Fishing the Leavenworth area of the Missouri?

Discussion in 'MISSOURI RIVERS TALK' started by comanchero, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. comanchero

    comanchero New Member

    Messages:
    119
    State:
    Minnesota
    I live in Minnesota and about this time of year I start dreaming of chasing cats in the new year. Trouble is all of our rivers are iced over and will probably be that way through early Arpil. Our pre-spawn catfishing doesn't really start until usually the middle of May. I'm thinking of making a fishing trip to the Kansas City area in April to fish the Missouri River for Blues. It is about a 7 to 8 hour drive from my home and I could be on the water and chasing cats. I'm an experienced river catman up here in Minnesota and have some nice flatheads and channels to my credit but I would like to catch a big blue catfish. Everything I've read says the peak of the action for big blues on the Missouri River is usually in April.

    I'm a retired soldier so I was thinking of staying at Fort Leavenworth and using that as a place to stay. I'm thinking of about a 4 day trip from Minnesota - travel day to leavenworth and fish hard for two days and then a travel day home. I thought I would watch the weather in early April and when I see a nice stretch of stable warm weather about the 2nd week of April I would head for Leavenworth.

    From the Missouri River maps I've reviewed there is a good boat launch at Leavenworth and at Parkville so I was thinking of fishing the Leavenworth to Parkville stretch of river. I looked at the Google satellite maps and I can see a lot of good wingdams to fish. I've got a good stable boat that I've fished the Mississippi with for years (17' Alumacraft, 70 hp Yamaha, rigged out for catfishing). I'm experienced in fishing wingdams and log jams and man-made structure for channels and flats so I planned on applying those same methods to chasing blues.

    I have a few questions that I hoped my brother Kansas or Missouri catmen could help answer for me.

    #1: Is that stretch of river a good location to find some springtime blues?

    #2: Is the 2nd week of April or so a good time to target that area or should I look earlier or later?

    #3: Is there anything about that stretch of water I should watch out for at that time of year? I will be watching the river gage readings closely but at what levels is the river considered bad to fish and a waste of time?

    #4: I'm hoping to catch my own bait from that area using a cast net or hook and line. What kind of bait can I expect to find (shad, herring, carp, suckers, etc) and should I be able to catch my own bait?

    #5: Are there any bait shops in the Leavenworth area that I could buy bait from if I cannot catch my own?

    I'll follow this post for your responses. If you don't want to respond here but would be able to answer my questions, you can reach me at my e-mail: steven.demars@comcast.net

    Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

    Steve
     
  2. kmcalester

    kmcalester Active Member

    Messages:
    1,340
    State:
    Kansas City
    Well let me welcome you to KC area first, someone here will help you.
     

  3. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    Steve

    It’s good to see you taking an interest in our stretch of the river. When the fish are here, it’s as good as anywhere in the country, with a great shot at a big blue of over 50lbs, and fish of over 100lbs are at least a possibility.

    Now for the wet blanket… The last couple of years we were into May before we saw bigger blues with any consistency. You can look at the tournament results, nothing over 20lbs in the March and April tourneys, and in the Missouri River thread, where you will find lot’s of “where are they?” type posts right up into the first week of May.

    Not to take away all hope, in 2004 thru 2006, mid April was awesome, and a lot of those fish were caught in the stretch between KC and Leavenworth. We hope to see them earlier again this year, but we won’t really know until it gets here.

    So for your questions..

    1. It sure can be, but it’s hit or miss.

    2. Later would be a better bet.

    3. Debris can make it tough, and a quick rise of more than a couple of feet will put a lot of debris in the water. Somewhere above 25 feet (KC guage) it starts to flood in places and the ramps start to shut down. But I’ve seen the river at a stable 25 feet with only a little debris and it was quite fishable. I’ve also seen it running so full of debris at 12 feet that I didn’t want to go out there. So there is no really good rule of thumb except that “stable” is a good thing.

    4. You should be able to find bait, but it’s tough at times. Shad, carp, goldeye, and quillback (suckers) are all possible. Best spots to try are in the calmer waters behind wing dams, or anywhere a creek or pipe flows into the main river. A lot of times you can catch goldeye with worms and a small hook under a bobber or with crappie jigs that time of year if you target creek mouths.

    5. I don’t know about the bait shops up there. I run my boat up that direction from KC every now and then, but I haven’t spent to much time around the town itself. Maybe someone else will be able to answer? Minnesota Bait in Kansas City Kansas is excellent, but will be a bit of a drive.

    Some more advice….

    • The mouth to the Kansas River is 30 river miles below the Leavenworth ramp. I usually launch there, from the Kaw Point boat ramp. The Kansas River can be a good refuge from high water and debris on the Missouri, and bait is usually a little easier to come by. Sometimes when nothing is happening on the Missouri, you can catch fish on the Kansas. You might take note of directions to Kaw Point as a backup plan. You could probably run down there on the water from Leavenworth, just be sure you have plenty of fuel to return 30 miles upstream. Oh yeah, I should mention, forget about that Parkville boat ramp, it's in such poor repair that it's basically unusable now.
    • The Missouri has a lot of current, so come prepared with your best anchor.
    • Let us know before you come down. We might be able to hook up with you, or at a minimum trade phone numbers in case you have boat trouble or something.
     
  4. comanchero

    comanchero New Member

    Messages:
    119
    State:
    Minnesota
    Gary - Thanks for the information. That is exactly what I needed. I just finished reading the Missouri River thread on 2008. It looked like the Missouri River bite didn't start until May and that is when our season kicks into swing up here in Minnesota too. After reading all the posts and listening to your advice the Kaw Point access may be the place to be at that time of year depending on river conditions. It looks like it affords several options depending on conditions.

