John Kehde and Steve Bloess of Sedalia, Missouri, recently reported that three muskie were caught by anglers at the Lake of the Ozarks in December of 2011. To validate these out-of-the-ordinary occurrences, they sent a photograph of a muskie that Mike MacAffree of Sedalia caught and released while fishing for walleye with a crankbait.
We contacted Greg Stoner, who is the Fisheries Management Biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation at the Lake of the Ozarks, and asked him about this phenomenon.
He wrote in an e-mail on January 17 that he had received one report of a muskie being caught in the upper reaches of the Lake of the Ozarks in 2011
Stoner explained that muskie are not stocked into the Lake of the Ozarks. Therefore, the only source is from Pomme de Terre Lake, which is above Truman Lake. That means the muskie have to navigate through two dams and many miles of Truman Lake in order to inhabit the Lake of the Ozarks.
About three years ago, Stoner collected a 40-inch muskie with electrofishing gear while collecting walleye broodstock in upper end of the Lake of the Ozarks.
In sum, Stoner wrote: "Muskie are not common by any means in Lake of the Ozarks, but they do show up and surprise an angler from time to time."
By the way, the Missouri state record muskie was caught at the Lake of the Ozarks on March 9, 1981, by Gene Snelling of Camdenton, Missouri. It weighed 41 pounds, two ounces.
For more information on muskie in the Lake of the Ozarks and Pomme de Terre see http://www.missourimuskies.org/mo_state_record.htm.