Jack's Guide Service: fishing lake of the ozarks, guided fishing trips lake of the ozarks, guide trips lake of the ozarks, bass fishing lake of the ozarks, crappie fishing lake of the ozarks

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Bass and crappie are the primary target species on most of my trips.

Lake of the Ozarks Fishing Trips

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client and bass

orange shirt guy bass

gar caught on a lure

Thank you for your interest in my guided fishing trips on Lake of the Ozarks!

I primarily guide for bass and crappie, plus blue catfish in the summer. Lake of the Ozarks is a great lake for these species, but due to heavy pressure and the abundance of subtle structure in the lake, these fish aren't easy. Let me take the guesswork out of fishing the lake. Whether you're an avid fisherman with your own boat and gear who's looking to fish with me for a full day or several days to increase your knowledge of the lake or a first-timer eager to go catch your first fish on a four-hour trip, I'd love to take you fishing.

I've been fishing Lake of the Ozarks since the late 1980s, since I was a little kid. I started running guided fishing trips in 2003, and now spend at least 225 days a year fishing and guiding on Lake of the Ozarks, and usually many more. Unlike some of the other fishing guides on Lake of the Ozarks, my guide service is my sole occupation, so I am out there on the lake rain or shine. I've got a ton of semi-secret spots and plenty of tips and tricks that not many other guides know about. I'd love to show you some of these spots and tricks.

While bass, crappie, and catfish are my main quarries, I'm a true multi-species guide. In the fall when the wind is blowing I love to guide for white bass and hybrid stripers, and in the summer I'm one of only a few guides in the country who target longnose gar. Many people are doubtful when I suggest chasing gar, but I've made believers out of almost every client who has tried it. It's easy to switch from one species to another if one type of fish isn't biting or we want to switch it up. Because I know how to target all of the major gamefish in Lake of the Ozarks, it's almost certain at least one species will be biting well when you're here.

My Lake of the Ozarks fishing trips take place primarily in the Osage Beach, Lake Ozark, Linn Creek, Camdenton, and Laurie areas of the lake, from mile marker 45 down to Bagnell Dam. I occasionally run trips on the Niangua, upper Osage, Gravois, or Grand Glaize arms of the lake upon request or if the fishing is really hot in one of these areas. I run all of my Lake of the Ozarks trips in my 21-foot Nitro Z9 Bass Boat. This boat has plenty of room and handles the big waves common in Lake of the Ozarks much better than a smaller boat.

Special note to fly anglers: Lake of the Ozarks isn't a great place to fly fish, but some opportunities exist for crappie, panfish, gar, and bass. Fishing for gar and bass in the summer are particularly good options. While I don't fly fish much on the Lake of the Ozarks myself, I am familiar enough with it and have guided enough fly fishers that I can tailor a trip for you as long as you're flexible and fairly skilled. Please read this article or contact me for more details if you'd like to fly fish, since there are some differences in what my trips include for fly fishers versus for conventional gear anglers.

The posted rates are for one or two people. I may be able to line up additional guides if you have a larger group, and on occasion I can take a third person in one boat for an additional fee. Read on past the rates and policies if you are curious about guided trips I offer to destinations other than Lake of the Ozarks, or if you have a large or corporate group.

nitro z-9 boats

Trip Lengths, Rates, and Policies

Trip Lengths and Rates


4-Hour Trip----------------$400

6-Hour Trip----------------$600

8-Hour Trip----------------$800

I offer four-hour half-day trips, six-hour 3/4-day trips, and eight-hour full-day trips. In the summer, I often run evening four-hour trips. If you're interested in chasing a variety of fish species or learning several techniques, the longer trips are better. Generally my 6-hour fishing trips on Lake of the Ozarks are the most popular trips I offer. These are great options if you have other plans during the day but still want to get out on the water. Rates are the same whether we fish Lake of the Ozarks or take a trip to one of my secondary guide trip locations discussed further down this page. For information on what's included in these rates, see the what's included section.

As you've probably already noticed, my rates are given in the list to the right. I accept cash, personal checks, and major credit cards. I accept credit card payments through Paypal or by swiping your card with a phone app, provided I have a signal. If you would like to pre-pay for your trip via Paypal, click the button below the trip that interests you.

Deposit and Cancellation Policy

My deposit policy is as follows: I require a $50 deposit per trip to confirm the booking and hold the date. You can mail me a check or use the Paypal button to your right to pay this deposit. This deposit is refundable no questions asked more than 14 days before the trip and will be refunded between 14 days and 48 hours before the trip if I am able to rebook. You can also pre-pay for the entire trip if that's easier (see the buttons above). I require full payment for trips cancelled within 48 hours and for "no-shows." This is simply to protect myself since it's almost impossible for me to rebook a trip cancelled within two days.

I almost never cancel trips due to inclement weather. You should be prepared to fish regardless of weather. The only weather conditions that might cause a cancellation are thunderstorms forecast to last all day and sustained winds over 30mph that are forecast to continue. More commonly, inclement weather will lead to short delays in getting started or to me picking a fishing spot that's somewhat protected from the weather. Ice or extreme cold (below 20 degrees) might also lead to weather cancellations, but these are exceedingly rare situations that happen less than once per season.

Keeping Fish

Some of the fish I target on my guided trips are prolific, but many are not. Generally speaking, I suggest practicing catch and release on largemouth and smallmouth bass as well as catfish over two feet in length, though if you catch a trophy bass you intend to mount, that's a different story. A few small spotted (or Kentucky) bass may be kept. You may keep other species within the legal limits if you want to. Crappie are the main fish my clients keep. There will be a small additional fee for fish cleaning. Please ask for details if you would like to keep some.

What's Included and What Isn't

I include the following: rods and reels ready to fish, all necessary lures and terminal tackle, bait when we're fishing for catfish, bottled water, and all required boating items like a net, fuel, life jackets, etc. If there's a very young child in your group, you may need to bring a life jacket for him or her.

You should plan to bring: personal fishing licenses (purchase online here) raingear, a hat, polarized sunglasses (it is VERY important you have polarized sunglasses), extra clothing, sunscreen, a camera, drinks besides water, snacks, and live bait (if you choose to use bait). You can also bring one or two of your own rods and reels if you have favorites as well as a few favorite lures. Let me know what kind of tackle and lures you have when you book and I'll let you know if they're appropriate for fishing Lake of the Ozarks. There's no need to bring a ton of tackle, big tackle boxes, or large backpacks. My boat has plenty of dry storage to hold everything you bring provided you don't go overboard with tackle boxes, tons of extra clothes, etc. Make sure to bring raingear and a spare layer or two.

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fish from osage below bagnell

Above: Osage River bass. Below: Niangua Lake Bass. Bottom: A pair of winter smallmouth from the Gasconade

niangua lake bass

gasconade river smallmouth

Guided Fishing Trips to Other Bodies of Water

Are you looking for a change of pace? Are you interested in getting away from the heavy boat traffic on Lake of the Ozarks? Are you interested in a river bass fishing experience? If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, perhaps a trip to one of the other locations where I guide makes sense for you. While Lake of the Ozarks guided fishing trips will always be the core of my business, I also guide on several other nearby rivers and lakes when conditions or the interests of my clients warrant it.

The Osage River downstream of Bagnell Dam seasonally offers great bass fishing, as well as some chances at white bass and hybrid stripers, without the crowds above the dam. Some surprisingly large bass come from this section of river. Since Bagnell Dam is nearby, it's possible to split your day between Lake of the Ozarks and the Osage. I run trips on the Osage in my Nitro bass boat.

Niangua Lake is a small reservoir on the Niangua River, a small Ozark River that feeds into Lake of the Ozarks. This small reservoir has a horsepower limit, so I guide this water from a small jon boat. Spotty but occasionally fantastic bass and crappie fishing await on this lake, and it's never crowded.

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Corporate and Large Group Trips

Are you having a family reunion or corporate retreat at the lake? If so, why not add some fishing? As long as I have sufficient notice, I can contract with other Lake of the Ozarks fishing guides to set up an outing for as many as twenty people, with two anglers per guide.

My contract guides and I will do everything we can to make these trips fun for everyone, no matter how much fishing experience each client has. Usually I run large group fishing trips like miniature, goofy tournaments, with awards for the biggest fish, the biggest stringer, and oddball categories like ugliest and smallest fish.

Since these trips involve a lot more work than my usual single-boat trips, I charge an additional fee of $100 to set up multi-boat trips. When you book a large group fishing trip on Lake of the Ozarks, I will need a fairly accurate estimate of the number of people involved 14 days in advance to get the guides lined up. 5 days in advance the number of clients needs to be locked in. Total guide fees will be based on this number, even if fewer people decide to fish on the day of the trip.

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