    By the way, I saw that 76 lb flathead you caught last year. Awesome fish. That fish beat the Minnesota state record flathead by 6 lbs. I've been chasing a fish like that a long time - congratulations.

    I'm going to still plan out the trip and be ready to pull the trigger if weather and river conditions work out. I'm retired so I can go on a moments notice. I'll probably find some place to stay close to Kaw Point so I'm close to the landing.
     
  5. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    Steve, If you can do your trip on short notice that would be the way to go that time of year. We have a tournament out of Kaw Point on April 18, the results of that will be a good predictor of the fishing, but even before that there will be people posting on the MO River thread if the bite is on.

    If the river conditions are good and the blues move in early enough, Leavenworth would still be a good place to fish out of, and it saves you from having to deal with the city traffic and such. I'm not familiar with any good lodging options close to Kaw Point, so you have to deal with city traffic getting to and from the ramp each time you launch there. But ultimately I think I would decide which place based upon the fishing reports.

    Thanks on the flathead. It's the 3rd one I know of about that size from the same few miles of the KS River over the past 4 years, and I expect there have been many others caught there that we don't hear about, not to mention all of the 60lb'ers. Flatheads are less common out on the Missouri, but they are definitely out there too.
     
  6. theonecatfishbob

    theonecatfishbob New Member

    Messages:
    4,100
    State:
    Wright City, Missouri
    did they redo the Parkville ramp? Last time I saw it, it was unusable. Course that was prolly 12 -14 years ago.
     
  7. brad kilpatrick

    brad kilpatrick New Member

    Messages:
    2,666
    State:
    Kansas City
    Kaw Point being downtown there are a plethera of lodging options. the biggest prob will be finding somewhere to park the boat without fear of someone messing with it. I would suggest heading west down I-70 to 78th street not to far from Kaw point and there are a few hotels with large parking lots right off the interstate. We have had guys stay at those hotels for My tourneys and they have had no probs.
     
  8. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    It gets redone a little almost every time it rains :smile2: Sometimes it's merely unusable, at other times it's like a giant trap, waiting for somebody to back off of the end of the ramp and into 12 feet of water.
     
  9. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    The 78th Street motels are probably the best bet, that's maybe 7-8 miles from Kaw Point
     
  10. comanchero

    comanchero New Member

    Messages:
    119
    State:
    Minnesota
    Thanks for all your help. I will check out the 78th Street hotels.

    Can a Minnesota guy get into one of your KC tournaments? Looks like you get some nice fish entered.
     
  11. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    Steve, we would love to have you in the tournament.
     
  12. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    Messages:
    3,361
    State:
    East of KC
    Yeah, another entry fee for Gary and Steve to collect, sure he'd love to have you fish the tourney:smile2: Gary has given you some pretty good advice and that is a good stretch of river. Hope you make it down and put a hook into a big blue!
     
  13. RIVER-RAT

    RIVER-RAT New Member

    Messages:
    3,128
    State:
    MO / MT
    Don't forget about the Mississippi in the St Louis area either! There were ALOT of PIGS caught this summer that are still swimming around too! :smile2:
     
  14. kmcalester

    kmcalester Active Member

    Messages:
    1,340
    State:
    Kansas City
    How is the winter fishing on the Mississippi?
     
  15. rush_60

    rush_60 New Member

    Messages:
    1,719
    State:
    Troy, KS
    Steve, if your fishing in Leavenworth, you can stop in St. Joseph, Mo, and get your bait. They have 3 bait shops in town. You will be passing right through St. Joe and it is less than an hour from leavenworth. And if you go to the tourney and need a partner let me know I might be interested, and I'll throw in some $$ for gas.
     
  16. kmcalester

    kmcalester Active Member

    Messages:
    1,340
    State:
    Kansas City
    This is some great info.
     
  17. rush_60

    rush_60 New Member

    Messages:
    1,719
    State:
    Troy, KS
    Something else I thought of is that if your fishing the MO near St. Joe your only 3 1/2 hours from the mississippi river at hannibal, mo. so If the missouri is bad the miss might be good. Just depends on how much you want to drive.
     
  18. lbaker3

    lbaker3 New Member

    Messages:
    275
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas
    Kaw point is definitely THE place to put in at in KC, in my opinion.
    But FYI, one other option from Levenworth would be the Schimmel City access in Farley. It is around 15 minutes or so from Levenworth. It is actually access to the Platte river which is a tributary to the Missouri. Probably a half mile boat ride to the Missouri. I have put in there a couple of times. It's not a bad spot. Here is a thread with more info on it.
    http://www.catfish1.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44940&highlight=schimmel

    I have fished at Levenworth a few times and caught fish there. Stopped putting in there a couple of years ago though because of the ramp. It doesn't extend far enough into the river and there is a 6+ inch drop off the end of it. So unless the river is up pretty high, it can be tough on the trailer. Could be that it is fixed by now, but I wouldn't count on it.
     
  19. comanchero

    comanchero New Member

    Messages:
    119
    State:
    Minnesota
    Thanks for the information about the Leavenworth ramp. Sounds like Kaw Point is the place to go. I appreciate everybody's comments and help -

    Just watched our local weather for the Twin Cities next week. High temps of 0 with lows of -14 degrees. We are in for a long, cold winter. I'm definitely going to head your direction in April or May. We will probably have ice until the middle of April.