Mark Twain Lake Fishing Report: Your Guide to Cannon Dam Fishing

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on fishing at Mark Twain Lake, specifically focusing on the Cannon Dam area. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a

Jeffrey Fosse

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on fishing at Mark Twain Lake, specifically focusing on the Cannon Dam area. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner looking to enjoy a relaxing day on the water, this article will provide you with all the necessary information to make your fishing experience truly memorable.

Mark Twain Lake, located in northeastern Missouri, is a haven for fishing enthusiasts. With its vast expanse of water spanning over 18,000 acres, this reservoir offers a diverse range of fish species and breathtaking scenic beauty. Among the various fishing spots around the lake, Cannon Dam stands out as a prime location, renowned for its abundance of fish and picturesque surroundings.

Best Time to Fish at Cannon Dam

Summary: Discover the optimal fishing seasons and times to maximize your catch at Cannon Dam. Learn about the different fish species available and their behavior patterns throughout the year.

Fishing Seasons at Mark Twain Lake

Mark Twain Lake experiences four distinct fishing seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Each season presents unique fishing opportunities and challenges.

In spring, as the water temperature begins to rise, fish become more active and move closer to the shore. This is an excellent time for bass fishing, as largemouth and smallmouth bass can be found near the shoreline, feeding on smaller fish and insects.

During the summer months, fishing at Cannon Dam can be more challenging due to the increased boat traffic and recreational activities. However, early mornings and late evenings are still productive for catching bass, crappie, and catfish.

As fall arrives, the water temperature starts to cool down, triggering fish to feed more aggressively in preparation for the winter months. This is an ideal time to target crappie, walleye, and white bass, as they can be found in larger schools near submerged structures.

Winter fishing at Cannon Dam requires a different approach. As the water gets colder, fish tend to move to deeper areas. Ice fishing becomes popular during this time, with anglers targeting crappie, bluegill, and catfish.

Fish Species at Cannon Dam

Cannon Dam offers a wide variety of fish species, ensuring a diverse angling experience. Some of the popular species found in the area include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish, walleye, white bass, and bluegill.

Largemouth bass are abundant in Cannon Dam and provide an exciting challenge for anglers. These fish can be found near submerged structures, such as fallen trees and brush piles. Using techniques like topwater lures or plastic worms can yield great results.

Smallmouth bass, known for their aggressive nature and strong fights, are also present in Cannon Dam. They prefer rocky areas and can be caught using crankbaits, spinnerbaits, or jigs.

Crappie is another popular species at Cannon Dam, especially during the spring and fall seasons. They tend to congregate around submerged structures and can be caught using live minnows, jigs, or small crankbaits.

Catfish are plentiful in the lake and can be caught using a variety of baits, such as stinkbaits, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers. Targeting deeper areas or near the dam can increase your chances of success.

Walleye and white bass are sought after by anglers looking for a delicious meal. These species can be caught using live bait, such as minnows or nightcrawlers, or by trolling with crankbaits or spinnerbaits.

Bluegill, a smaller but abundant species, can be found near the shoreline and can be caught using small jigs, worms, or crickets. They provide great fun for beginners or families looking to enjoy a day of fishing.

Equipment and Tackle Recommendations

Summary: Get expert advice on the essential fishing gear, including rods, reels, lines, and baits, required for a successful fishing outing at Cannon Dam. Find out about the specific equipment recommended for different fishing techniques.

Rods and Reels

Choosing the right rod and reel combination is crucial for a successful fishing trip. For bass fishing at Cannon Dam, a medium to medium-heavy spinning or baitcasting rod, paired with a matching reel, is recommended. This setup provides the necessary strength and sensitivity to handle the aggressive strikes and fights of largemouth and smallmouth bass.

For crappie fishing, a light to ultralight spinning rod and reel combo is ideal. This allows for precise and delicate presentations, especially when using small jigs or live minnows.

When targeting catfish or walleye, a medium to medium-heavy spinning or baitcasting rod is suitable. Opt for a reel with a smooth drag system to handle the powerful runs of these species.

For bluegill or panfish, a light or ultralight spinning rod with a small reel is sufficient. These small fish require finesse techniques, and a lighter setup enhances the thrill of the catch.

Fishing Lines

The choice of fishing line depends on the target species and fishing technique. For bass fishing, a monofilament or fluorocarbon line with a test strength of 10-14 pounds is recommended. These lines provide a good balance between strength and sensitivity.

When targeting crappie or bluegill, a lighter line with a test strength of 4-8 pounds is more suitable. Lighter lines allow for better sensitivity and presentation of small baits.

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For catfish or walleye, a stronger line with a test strength of 14-20 pounds is advised. These species can put up a strong fight, and a heavier line ensures better control and landing of the fish.

Baits and Lures

The choice of baits and lures depends on the target species and fishing technique. For bass fishing, popular lure choices include crankbaits, spinnerbaits, soft plastic worms, and topwater lures. Experimenting with different colors and sizes can help determine the most effective lure for the day.

When targeting crappie, jigs in various colors and sizes are the go-to bait. Pairing them with live minnows can increase your chances of success. Small crankbaits or inline spinners can also be effective in attracting crappie.

Catfish are often caught using stinkbaits, chicken livers, or nightcrawlers. These baits have strong scents that attract catfish from a distance. Using a slip sinker rig or a bottom rig with a circle hook is recommended for catfish fishing.

Walleye and white bass can be enticed with live bait, such as minnows or nightcrawlers. Trolling with crankbaits or spinnerbaits can also yield good results, especially when covering larger areas of water.

For bluegill or panfish, small jigs, worms, or crickets are preferred. These small baits mimic the natural food sources of bluegill and entice them to bite.

Fishing Techniques for Cannon Dam

Summary: Learn about the various fishing techniques that work best at Cannon Dam. From casting and trolling to fly fishing and ice fishing, this section covers it all, providing you with step-by-step instructions and tips for each method.


Casting is a versatile and widely used fishing technique at Cannon Dam. It involves accurately casting your bait or lure to a specific location, such as near submerged structures or along the shoreline. Here’s a step-by-step guide to casting:

  1. Select the appropriate rod and reel combination for your target species and fishing technique.


Trolling is an effective technique for covering large areas of water at Cannon Dam. It involves trailing your bait or lure behind a moving boat. Here’s how to troll effectively:

Fly Fishing

Fly fishing is a popular technique for targeting various fish species at Cannon Dam. It involves using lightweight artificial flies made of feathers, fur, and other materials to mimic natural food sources. Here’s a beginner’s guide to fly fishing:

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Ice Fishing

Ice fishing at Cannon Dam provides a unique angling experience during the winter months. Here’s a guide to ice fishing:

  1. Ensure the ice thickness is safe for ice fishing. Consult local authorities or experienced ice anglers for information on ice conditions and safety protocols.

Locating Hotspots at Cannon Dam

Summary: Uncover the hidden gems and prime fishing locations at Cannon Dam. This section will guide you on how to identify underwater structures, drop-offs, and other factors that attract fish, ensuring a rewarding fishing experience.

Underwater Structures

Understanding the underwater structures at Cannon Dam can significantly increase your chances of locating fish. Look for areas with submerged trees, brush piles, or rock formations. These structures provide cover and ambush points for fish, making them ideal feeding areas.

Use a fishfinder or depth sounder to locate underwater structures. These devices will help you identify changes in depth, underwater contours, and areas with a higher concentration of fish.

Pay attention to areas where the depth changes abruptly, such as drop-offs or ledges. These transition zones create opportunities for fish to move between shallow and deep water, offering excellent fishing spots.

Shoreline Features

The shoreline features at Cannon Dam can also provide productive fishing areas. Look for points, coves, or areas with submerged vegetation. These features attract baitfish and provide cover for larger predator fish.

Points are areas where the shoreline juts out into the water. They create natural funnels for fish, concentrating them in a smaller area. Target the deeper water around points, as fish often hold in these areas to ambush prey.

Coves or bays are sheltered areas along the shoreline. They provide calmer waters and can be hotspots for feeding fish. Pay attention to areas with submerged vegetation or fallen trees within coves, as these offer additional cover for fish.

Currents and Inflow Areas

Cannon Dam has inflow areas where water enters the lake. These areas often have increased current and can attract fish seeking food and oxygen-rich water. Look for inflow areas near the dam or where tributaries enter the lake.

When fishing near inflow areas, cast your bait or lure upstream and allow it to drift naturally with the current. Fish tend to position themselves in these areas, facing upstream to intercept passing prey.

Weather and Seasonal Factors

Consider the impact of weather and seasonal factors on fish behavior at Cannon Dam. During warmer months, fish may move to deeper, cooler areas to seek refuge from the heat. In cooler months, they may be more active and move to shallower areas to feed.

Pay attention to wind patterns and the effect they have on the water. Wind can push baitfish closer to the shore, attracting predator fish in pursuit. Target windward shorelines or areas where wind creates current or wave action.

Observe the water temperature and its effect on fish activity. Use a thermometer to measure the water temperature at different depths. Fish are more likely to be active and feeding when the water temperature is within their preferred range.

Safety Tips and Regulations

Summary: Prioritize safety during your fishing trip with our comprehensive guide on safety measures and regulations specific to Cannon Dam. Learn about boating regulations, life jacket requirements, and other essential tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable time on the water.

