How Is the Fishing at Mark Twain Lake?

Mark Twain Lake is a man-made reservoir located in Northeast Missouri, about an hour and a half from St. Louis. It was created in 1982 by damming the Salt River and is known for its excellent fishing opportunities.

The lake boasts an abundance of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish, walleye and other sport fish. The lake also has plenty of panfish, including bluegill and perch.

The most popular species of game fish at Mark Twain Lake are largemouth bass and crappie. Largemouth bass can be found around weed beds, rocky points and drop-offs throughout the lake.

Anglers should have success using topwater lures such as buzzbaits and spinnerbaits during the early morning hours, while crankbaits and soft plastics work well later in the day. For crappie, they can be found near structure such as sunken trees or brush piles in deeper water. Minnows or jigs are the best bait for catching these tasty fish.

In addition to largemouth bass and crappie, Mark Twain Lake also offers excellent fishing for smallmouth bass and walleye. Smallmouth bass can be found in deeper water on rocky points or humps that break into shallow water during the spawn period from late spring to early summer months. Walleye can be caught by trolling with crankbaits or spoons around rocky points or at night around lighted docks or marinas where they congregate to feed on shad.

Catfish is another popular game fish at Mark Twain Lake that anglers enjoy Targeting year-round. Channel cats can be caught using chicken livers or nightcrawlers fished off of the bottom near sunken logs or stumps while flathead cats prefer live bait such as shad or minnows fished off of the bottom around rocky points and drop-offs.


Mark Twain Lake offers anglers a great opportunity to catch a variety of game fish including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish and walleye. Anglers should have success using artificial lures such as buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and crankbaits during different times of day depending on species Targeted as well as live bait for catfish species such as chicken livers and nightcrawlers for channel cats or shad and minnows for flathead cats around structure like sunken logs or stumps.

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Lindsay Collins