You know how you go somewhere on a fishing vacation and the marina owner says, "Oh, you should have been here last week. The fish were really biting!" Well - - that will not happen at Table Rock Lake. It is always great fishing and is always a great time to be here!
Table Rock Lake's reputation for producing hefty stringers of bass, laced with lunkers, was earned through an unprecedented management program, which combined man's biological expertise with the natural environment. A 15-inch size limit and creel limit of six fish linked with an abundant food chain in the lake, is the foundation for this fine program. The result is resurgence of large numbers of largemouth, Kentucky, and smallmouth bass of exceptional size along with many other species available at any time of the year for the professional and novice angler alike.
In the early spring before the spawning season, largemouth and Kentucky bass will be found at the base of cedar trees and, also, near structure in various feeder creeks in the lake. During this time, the fish can be taken on crank-baits, spinner-baits, and the jig-and-frog. Smallmouth will be near rocky banks at varied depth. Feather jigs are deadly for these bronze-backs at this time.
During the spawning season in late spring, bass will be on gradually sloping, pea gravel banks. They build their nests near stumps, logs, rocks, and other structure along these banks in from two to eight feet of water. During the early days of spawning, the fish can be found more abundantly on the north banks, where the water warms more rapidly. The most action will occur in May, when both the male and female are attending the nest. During this time, the fish will strike nearly anything thrown in the vicinity of their beds.
In the summer, most bass migrate to deeper water from 25 to 35 feet. Here, the fish will hit plastic worms, jigs, grubs, and spoons. The fish will stay near chunk rock points and along rocky banks, dotted with hardwood trees in the main channel. Also, at this time, some breaking activity will appear throughout the lake, usually at the mouths of feeder creeks, which enter into the main channel. Food lures for this type of fishing are clear top-water lures and chuggers. During the summer, Kentucky bass can be taken in large numbers on pea gravel points at depths of between 20 and 40 feet. Live night crawlers and crawfish on light tackle are best for this type of fishing.
In the fall, when temperatures cool the water, the bass move into the shadows once again. Crank-baits, jigs, grubs, and jig-and-frog are effective, when fished on rocky banks for both largemouth and smallmouth. Kentucky bass will remain deep at this time of year and they can be caught near the channels on a variety of spoons, as well as live worms and crawfish. White Bass will chase shad on the surface and nail top-water and slow falling lures.
During the months of November and December, lunker bass cruise the shallows, gorging themselves in preparation for winter dormancy. They fall prey to spinner-baits and crank-baits. They can be found mostly in the back of live creek beds, which hold heavy concentrations of baitfish. Crappie fishing is at its best in the early spring, when they school. At this time, they can be found near submerged stumps and trees in shallow pockets and coves. Jigs, grubs, and live minnows on light tackle are effective at this time.
You can fish everyday of the year, but the best time of the year, spring, is special on Table Rock Lake. It's during this time we find that the spinner-baits, crank-baits and the jig-and-frog are especially effective on the Largemouth and Kentucky Bass (spotted). It is regarded as trophy time and the experienced fisherman will concentrate around the base of old cedar trees. The feeder creeks and streams will hold many fish in their underwater structures. Spawning season will find them on sloping pea gravel banks. They will build their "nests" near old stumps, logs, rocks, and other underwater structures that they can find in two to eight feet of water.
The following are types of species that can found in Table Rock Lake:
- Black Crappie
- Blue Gill
- Flat Head Catfish
- Green Sun Fish
- Large Mouth Bass
- Long Ear Sun Fish
- Small Mouth Bass
- Spoon Bill
- Spotted Bass
- White Bass
- White Crappie
When fishing Table Rock Lake your adventure is endless. You could hook a Kentucky, White, or Small Mouth Bass. When you are fishing for White Bass you'll find them chasing a large school of shad. Fishing Table Rock is different than streams and cold water fishing, and you may have to change your fishing techniques a bit, but we can assure you that the challenge and thrill of bringing in that big one can be yours.
If you're unsure of the fishing pattern, check with the friendly folks at the various marinas, bait shops, and resorts in the area. These folks keep up with all the fishing action that goes on in the area throughout the year and they are more than happy to share their knowledge with you. For those anglers who want to be assured of full stringers of fish, try one of the excellent guides in the area.
Table Rock Lake is a fisherman's dream but it can also be intimidating. It is difficult to truly know the best types of live bait to use or even when live bait is appropriate. There are so many lure types on the market; it is truly helpful to ask a professional. The Table Rock Lake Area features many talented and proven fishing guides so your story isn't about the one that got away but rather about the many that made it into the live well. Click here to view recommended fishing guides.