Boating Safety

When boating at Cannon Dam, it is essential to prioritize safety to prevent accidents and ensure a pleasant fishing experience. Follow these boating safety tips:

  • Always wear a properly fitted life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) when on the water. Ensure that everyone onboard has a suitable PFD.
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Fishing Regulations

It is crucial to adhere to fishing regulations and guidelines to protect the fishery and ensure its sustainability. Familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations specific to Cannon Dam, including:

  • Obtain a valid fishing license from the appropriatestate agency before fishing at Cannon Dam. Make sure to carry your fishing license with you at all times and follow the specified catch limits and size restrictions for each species.
  • Respect the catch-and-release practices to preserve the fish population. Handle fish gently and minimize their time out of the water. Use proper dehooking techniques to release fish unharmed.
  • Dispose of any trash or fishing line properly to prevent pollution and harm to wildlife. Leave the fishing area cleaner than you found it.
  • Report any illegal fishing activities or violations to the appropriate authorities. Help protect the fishery and maintain a fair and sustainable fishing environment.

Personal Safety

Ensure your personal safety while fishing at Cannon Dam by following these tips:

  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the weather conditions and terrain. Protect yourself from sun exposure, insects, and other potential hazards.

Local Fishing Guides and Charters

Summary: If you’re new to fishing or simply want to enhance your experience, consider hiring a local fishing guide or charter service. This section provides information on reputable guides and charters that offer their expertise on fishing at Cannon Dam.

Local Fishing Guides

Hiring a local fishing guide can greatly enhance your fishing experience at Cannon Dam. These guides have extensive knowledge of the lake, including the best fishing spots, techniques, and current conditions. They can provide valuable insights and tips to maximize your chances of catching fish.

Research local fishing guides who specialize in Mark Twain Lake and Cannon Dam. Look for guides with positive reviews and a proven track record of success. Contact them in advance to discuss your fishing preferences, availability, and any specific requirements you may have.

When booking a fishing guide, consider the following factors:

  • Experience and expertise in fishing at Cannon Dam
  • Availability and flexibility in scheduling
  • Equipment provided, including fishing gear and bait
  • Costs and payment terms
  • Any additional services offered, such as cleaning and packaging of fish

Charter Services

If you prefer a more structured and recreational fishing experience, charter services are an excellent option. Charter boats are typically larger and equipped with all the necessary fishing gear and equipment. They are operated by experienced captains who know the best fishing spots and techniques for Cannon Dam.

Charter services often offer half-day or full-day trips, providing an opportunity to explore different areas of the lake and target various fish species. They are suitable for individuals, families, or groups looking for a guided fishing adventure without the hassle of bringing their own boat and equipment.

Research reputable charter services operating on Mark Twain Lake and Cannon Dam. Read reviews and compare prices and services offered. Contact the charter service in advance to inquire about availability, fishing options, and any specific requirements you may have.

Additional Recreational Activities at Mark Twain Lake

Summary: Make the most of your visit to Mark Twain Lake by exploring the diverse recreational activities available. From camping and hiking to boating and wildlife spotting, this section highlights the various attractions that complement your fishing adventure.

Camping and Picnicking

Mark Twain Lake offers several campgrounds and picnic areas where you can relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings. Set up your tent or RV at one of the designated campgrounds and spend a night under the stars. Enjoy the tranquility of the lake, cook meals on the grill, and create lasting memories with family and friends.

Hiking and Nature Trails

Embark on a hiking adventure around Mark Twain Lake and explore the scenic nature trails. The lake area is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, turkey, and various bird species. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding forests, meadows, and wetlands as you hike through the trails.

Boating and Water Sports

Take advantage of the vast expanse of water at Mark Twain Lake by engaging in boating and water sports activities. Rent a boat, kayak, or paddleboard and explore the various coves, bays, and inlets. Enjoy water skiing, tubing, or wakeboarding for an adrenaline-filled experience. Don’t forget to follow the boating regulations and safety guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable time on the water.

Wildlife Viewing and Birdwatching

Mark Twain Lake is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers. With its diverse habitats, the lake area attracts a wide range of bird species, including bald eagles, herons, and waterfowl. Bring your binoculars and camera to capture the beauty of these feathered creatures in their natural habitat.

Scenic Drives and Overlooks

Explore the scenic beauty of Mark Twain Lake by taking a leisurely drive along the designated scenic routes. Stop at the various overlooks to admire the panoramic views of the lake, rolling hills, and lush forests. These scenic drives offer a relaxing and picturesque experience that complements your fishing adventure.

In conclusion, Mark Twain Lake’s Cannon Dam area offers a fantastic fishing experience for anglers of all levels. By utilizing the information provided in this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to plan your next fishing trip, ensuring a successful and enjoyable time on the water. Remember to always adhere to fishing regulations and safety guidelines to preserve this natural paradise for future generations.

Jeffrey Fosse Your Premier Destination for Fishing Enthusiasts. Discover Proven Tips, Tackle Reviews, and the Latest in Angling Techniques. Dive into the World of Fishing Excellence!

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