Lake of the Ozarks a great winter getaway

Lake of the Ozarks, located in central Missouri, is a four seasons fishing destination. There truly isn’t a time of year when you can’t catch fish.

Conditions determine tactics, and timing can be everything, but winter offers anglers many opportunities to boat lunker bass and limits of crappie.

It was 28 degrees with blustery northeast winds when Rob Bueltmann and I launched his bass boat at Public Beach #2 (PB2). Rob’s dad is Bob Bueltmann, known around the Lake as Bassing Bob.

Rob relocated to the Lake of the Ozarks with his family to work alongside his father producing their online fishing platform, This subscriber-based website is by far the most information-packed platform covering all things fishing at Lake of the Ozarks.

One, if not both, of the father-son combo fishes every day all year long. They consistently post up-to-date fishing reports, along with articles, videos and more.

I only had a couple of hours to fish, so Rob said we’d just stay in the Glaize Arm.

Truthfully, we never ventured further than a half mile or so from the boat ramp. We pulled up on the point just outside of the cove and started throwing jerkbaits.

It only took a couple of minutes for me to hook and land the first fish of the day, which was a small Kentucky bass. I quickly landed two more, with each increasing in size.

Rob had wrapped a little lead wire on the hooks of the jerkbaits so they’d sink a bit faster. The wind was blowing up on the points and there was a nice chop on the water. We’d throw to the bank and very slowly work our baits back to the boat.

With a jerkbait, you give it a quick twitch then let it settle for a couple of seconds. This imitates an injured baitfish. The bass were hitting when the bait was sitting still.

Rob and I fished for two hours. We landed 10 bass, with all but two being keepers. We threw them back, of course, but keepers is the term that tournament fishermen like Rob use to judge success. When you’re fishing for checks, keepers are the only fish that matter.

After getting off the water, I headed back to The Lodge at Old Kinderhook.

I’m currently the president of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW). The membership of this organization consists of professional outdoors communicators and industry partners from New York through the Dakotas. All areas of Great Lakes Region are represented. As president, I was excited to host the AGLOW Mid-Winter Board Meeting at Lake of the Ozarks.

Before heading down to the board meeting, I slipped into the hot tub to warm up after being out in the cold and wind. With coffee and a newspaper, I relaxed for 20 minutes, while just outside the windows folks were ice skating on the lodge’s incredible outdoor ice rink. Most of my fishing and hunting trips don’t include this level of luxury, but I’ll take it when I can get it.

On Tuesday and Thursday nights, there are pickup hockey games. Considering Lake of the Ozarks doesn’t freeze, one might not expect to find ice hockey at the Lake, but Old Kinderhook has it. After a long day split between fishing and working through a board meeting, a great dinner was in order. Once again, Old Kinderhook did not disappoint.

The Trophy Room, the lodge’s signature restaurant, serves outstanding food in a rustic yet elegant setting. I had a ribeye cooked medium rare with lump crab added and a side of truffle fries. It was perfect.

The evening wound down with great friends enjoying live music and a few cocktails.

Lake of the Ozarks is known around the country for many different reasons. It’s certainly a pleasure boating lake and has a number of incredible golf courses, but one can easily argue that Lake of the Ozarks is a premier destination fishery with every sort of amenity a visitor could hope to find. The attending AGLOW members certainly left with a new appreciation for the winter fishing and outstanding accommodations available at Lake of the Ozarks.

See you down the trail …


Last week’s column provided incorrect dates for the Indiana Deer, Turkey, and Waterfowl Expo, set to take place during the Sport Show. The correct dates are Feb. 23 to 26.

Brandon Butler writes a weekly outdoors column for The Tribune. Send comments to [email protected].