At 55,600 surface acres, Truman Lake is the largest reservoir in Missouri. It is an amazing fishery, with standing timber scattered throughout. But in my book, it’s the tens-of-thousands of acres of public land surrounding the lake that make Truman a very special destination for sportsmen and outdoors enthusiasts.
Truman isn’t just a lake. It’s a nature experience. River otters, osprey and bald eagles call this place home. It’s wild and scenic. You can hunt, fish, hike, bird-watch, paddle and more. Plus, Truman Lake State Park offers campsites with modern amenities and many activities. This is a destination to take the whole family, because there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Truman Lake is known for producing good-sized crappie like this one throughout the spring.
When it comes to cast and blast opportunities in Missouri, Truman is right at the top of the list. There are a lot of places in Missouri where you can go fishing and hunting in the same day, but few others offer the level of quality you’ll find at Truman. All at once, crappie fishing catches fire, turkey season opens and morel mushrooms start popping up in clusters. You can experience all three of these rights of spring in the same day.
Crappie fishing is one of my favorite pastimes. These hard-fighting panfish are fun to catch and great to eat. Using minnows under slip-bobbers is the most common tactic for catching crappies, but jigs often work just as well. This time of year, you’ll catch fish shallow in less than 7-feet of water over solid bottoms. The crappie bite should remain strong for the next couple of months. If you don’t have a boat, there are many options for fishing from shore, but you can also rent a boat from one of the marinas on the lake.
Turkey hunting is an obsession for me. There’s nothing I love more than working a gobbler into range with a slate call. With so much public land around Truman, you are sure to find a place to escape the crowd where an old gobbler has been left undisturbed. For those of you who have not hunted these large expanses of public lands before, it’s a great feeling to hear a gobble off in the distance knowing there are no fences between you and that bird.
While you’re out stomping the hills chasing turkeys or after you limit out on the water, there are bushel basket loads of morels to be found in the sprawling woods. Good areas to look for morel mushrooms include south facing slopes, around fallen logs, and around the bases of elm trees, especially dead ones. South facing slopes are prime spots early in the season because they warm up first.
There are multiple options for lodging. You can camp or rent a cabin. Bucksaw Resort and Marina offers a lodge and nice cabins. They have all the amenities you need on site, such as a boat ramp, bait, ice and even a restaurant.
Truman is a destination where you can get away from it all to enjoy a trifecta of springtime outdoor pursuits. Head to the most remote regions of the lake where you can step off on to public ground to start hunting turkeys and mushrooms, or stay in your boat and cast for crappies.