Bluegill and redear sunfish will spawn at all lakes starting in late April and will run until early June. The best populations can be found at Plover, Gopher, Jackrabbit and Nell lakes. Try fishing the coves with red worms or crickets under a bobber for bluegill. To catch redear sunfish, fish on the bottom near cover. Try using a small tube jig tipped with a little piece of worm fished along the bottom. Crappie fishing takes off in early April and remains very good until mid-May. Try fishing Gopher, Jackrabbit, Nell, Cottontail, or Catclaw lakes for the best populations of crappie on the area. Crappie spawn on the rocky banks and near woody cover. Look for the off-shore habitat signs and cast out toward the underwater structure. Using minnows or jigs tipped with power bait fished under a bobber works best. Fishing for crappie also picks up again in the fall and spring as water temperatures reach 50 degrees.
Largemouth bass start spawning in late April. Work the weed beds with a topwater lure and fish the brush piles using a plastic worm or a jig and pig. All the Reed Area lakes hold good bass populations, but the top lakes are Cottontail, Nell, Jackrabbit, and Catclaw lakes. In the summer months try fishing early and late in the day using topwater baits. Work these baits along any surface cover and hold on for that topwater bite. Channel catfish action picks up in June and is good most of the summer. All lakes were stocked and hold good populations of channel catfish. Chicken liver and cut shad are the best summertime baits. After the water reaches 80 degrees, float these baits under a bobber. During the spring rains, fish the creek channels running into the lakes by drifting a nightcrawler. In the late winter and early spring, fish stinky baits to get an early start catfishing.
Trout are stocked into Coot and Plover lakes in November to establish a winter fishing season. These fish may be harvested under statewide regulations. Trout will also be stocked into Honker Pond (kid's fishing only, 15 years old and younger). Additional trout will be stocked through March to extend the trout fishing into the spring. Try using prepared trout baits, small crank baits, small jigs, and flies to catch trout. All anglers including children must have a trout permit to harvest trout. Need help learning how to fish? The Reed Area holds many Discover Nature Fishing classes. Check out the following web site for all the classes held at the Reed Area and across the state: http://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZkB.