GASCONADE RIVER SMALLMOUTH BASS FISHING
Great source for bass flies for Gasconade River
The Gasconade River is the longest river that flows entirely through Missouri, and every mile of it holds smallmouth bass. The Gasconade is one of the rivers that seems too good to be true, a 250 mile river with good numbers of smallmouth bass throughout. Many people say that it is the best smallmouth bass river in the nation, and there is merit to that claim. There are few other streams in the country with so much smallmouth water, so many fish, and as many trophy sized smallmouth.
Headwaters to the Osage Fork
The Gasconade River begins in Southwestern Missouri not far from Springfield. The upper reaches are relatively slow and shallow, compared to the rest of the river. Still, there is a relatively good smallmouth population. This water winds its way through rolling hills and cattle ranches in no particular hurry all the way to the mouth of the Osage Fork River (74 miles below the headwaters), and any float down it is relatively slow going. Still, this part of the river is lightly fished, and holds fish that are relatively unpressured and easy to catch.
Osage Fork to the Big Piney
The Osage Fork adds a lot of water to the Gasconade, and instantly improves the fishing. The Gasconade becomes an honest to goodness river, and it's riffles and pools all hold smallmouth. The 75 mile portion of the river from the mouth of the Osage Fork to the mouth of the Big Piney is some of the most productive on the river. There is an excellent mix of fast riffles and deep pools, and any float down this portion of the river will produce good numbers and sizes of bass. Also, there is wadeable water at several accesses, so fisherman who do not have access to a boat can still expect decent fishing. The portion of the river from Highway Y in Pulaski county to Highway D in Phelps county has special regulations. In this portion, you may keep only one smallmouth bass over 18 inches. This special regulation portion has the best overall smallmouth fishing on the river, and the special limit shouldn't be a problem you since you're releasing those smallmouth anyway, aren't you?
Big Piney to Highway 63 Bridge
The excellent smallmouth fishing continues for 30 miles to the Highway 63 Bridge. By this time, the Gasconade is a very large, powerful river, and there is ample food to grow large smallmouth. This water calls for big-water tactics, and covering a lot of water is an important part of any fishing strategy on this part of the river. While smallmouth numbers aren't as high here as they are above the Big Piney, you'll find larger fish.
Highway 63 to the Missouri River
Below the Highway 63 Bridge downstream to the Missouri River, the Gasconade becomes steadily larger, slower, and more off-color. Smallmouth live in this portion of the river, but they are present in relatively small numbers. Most fisherman on the lower Gasconade target largemouth bass, kentucky bass, catfish, and walleye. Still, the largest smallmouth bass on the river are almost certainly found in this portion of the river, so it is an excellent choice for the trophy hunter. Once again, it is important to cover a lot of water to find the fish.
Fishing Techniques for Smallmouth on the Gasconade River
Fishing techniques on the Gasconade are as varied as the different portions of the river. In the small river portions above the Big Piney, standard smallmouth tactics rule. This is very good fly fishing water, and fly fisherman do very well with bass bugs, streamers, and crayfish patterns. Spin fisherman also do well with Crayfish crankbaits, Rapalas, and Mepp's Spinners. Below the mouth of the Big Piney, almost all fisherman use spinning rods. Spinnerbaits, large crankbaits, and topwaters are popular. In the lower reaches, live bait fishing with minnows and crayfish is very popular as well. However you like to fish, the Gasconade has excellent smallmouth fishing possibilities.
Lures for Smallmouth Bass on the Gasconade River
Rebel Crawdad, deep diving
Spinnerbaits, 3/8 ounce to 1/8 ounce
Marabou Jigs (olive, White, and Black), 1/32 ounce to 1/8 ounce
3 inch green tube baits, texas rigged*
Rooster Tail Spinner 1/24 ounce through 1/8 ounce
Zoom Curly Tail Worms, Texas Rigged
Minnows and Crayfish* (they work well, but you'll have to catch them yourself using a minnow trap)
Flies for Smallmouth Bass on the Gasconade River
Don's Crawdad #4-#10
Woolly Bugger (Olive, Black, or White) #4-#10
Clouser Minnow #2- #8
Deer Hair Bass bugs #2-#8
Muddler Minnow #4-#10