A slow growth rate and short life expectancy
can give any living
creature a mean disposition. That's probably why spotted bass have
such mean streaks.
Since its days are numbered and it always has to compete for food
against larger predators, a spotted bass viciously attacks anything
that crosses its path. I've experienced the jarring strikes of
spotted bass numerous times, but the best example of their
aggressive nature occurs when they hit a topwater lure. On many
occasions, I've had what I perceived was a big fish explode on my
topwater lure, but when I landed the fish, it was a 14-inch spotted
bass. Other times these
ferocious fish have attacked my surface plug so hard that they
completely over the lure or knocked it out of the water.
This type of action is common to anglers at the Lake of the Ozarks
since the spotted bass shares the waters with its largemouth cousin.
In appearance, spotted bass look more like largemouth than
Some distinguishing features can help you tell the two species
A spotted bass has a rough patch on its tongue, which largemouth
lack. The spiny dorsal and soft ray fins of a largemouth bass are
nearly separated, while the two sets of fins on the spotted bass are
well-connected. Examining the fish's jaw will also help you identify
the bass. The upper jaw of a largemouth extends far beyond the back
of its eye, and a spotted bass' upper jaw stretches to the eye or
only a fraction past it.
Crayfish are the principal diet of spotted bass in the rocky areas
of the lake. They will also eat the aboundant shad found in the
Spotted bass provide plenty of year-round action at the Lake of the
Ozarks. "Most of the year, they're caught right along with
largemouth," says Greg Stoner, MDC fisheries biologist. "From my
experience, they will stay active a little longer in the winter than
A higher percentage of spotted bass dwell in the lower ends of the
lake's four major arms where the habitat is more favorable. "Spotted
bass tend to relate a little more to chuck rock banks and bluffs,"
says Stoner. This type of structure is more abundant in the lower
ends, along with a multitude of docks--another favorite dwelling
place for spotted bass.
Anglers can catch numerous spotted bass in the 12- to 14-inch range
at the lake.
Productive lures for catching Lake of the Ozarks spotted bass
include jigs and pork frogs, plastic grubs, 4-inch finesse worms,
spinnerbaits and topwater lures. Bait-cast or spinning tackle with
6- to 14-pound test line works best for spots on this lake.
The Osage River below Lake of the Ozarks is another prime spot for
catching spotted bass. "Every hole is full of them all the way to
the Missouri River," claims Bruce Gier, an Eldon, Mo., angler. Osage
River spotted bass prefer deep rocky holes, where they can be taken
with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, topwater lures and jigs. The fish
range in size from 12 inches up to 4 1/2 pounds, Gier says.
For information on lodging and other facilities at the Lake of the
Ozarks or to receive a free 152-page 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
Copies of John Neporadny's book, "THE Lake of the Ozarks Fishing
Guide" are available by calling 573/365-4296 or visiting the web