in several more weeks when the lake actually does “turnover” one could expect to see an increase in debris particles coming through the dam due to the mixing of the layers. However, this will be short lived, and will also be followed by an increase in dissolved oxygen levels, due to the mixing of the stratified water layers, so that’s good news!

    As to what effect the turnover will have on fly fisherman fishing Bull Shoals Lake in mid December? I would say little to none. At this point in time, the lake temperature is already fairly consistent throughout the first 40 feet of the water column, dropping only 4 degrees, from 73 to 69 degrees. Fish that were previously holding near the cooler water of the thermocline are now free to roam throughout the upper lake levels. By the time the turnover actually happens, the water will have gradually cooled to the mid 50’s, so any temperature change will not be enough to disrupt the fish. However, one should note that not all lakes behave the same during turnover. Some lakes will experience a more dramatic turnover, depending on latitude, depth, size, and weed growth. Some shallower lakes with lots of dead weeds may see the weed matter rise to the surface during turnover, producing debris and possibly a foul smell, which may last for a few days. On those types of lakes, it is not uncommon for anglers to experience a change in fish behavior for a short period of time.

  4. Bull Shoals Lake Fishing Report 7-2-14
    I think it’s fair to say the dog days of summer are upon us. Meaning, I don’t expect lots of change from week to week in ...more the foreseeable future. The water continues to warm and the fish are relating to the thermocline. Early mornings, evenings and after dark are going to be the best times to catch walleyes moving to shallower water. Primary points and structure along bluffs will produce the best chances to catch a bite during the day. Getting bait to their depth zone of 35 plus feet and keeping it there is paramount to triggering a strike. Jigs, trolling lead core line and down riggers will certainly help getting bait to those depths. Try flats and break lines along flats as well as primary points during the evening and early morning hours. Look for smallmouth’s in 6 to 12 foot depths along bluffs during twilight hours as well as shaded areas during the day. Crappies are hitting near deeper brush piles in 35 to 45 feet of water. Spotted bass and largemouth bass are working shad near the surface along bluffs and primary points in the mornings and evenings, however, you’ll have do chase them around a bit with the electric motor to stay with them. Trotlines along the main lake have been hit and miss the last week, mostly miss, so expect to move them a time or two until you find a location producing a consistent catch.

  5. Fish are on the move again on Bull Shoals Lake, to deeper water, that is. As the water continues to warm past the mid seventies, the thermocline will continue to ...more develop, and become more defined. The more defined it becomes, the more fish will relate to it. Focus your attention to main lake points and structure and deeper secondary points and structure. Walleyes continue to hit well on slow moving jigs at 25 to 35 foot depths over structure 40 to 60 foot deep. Smaller size, white, white and pink and white and green are producing the best. White bass are hitting the same presentation and can be found at the same locations as walleyes, however preferring a faster retrieve. You’ll know when you’re in a school of whites when you are experiencing hits to the lure but not getting a hook-up. Whites love to slap at baits, when this occurs, speed things up to trigger the strike! Spotted bass have also moved deeper and are taking baits fished near the bottom of main lake structure. This year’s sharp decline in both threadfin and gizzard shad has put more pressure on crawfish as a food source. Consequently, expect spotted, largemouth and smallmouth bass to be near bottom foraging for crayfish. Crappies can be found over brush piles at 25 to 35 foot depths as well as relating to main lake structure. Catfish continue to hit well on trotlines set in creek arms and main lake cuts.

    1. Richy Laughery 0
      good through report, thanks
  6. Who says fly rods are just for trout!!!

    Common Carp with a Size 10 fly

    1. Jimmy McDaniel 0
      NOT I KEN
  7. MO fish attractor locations is http://mdc.mo.gov/fishing/places-fish/fish-attractors-map if anyone can figure out how to open the zip file it is in please let ...more me know!

    1. no virus, but I don't have EasyGPS so I'll download it it it's free,,,,thanks
    2. Michael Beda 0
      Key, you might have a virus on your PC/Laptop. I just downloaded the zip file and was able to view it on my laptop using EasyGPS.
    3. View full conversation
  8. It seems like anglers everywhere are always trying to get an edge to help them find more fish.

    The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) has a great tool to ...more help with that!!
    Many folks have yet to find the AGFC GIS Viewer, which has the GPS location of all the fish attractors placed by the commission. It is available at gis.agfc.com and has a map of the entire state, it allows the viewer to pan to their favorite fishing hole and see the locations.

