Most people think that the only kind of walleye fishing available to Missouri anglers is that which reside in big reservoirs. They assume that you must have a large boat with a big motor, and maybe even a downrigger or two to catch walleye in the Ozarks. This is far from the case, however. Several Ozark streams have excellent populations of walleye. All you need to catch them is a medium action rod, some nightcrawlers, minnows, or crankbaits. A canoe or jon boat will help your chances significantly, but it is by no means necessary.
The walleye fishing on the Current River is extremely overlooked. There are some huge (possibly even world record), fish available to the angler, and overall numbers aren’t bad either. Yet, almost everyone focuses on smallmouth bass, and very few target walleye. The best walleye fishing is generally between the towns of Van Buren and Doniphan. The walleye fishing is generally best below Big Spring, which is located several miles downstream of Van Buren. Spinners, jigs, and minnows tend to work very well. It is important to use a lot of weight to get your lure or bait to the bottom.
The Black River below Clearwater Dam is another excellent walleye fishery. The first fifteen to twenty miles below the dam is usually best. Fishing is generally very similar to the Current River, although the river is significantly larger, and less clear. This river lends itself very well to live bait presentations, with nightcrawlers, and minnows topping the list. Besides walleye, spotted bass and largemouth bass can be found in good numbers.
The Meramec River used to be a world known walleye fishery, but it has declined somewhat in the last twenty years. With that said some areas of the river still hold very fishable populations of Walleye. There is no doubt that the walleye fishing won’t be as good as the Black River or the Current, but the population is fairly strong between Pacific and Fenton. The same bait and lures apply as on the other rivers. Spotted Bass, largemouth bass, bream, and catfish are there in good numbers to save the day if the walleye won’t cooperate.
This article only mentions the best of the walleye rivers in Missouri. Other streams with Walleye populations include the Gasconade River, Bourbeuse River, James River, and the Des Moines River. So get out and give Ozark river walleye a try. You just might like it.