The largemouth bass population continues to improve at 530 acre Hazel Creek Lake located just north of Kirksville. Anglers that routinely fish Hazel Creek Lake know that it has the potential to produce trophy bass. According to recent spring surveys, 15 percent of the bass captured were 15 inches or longer, and nearly one in ten was 18 inches or longer! Due to the lack of suitable aquatic vegetation, anglers should target woody cover for spring bass and timbered creek channels in the summer. The white crappie population is improving in response to the improved bass population. During a recent survey, nearly 20 percent of the white crappie captured were 9 inches or longer.
Muskie fishing in 2018 is predicted to be good with the possibility of one in three fish measuring 36 inches or longer. In order to safely release these large, toothy predators at boat side, anglers should keep a floating ruler, needle-nose pliers, hook cutter, and leather gloves nearby. Anglers who wish to assist first-hand with muskie management in Missouri are encouraged to participate in the Show-Me Muskie Project, a volunteer angler diary program. Anglers can find out more about the Show-Me Muskie Project and muskie fishing information by visiting the Missouri Department of Conservation Web page at https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/species/muskellunge/muskellunge-show-me-project. Channel catfish in the 2-4 pound range are available but not in great numbers. Blue catfish were last stocked in 1990 and can be caught in spring using dead shad as bait. A popular place to fish for blue catfish among local anglers is off the causeway at the south end of the lake. Bow fishing for common carp and grass carp is highly encouraged and can be very exciting throughout the spring and summer months.