In the summer, Lake of the Ozarks buzzes with pontoons, powerboats, and PWCs. But the other three seasons are for anglers. Lake of the Ozarks has long been a popular fishing lake, but its prominence in the angling world is rising, and Bassmasters has named it the #1 bass lake in the U.S. Central region.

Bassmasters.com has quite a few "Best Of" lists for lakes: there's an overall Top 25 of the Decade (Lake of the Ozarks didn't make that one), but then they broke down each region of the U.S. and identified favorite fishing lakes. It's there that Missouri's gem (along with two other Missouri lakes) shines. Lake of the Ozarks was placed at #1 on the Best Central Bass Lakes Of The Decade list, viewable here. Also in Missouri, Bull Shoals took second place and Table Rock took fourth. Here's the full list:

Best Bass Lakes of the Decade – Central Region

1. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

2. Bull Shoals Lake, Arkansas/Missouri

3. Lake Ray Roberts, Texas

4. Table Rock Lake, Missouri

5. Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota

6. Lake Dardanelle, Arkansas

7. Rainy Lake, Minnesota

8. Lake Ouachita, Arkansas

9. Newton Lake, Illinois

10. Caddo Lake, Texas

With more than 100 linear miles, and approximately 1,150 miles of shoreline, Lake of the Ozarks hosts countless fishing tournaments every year. Largemouth and Kentucky bass are abundant in the Lake, and anglers chase them from the spawning beds to underwater shelves and back again, nearly year-round. Fewer anglers are seen on the Lake in the summertime, when the presence of vacationers gives the fish a vacation from fishing pressure too (though plenty of fishing still happens in the summer).

The Lake was a destination in Major League Fishing, in 2016. Annually, countless tournaments large and small, for charity events or for big winnings, are hosted at Lake of the Ozarks. The Lake draws thousands of eager amateur anglers twice a year for the Spring and Fall Big Bass Bash: a tournament that pays out $100,000 for the biggest fish of the weekend. Read more about fishing Lake of the Ozarks 12 months a year, in Shore Magazine.

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