The 2021 Truman Lake fall fishing forecast is looking pretty good as we near October. The lake has been at roughly normal pool for the better part of a few weeks. Rain has been sparse and the weather is finally dipping into the cooler overnight temperatures. It’s starting to feel like fall even though the leaves haven’t quite started turning. Regardless, Truman Lake fishing is looking to be top notch in the coming months.
Water temperatures are lingering in the mid to upper 70s, but this week should kick off a fairly rapid decline into the low 70s lakewide. Water quality is looking good on the lower ends of the lake including the dam, Sterett Creek, KK Island, and lower ends of all the arms.
The Grand has been especially clean this summer up to about G8-G9 where it starts getting dingy in a hurry. Above Bucksaw you can expect less than 2 inches of visibility. The Osage and Tebo have some color to them as well the further up you go.
Expectations are high for certain species this fall while other species may be hit or miss. Bass may be one of those hit or miss.
Based on angler observation, the largemouth bass appear to have gotten off a strong spawn this past spring. Many wolf packs of adolescent bass have been reported over the summertime sharking behind topwater baits. However, this summer was a challenging one on the bass fishing, leading many to hope the fall feed up will produce the best action all year.
Most of the challenge this year was a result of the lake level being 10 feet high or more for an extended period of time early on. This allows largemouth bass to scatter out significantly where it can be hard to find them. As a result of the high water, it also appears there are millions of shad present in the lake after a successful spawn in the bushes. It’s hard to compete with your artificial baits when there is so much abundance of the real thing.
A 20-pound tournament bag has been hard to come by this year. Many tournaments have taken anywhere from 14-18 pounds to win. That trend may continue through the fall as anglers try to compete throwing their artificial baits in amongst millions of live shad.
In the coming weeks, you need to be spending your time in the creeks and secondary pockets. The shad are already moving in there and the bass aren’t far behind. Folks are reporting finding the bass shallow already all over the lake, but not necessarily all the way into the creeks yet.
You’ll want to have several rods rigged up and ready to go including a topwater rod with a whopper plopper, spook, or PopR, a squarebill crankbait, a spinnerbait, and your choice of a bottom bait be it a jig or big worm. The big worm bite has gotten better, but not on the trees. If you’re working points and not getting bites on a jig, try the worm and see what that does for you. Also, don’t forget about a spinnerbait. A big double willow leaf spinnerbait in any white/chartreuse combination should be deadly on windy flats and points where you can see active bait in the area.
Crappie fishing on Truman continues to be exceptional, and the fall months are a great time to target them.
Many of the guides are focusing in the Grand arm, where you can find an abundance of fish, along with some of the best quality you’re going to find on the lake. You’ll find crappie all over the lake, but the lower end of the lake, including the lower Grand, Tebo, Pomme, and Osage, has a big population of black crappie that are much smaller overall. You may have to work through 5-7 short fish for every one keeper.
Minnows have been a staple all summer long, but the jig bite is rapidly picking up. You’ll likely want to use smaller profile jigs on a 1/16th or 1/32nd oz jig head through end of October. At that time, the fish should start hitting your bigger 2.5-3 inch baits. When you rig up with those smaller jig heads, use an 1/8th oz split shot or egg sinker about 6 or so inches above the jig. That will help get your bait down in the water and help you keep it in the strike zone.
Captain Jeff Faulkenberry loves fall crappie fishing and always looks forward to the water temperature drop. It helps the fish key in on specific structure like dark black stumps, which are your old hardwoods. They hold warmth a little better than other types of structure and the fish will congregate around those.
If you want action this fall, the white bass and hybrids are where it’s at. You can find them all over the lake, but the most popular areas to target them are on the lower end within 5 miles of the dam. When that water temperature reaches 70 degrees, it will be like a light switch.
You’re going to want to look for any windy ban whether it’s chunk rock, gravel, or otherwise and they’ll be there in 1-4 feet of water feeding up on shad. You’ll find a lot of white bass and the hybrids won’t be far behind.
Common baits to try are rooster tails, PopRs, spoons, and small crankbaits. If you find a period of time where there are several days of consistent weather, the hybrids will be more inclined to get up shallow with the white bass.
Your electronics will help you find the bait and the predator fish, but keep an eye out for nature’s fish finders – seagulls. If you see seagulls dive bombing the water or congregating near a windy point, that’s an area you’ll want to go check out.
The catfishing has been very consistent all summer long, and big ones are being found in the upper Grand arm in shallow water. Captain Jeff Faulkenberry has fished windy flats in the upper Grand in 2-5 feet of water and absolutely hammered on slot fish and big overs as well.
You can catch good eaters up there as well, but if you’re wanting a lot more eaters to take home, you may take your efforts to the lower end of the Grand or Osage and focus in 15-25 feet of water. The upper Osage has been a consistent producer of good keeper cats as well near Talley Bend.
As the fall progresses, the shad will move into the warmer waters in the backs of creeks and you’ll be able to find the catfish right behind them. The shallow bite for catfish will last all fall and winter long. Don’t be surprised to find catfish in 5 feet or less in those creeks for months to come.
Regardless of what species you’re looking for, Truman Lake fishing is going to be good this fall. The bass population is in good shape, catfish are plentiful, white bass and hybrids are already being caught in numbers, and the crappie fishing continues to prove why Truman is one of the best crappie lakes in the country.
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