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Bass Fishing In Missouri

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

By Rick Seaman

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 additional, valuable information about bass and bass fishing.

Bass fishing At Daybreak

Missouri Bass Fishing

Bass fishing lures

Bass fishing in Missouri is a beloved pursuit, cherished by anglers of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. Few experiences rival the thrill of hooking into a largemouth or smallmouth bass, making it a timeless pastime that transcends cultural boundaries. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice angler eager to learn the ropes, mastering the art of bass fishing can be immensely rewarding. That's why this page is dedicated to offering invaluable insights and tips on bass fishing, providing a comprehensive guide on everything from bass fishing techniques to essential bass-catching strategies. Whether you're seeking advice on selecting the perfect lure or honing your casting skills, we're here to equip you with the knowledge and expertise needed to excel on the water. Dive into our wealth of information to discover the secrets of successful bass fishing and unlock the full potential of your angling endeavors.

Bass Fishing Favorites

Largemouth Bass Fishing In Missouri

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are the most abundant, and most pursued bass in Missouri. They are available in most warm-water lakes in the state, they tend to thrive in most water conditions and grow to bragging size in relative short order. Often called big mouth bass, or wide mouth bass, they are savvy predators that feed on most things that live in their territory. Bass in the 5 to 10-pound range are common in Missouri. The state record largemouth bass is over 13 pounds.

Finding & Catching Bigmouth Bass

Anglers can target big mouth bass in various lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. Spring and early summer are typically the best seasons for targeting largemouth bass as they are more active and feeding in the shallows near shoreline cover. Start with topwater baits, as they cover the water most efficiently. Reaction baits like crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the next choice. For finicky bass, plastic worms and jigs may entice a bite as you can move them very slowly around cover. In the heat of summer and the cold of winter bass move to deeper water, usually following the baitfish. Jigs, drop shot rigs and spoons are a good approach for bass holding in deep water. Vary your retrieve speed and action to find what the bass like today!

Smallmouth Bass Fishing In Missouri

Smallmouth Bass

While smallmouth bass don't grow as large as their cousin the largemouth, they make up the difference with tenacious fights. Known for long battles and spectacular jumps, smallies grow fat and strong but rarely exceed ten pounds. Their range and locations are often with or nearby the largemouths. The state record smallmouth bass is over 7 pounds.

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 Fishing In Missouri

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 Bass - Howard Wright

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 basics video.

Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Missouri

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 this year

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.

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.

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.

AL Bass Fishing AR Bass Fishing AZ Bass Fishing CA Bass Fishing CO Bass Fishing CT Bass Fishing DC Bass Fishing DE Bass Fishing FL Bass Fishing GA Bass Fishing HI Bass Fishing IA Bass Fishing ID Bass Fishing
IL Bass Fishing IN Bass Fishing KS Bass Fishing KY Bass Fishing LA Bass Fishing MA Bass Fishing MD Bass Fishing ME Bass Fishing MI Bass Fishing MN Bass Fishing MO Bass Fishing MS Bass Fishing MT Bass Fishing
NC Bass Fishing ND Bass Fishing NE Bass Fishing NH Bass Fishing NJ Bass Fishing NM Bass Fishing NV Bass Fishing NY Bass Fishing OH Bass Fishing OK Bass Fishing OR Bass Fishing PA Bass Fishing
RI Bass Fishing SC Bass Fishing SD Bass Fishing TN Bass Fishing TX Bass Fishing UT Bass Fishing VA Bass Fishing VT Bass Fishing WA Bass Fishing WI Bass Fishing WV Bass Fishing WY Fishing
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.