Smithville Lake is a 7,190 acre reservoir located just north of Kansas City. Stable to high water levels for the last couple of years has helped increase aquatic vegetation in the lake and as a result Smithville has experienced three great reproduction years in a row. There are now several large year classes of fish coming through the system. There are continued efforts to enhance the aquatic habitat in Smithville Lake every year, and the excellent gizzard shad production during this period has helped increase growth and should produce more legal size fish this year. 2014 should be a very exciting time for Smithville Lake anglers.
Smithville Lake Largemouth bass numbers are the highest they have been in nearly 20 years! Two large year classes of bass are coming through the system and many of these fish should reach legal size in 2014. Casting spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and plastics around the newly installed habitat and around existing selected habitat such as standing timber, brush piles, rocky points, and docks should produce some nice fish. White Bass fishing was excellent in 2013 and should continue through 2014. Find the shad and you will find the white bass. Running crankbaits off the main lake points or watch for them busting schools of shad at the surface. Crappie continue to be the focal point of Smithville Lake and this season should produce some nice stringers. Our netting information from the fall of 2013 indicates that 60 percent of the white crappie are above the 9" minimum. Black crappie numbers remain high but the size structure tends to run a little smaller. Small plastic jigs and minnows fished around the standing timber and around the numerous brush piles in the lake should produce some nice fish. Walleye fishing should be good this year. The walleye stocked in 2012 should reach legal size this year and produce some nice meals. Walleye sampling in 2013 also indicated that 44 percent of the walleye sampled were over 20 inches. That is the highest percentage of fish over 20" in the last 15 years. There are two primary fishing seasons for walleye at the lake: the spawning run to the dam, and the hot summer months on the points and flats. The spawning run on the dam can be frustrating for many anglers, but the stockings have greatly increased the number of fish coming to the dam. Using shallow diving crank baits work best during this period. During the summer months walleye move deeper off main lake points and flats. The newly installed rock piles in the main lake area should produce good numbers of fish. Trolling deep diving cranks or crawler harnesses over these areas usually work best. Catfishing at Smithville can be outstanding. For best bets on channel catfish, fish at night in the upper ends of the lake arms or along the shallow flats around the islands and main lake. Fresh cut shad or livers work best. Flathead catfish are very popular at Smithville. Flathead catfish can be caught fishing jugs and on trotlines along creek channels and rocky bluffs using fresh shad or other live baits. Remember to always label your lines and watch for boat traffic.