Anglers should enjoy good fishing for big bass and crappie at Mark Twain Lake in 2019

Crappie Catch
(Photo courtesy of Wilkee’s Guide Service)

Located in Monroe and Ralls counties in Northeast Missouri, Mark Twain Lake has featured excellent fishing in recent years, and biologists say everything points to another good year in 2019.

Fishing usually starts to pick up when the water surface temperatures reach the upper 40s, normally around the middle of March.

Current Lake Level – 607.16 as of 3/29/19 10:00am

Fishing Report from the
South Fork Resort Blog

POSTED 03/28/19  
by Ron

Lake level is 607.2. Water temp is mostly mid 40’s but you can find some warmer by mid-afternoon. Clarity is good. There is a courtesy dock in place at all the normal ramps including the State Park.

There are a few blue cats biting around the deeper flats. I have not heard of any walleye yet, though I would assume they are biting on rocky sloping banks. Crappie are biting where you find them. There is no hard set pattern as of yet. Some days they are in the back of coves in warmer water and sometimes they are out in 10-20 FOW hanging at about 8 feet down. Chartreuse is a good place to start as far as color. Red, yellow, pink with that chartreuse is good also. Sometimes the bite is solid and sometimes they bite light. Try things and move around until you find what is working on any given day, or even any hour. Bright clear, warm days will bring them higher in the water column usually. They don’t even seem to be tied tight to structure as is normally the case. 2-3 feet off of timber seems to be better than tight to it.

NOTES: We will be doing the tree drop this Saturday at 9 am. If you plan to come and help please call us before you leave home in case it gets moved later or postponed due to the weather. The store is open from 7 AM until 6 Pm every day except Sunday when we close at noon.

Here’s the pre-season fishing prospects by the Missouri Department of Conservation for Mark Twain Lake, from the 2019 Mark Twain Lake Vacation Guide.


Crappie fishing will be good again this year if weather and lake levels cooperate. Based on the fall 2018 surveys, the abundance of crappie over 9 inches long decreased by about 25 percent since fall 2017, but remains above average. In addition, anglers will likely encounter some hefty 11- and 12-inch crappie during 2019 as these fish grew well during 2018. Anglers will not have to sort through many small fish to catch a limit of keeper-size crappie because about four of every ten caught will be at least 9 inches long, and many of those will be over 11 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.


Largemouth bass fishing should be good this year. Electrofishing surveys completed during the spring of 2018 indicated average abundance of adult bass, and the abundance of bass over 15 inches long was good. In addition, tournament anglers reported very good weigh-ins during 2018, and similar success should continue during 2019. Bass anglers will find about 25 percent of the bass they catch will be at least 15 inches long.


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.


Walleye abundance remain slow, although anglers have reported improved catches the last few years. 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.


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.