Mark Twain Lake is located in Ralls and Monroe counties in northeast Missouri. Largemouth bass fishing should be good this year. Electrofishing surveys were not completed during the spring of 2017 due to high water; however, spring 2016 surveys indicated that the abundance of bass over 15 inches long was good. In addition, tournament anglers reported very good weigh-ins during 2017, and similar success should continue during 2018. Crappie fishing will be very good this year if weather and lake levels cooperate. Based on the fall 2017 surveys, the abundance of crappie over 9 inches long has nearly doubled since fall 2016 and is four times higher than in fall 2015. As a result, anglers will catch lots of crappie between 9 and 12 inches long during 2018. Anglers will not have to sort through many small fish to catch a limit of keeper-size crappie because nearly five of every ten caught will be at least 9 inches long. As always, the best fishing will occur during late April and early May when crappie can be caught in shallow water on jigs or minnows.
White bass abundance is increasing in the lake. Anglers reported good white bass fishing at times last year, and good white bass fishing will continue this year with many fish 10 to 14 inches long. Anglers do best when these fish are spawning on riffles in tributary streams in early spring, while feeding on schooling shad, or congregating over underwater humps or mud flats during the summer. Walleye abundance remains low, although anglers reported catching more walleye during 2016 and 2017 than in most recent years, and this improvement should continue during 2018. Anglers should also consider walleye fishing in tributary streams of the lake during early spring where walleye abundance has increased due to recent tributary stream stockings. Catfish anglers can expect good fishing to continue this year. Channel catfish are abundant and many flathead catfish and blue catfish exceeding 25 pounds are caught each year on trotlines, bank lines, and jugs. Anglers have been very successful in recent years capturing blue catfish on trotlines and jugs baited with cut shad or herring. Catfish anglers do best in the upper portions of North Fork, Middle Fork, South Fork, and Indian Creek arms.