    To top that off they also have a GPX file that you can download to your home computer and then to an SD disk to download into your favorite GPS equipped fish locator ...read more . After opening the page simply locate the navigation bar and select TOOLS then GPS/GPX Communicator. It’s a good idea to read the operators manual for your unit before installing the data to find out if you need to reset it to factory defaults before installation. I was also able to download it to my Navionics Hotmaps Explorer, so I have the information available on my laptop lake-mapping program. You can find the entire Navionics/Hotmaps lake maps line at www.navionics.com . If you have any problems or questions, contact me and I’ll see if I can help.

    1. Thanks Michael for pointing out my error with the web address. I corrected it and reposted. The MO site is http://mdc.mo.gov/fishing/places-fish/fish-attractors-map ...more ...let me know if you figure out how to open the zip file it's in!
  9. Bull Shoals Lake Fishing Report as of March 31, 2014
    Well I think it’s safe to say that spring is taking it’s sweet time in getting here. I have yet to see a single ...more Redbud bloom let alone any Dogwoods, both are the real indicators that spring is upon us. Comparing past years fishing logs, I would say we are at least three weeks behind normal for water temperatures and fish movements.
    The main lake is still in the mid forties at mid lake (point 24) however; going way up large creek arms the temperatures will rise to fifty to fifty-four depending on the sunlight and wind on that particular day.
    White Bass are starting to get in the mood to run but it is still halfhearted with a few in the creeks late afternoon and then gone tomorrow. It will take some good warm weather for several days to get ‘em going.
    I’ve talked with several bass fisherman throwing baits on primary and secondary points with most saying it’s real hit and miss right now. Getting a few one day, and then nothing for a couple days.
    I have been having increasing success with smallmouths, Kentucky’s, largemouth and spotted bass working the usual bread and butter places. Namely, the sides of secondary points that are not too far back from the main lake or large creek arms. Smaller size 6 Pink and white clousers are doing well, as are smaller weighted crawfish patterns. The trick is keeping the bait in the strike zone. With the boat over 35 feet of water and casting towards shore and a very slow retrieve. Most takes are coming when the bait is nearly under the boat while making three or four short strips and then letting the line slip out again. Fishing this way, it may take three or four minutes to retrieve a cast. Keeping the boat moving extremely slow for a near vertical presentation is the trick!
    The beauty of fishing this way is you never know what else you’ll get. Crappie and carp are also taking the same presentation providing loads of fun on medium weight tackle!!!
    The White River, as usual, is producing nice rainbows and medium size browns on just about anything you want to throw at them.
    Green, brown, and black buggers are doing well and it looks like the caddis hatch is not too far off. Make sure to bring some soft hackles with a little green in them and let ‘em swing, expecting hits on the end of the swing when the bait rises toward the surface! Bring some small dries with you too, if your eyes are good enough to see those little suckers. I’ll have to wait ‘till hopper season!
    This time of year, you can depend on the power generation schedule to be less than dependable. The lakes are all just about right at pool. Make sure to watch not just Bull Shoals, but Table Rock and Beaver on a daily basis to try to get a handle on what they are doing to help you make a better prediction. Keeping an eye on the four-day forecast and the real time generation and comparing them with the schedule, may give you a better insight to what is really going on.

  10. Details: ? This spot turned out ok. Max depth straight out is 30 @658.9 took a couple drifts over it and got one good crappie and a 10lb carp, not to shabby for a fly rod and 4lb leader! Both fish came from about 25 feet over 30.



Live on Bulls Shoals Lake since 1997, mid lake near Point #24. I fish and guide on the lake and the White and Norfork rivers. Guiding is primarily ...more fly fishing on the lake and river although when not guiding I use all types of methods. Fishing methods include, spinning, trolling, downriggers, planner boards, trotlines, jugs, yo-yo’s, limb lines. Been a NAUI certified diving instructor for 24 years, and do a bit of underwater spear fishing during the summer. During the spring you'll also find me doing a lot of bowfishing too! I’ll be happy to share what I know and have learned over the years on fishing this unique and beautiful fishery, just ask! This lake can be a little intimidating, even after 15 years here; I learn something new every day. This site with it’s mapping tools will be a great help for anybody who really wants to spend the time to really learn and fish this wonderful lake! You can see updated fishing reports, water levels, generation, web cams, etc on my web site www.kenminskyslochleven.com

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  • Waterway Arkansas and Northern Wisconsin
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