Truman Lake settling into shape for good late-spring/early summer bite at upcoming BFL - Major League Fishing
Truman Lake settling into shape for good late-spring/early summer bite at upcoming BFL
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Truman Lake settling into shape for good late-spring/early summer bite at upcoming BFL

Image for Truman Lake settling into shape for good late-spring/early summer bite at upcoming BFL
Truman Lake's water level spiked in May, but is dropping into shape ahead of the June 15 BFL.
June 6, 2024 • Tyler Brinks • Phoenix Bass Fishing League

Missouri’s Truman Lake will host the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Ozark Division tournament on June 15. This Osage River fishery is a regular stop for the division and should offer excellent late-spring/early summer bass fishing action.

Tournament details

Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine Ozark Division

Truman Lake

Warsaw, Mo.

June 15

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About the fishery

Harry S. Truman Reservoir – commonly referred to as Truman Lake – is a sprawling 55,600-acre fishery with several primary creek arms coming together to form the lake. It’s managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control. Truman can rise quickly, according to Tackle Warehouse Invitationals pro Brad Jelinek, who lives near the lake in Lincoln, Missouri, and finished second in a Toyota Series event on Truman in 2022.

Due to severe rainfall, the water levels rose 16 feet in early May, and Jelinek said things are still settling.

“It’s still higher than normal but continues to fall and should be pretty close to full pool for the tournament,” he said. “That’s caused a few things: one is there has been a lot more current in the lake, which always makes the fishing better. The other impact has been the water clarity. Areas that are usually clean are very dirty and that may make the lake fish smaller than normal.”

Jelinek outlined the lake by explaining that the dam and lower section are generally clear, and six major creeks stretching from that part of the lake offer varying water clarities. He also shared that anglers can run far up each of the arms.

“You have the Osage and Grand, which typically have more color than the others,” he said. “Then you have the Tebo, Little Tebo, Pomme de Terre, and Little Pomme de Terre, which are generally cleaner. You can run 40 miles up one, 50 up another, and 30 the other way: there’s quite a bit of water to cover.”

While Truman has plenty of deep water, Jelinek says it’s primarily a shallow-water bass fishery.

“Fishing deep on Truman may be 14 feet, they don’t live super deep here,” he said. “There is a hard thermocline around that zone and the bass don’t like to get below it. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone catches them very shallow in 2 feet of water, and if they’re off the bank, it still won’t be very deep.”

What to expect

Jelinek predicts the bass will be in transition and believes that the many trees in the lake will be prime targets for BFL anglers.

“The lower end has some trees, but if you run 10 miles up any arm, there are trees everywhere,” he said. “I recommend having good mapping for your electronics and to stay in the channel. The bass should be recuperating from the spawn and starting to pull off the bank, but the trees will be players. They’ll either be shallow around them or suspended in them in deeper water.”

The higher water in recent weeks has made fishing a tad tougher, but Jelinek believes it will get better and closer to what is expected for June fishing.

“The weights have been kind of low recently, but a recent tournament took 18 pounds to win and 14 to get a check,” he said. “Usually, one or two anglers really catch them in June, and then it falls off hard. I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes 20 pounds to win this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it only takes 16 pounds.”

Jelinek believes a trio of patterns could be the way to the win.

“There’s always a good squarebill bite on the lake somewhere, it’s unbelievable,” he said. “But that’s not my style of fishing, and my staple is a 10-inch worm, either flipping trees or dragging it off a bank. Another one that may play is a topwater, which can often be hard to beat in June.”