Smithville Lake is a 7,190 acre reservoir located just north of Kansas City. Due to the heavy rains in the spring of 2015, the lake was forced to be maintained at 8 - 10 feet above normal pool for several months and throughout the spawning season. All species thrived during the extended high water with ample food and newly flooded habitats resulting in great reproductive success. This large year class should help fuel future success for Smithville Lake anglers.
Smithville Lake largemouth bass numbers and size structure continue to climb. Ideal water levels the last several years and relentless fight to increase shallow water habitat has led to high reproductive success of largemouth bass. These large year classes of bass coming through the system should reach legal size in the years to follow. Casting spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and plastics around the newly installed brush piles and hinge cut trees should produce some nice fish. White Bass fishing was good in 2015 and sampling efforts show another great year class of fish coming through the system in 2016. 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 continues to be the focal point of Smithville Lake. Black crappie numbers remain high but the size structure tends to run a little smaller with only 8 percent of the back crappie sampled being over the minimum 9 inches. White crappie size structure was down from previous years. According to the 2015 fall trap netting data, 44 percent of the white crappie are over 9 inches. 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 continue to be good in Smithville Lake. Walleye sampling in 2015 indicated that 45 percent of the walleye sampled were over 20 inches. 2016 will also be a stocking year, with 215,000 walleye fingerlings stocked to ensure walleye fishing to be good in the future. 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.