Missouri Fishing Lakes: Bull Shoals Lake
Bull Shoals Lake is a beautiful waterway known for its clear water and excellent fishing. Located in southern Missouri, this artificially created lake or reservoir straddles the border between Missouri and Arkansas. The lake covers over 45,000 acres of which about 16,000 are located on the Missouri side. Nineteen parks are located along the many miles of shoreline and these include campgrounds, swimming areas, marinas and boat launches. The Missouri side of the lake boasts various lake bottoms and shorelines made up of bluffs, rock or gravel.
Bull Shoals Lake is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project that was begun in 1947, completed in 1951 and dedicated by President Harry S. Truman in 1952. The Bull Shoals Dam was built to impound the White River and is one of the largest concrete dams in the United States. The lake is the farthest downstream before the White River opens into the Mississippi River. Three other artificial lakes also created by the White River are (from farthest upstream) Beaver Lake, Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo. The upper part of the lake below the dam is known as the “Pothole.”
The heavily forested shoreline of Bull Shoals Lake is completely undeveloped and is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers as a buffer zone. The lake elevation fluctuates normally from 630 to 680 feet with the average of 654 feet. The average depth of the lake is 60 feet. The lake bottom is mainly made up of bedrock. Recreational activities in the area include fishing, boating, water sports, camping, hunting, horseback riding and hiking. There are three full service marinas in Missouri – at Pontiac, Theodosia and Kissee Mills. Lodging is available from primitive campgrounds to lakeside resorts. The nearest state park is Bull Shoals- White River State Park in Arkansas, near the dam.
Fishing is excellent at Bull Shoals Lake and a number of state record catches have been made there, including the current record for Largemouth Bass at 13 lb. 14 oz. The average water temperature ranges from 40 to 85. The lake does not freeze over.
Black Bass – Spawning in April-May
Spring: Jerkbaits, Jig-Pig, Spinnerbaits
Summer: Top Water, Plastic Worms and Craws
Fall: Top Water, Crankbaits, Spinnerbaits
Winter: Jig-Pig, Spoons
Crappie – Spawning in April-May
Winter: Jigs, Minnows
Bluegill – Spawning in June
All Seasons: Crickets, Worms
White Bass – Spawning in March-April
All Seasons: Jigs, Spoons
Catfish – Spawning in May
Spring: Cut Shad
Summer: Cut Shad, Stinkbait
Fall: Cut Shad
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