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Fishing Bull Shoals Lake of Arkansas and Missouri

Bull Shoals Fishing

Bull Shoals Lake-Powersite Dam

KTrimble at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Bull Shoals Lake in southwestern Missouri and northern Arkansas is a world class fishery by every standard. It offers great fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, trout, white bass, bluegill, catfish, and countless other fish species.


Even during the dog days of summer, bass come in shallow in the early morning just after dawn, and can be caught by bank fisherman, often on top water lures. Keep in mind that Bull Shoals Lake is usually ultra-clear, so light lines are best.

The upper section of the lake from Powersite Dam to Beaver Creek is the place to go if you're looking to get a taste of everything the lake has to offer.


Walleye, white bass, rainbow trout, crappie, and spotted bass are the most sought after species in this part of the lake, but there are many others.


Just below Powersite Dam is a popular area that is easily accessible by boat or by foot called the Pothole. This pool in actuality reaches a short length below the dam, but the section of the lake for several miles below the dam usually goes by this name. March through June is prime time here, with great numbers of walleye, white bass, and trout, and crappie stacked up in this riverine area below Powersite Dam.

1/32 ounce white jigs are very popular here, as they work very well for all of the species listed above. Nightcrawlers are also popular for those seeking all species. By late June, most of the Walleye and White Bass have moved for deeper waters, but the area just below Powersite fishes quite well for black bass and rainbow trout in from Late June through mid- October, providing you fish early or late in the day.

At Beaver Creek, the classic bass fishing waters of Bull Shoals Lake begin. There are some true hogs in the middle and lower lake, and the current Missouri state record largemouth was caught here. During the summertime, the bass tend to hold in the 10 to 25 foot range during the day, and often fall victim to drop shot or Carolina rigged


Walleye fishing is also very good in the lower lake. Walleye fishing is very different than in the upper lake, but it is arguably as good or better. Daytime fishing during the summer will pretty much require a boat. Some troll, and some fish the deep water with a slip bobber rig using nightrcwlers or minnows as bait. Night fishing is by far best in the summer.


The most effective technique is to fish anywhere a light shines upon the water, especially around docks. Shad are attracted to these areas, and walleye follow. Minnows and night-crawlers are best in this situation.


Trout fishing can also be had in the lower lake, near Bull Shoals Dam. This is purely a boat fishery, and nighttime fishing is best. Most people fish nightcrawlers or corn thirty to fifty feet deep. This is a relatively untapped fishery, but it is very productive, as 30,000 rainbow trout are stocked into the lake each spring. Many survive for many years after stocking and grow quite large. Catfish abound. Most are channel catfish in the two to fifteen pound range, but there are some blue catfish in the lake as well, some of which reach the fifty pound mark. White Bass, Crappie, and Bluegill also are often targeted.

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