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9 hours ago, rps said:

I researched this very issue. I finally concluded Table Rock and Beaver and Stockton were what I cal "put and take" lakes. What I caught was the result of stocking an no amount of catch and release would help in the future.

I take what I want, within the legal limit, and I do not worry about it.

 

 

I think I like this answer the best, and it puts food on my table. 

Think about this too, in regard to the length limit..what lake in the above mentioned comment would give a fisherman the best chance to take a limit of walleye home ?

My money is on Stockton.

I don't know if it is just me but I seem to be catching bigger fish. Maybe I have eaten my way through some of the 17 inchers.

interesting discussion, every time    

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Catch and release v food on the table is and has been a "touchy" subject on this website. I fish for walleyes primarily at Stockton for a tasty meal. Plus, the challenge of catching those critters! But for some reason i release all walleyes over 20 inches. I think I just see this as such a beautiful fish I cant bring myself to keep it for a meal. But 15 to 20 inches I will keep. Mr Bass is a different story. I release all bass. I might keep some white bass to eat every now and then. I have advocated they reduce the length limit to 12 inches for spotted bass. I have heard they taste pretty good. But now you got fishermen that are not real knowledgeable about the difference between the spot and the Largemouth. I was bringing in some whites, crappies and a couple of walleye to clean at Mutton Creek Marina last year and there was two "old boys" with a 5 gallon bucket that had 6 or 7 LM bass in it and all were around 3 lbs! It broke my heart to see these fish headed for the cleaning table. But these guys were totally legal in what they were doing and who am i to say they are "wrong" in what they are doing. But the LM does not get stocked in Stockton like the walleye. We need them to have a successful spawning season. If you keep bass to eat please dont be mad here. I realize its just a matter of opinion. And my wife always tells me mine isnt right!!

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I believe walleye do spawn in Stockton but the success rate of the fry making it to maturity is probably less than 2%. the amount of prime spawning  grounds are very limited in Stockton lake. I personally think this is due to silt on the bottom and the lake clarity. Even in perfect conditions a 10% survival rate is great for most fish species. without the stocking walleye would be pretty spotty in the lake. again this is only my opinion.

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From all my years of targeting walleyes exclusively, being involved in walleye associations and tournaments, researching and talking to biologists (Tim Payne was the MDC biologist in charge of Stockton walleye, last I knew, but it's been awhile), this is my understanding:

Yes, walleyes spawn in Stockton. Every year, without fail.

Yes, the fry hatch.

No, there is not significant "recruitment" due to lake conditions. Most of the fry starve.

Some fry survive, but the number is teensy. Far less than 1% annually, and some years it's zero.

Only in years with extended high water will there be any significant fry survival. One year actually had a 25% recruitment rate, but that's a very rare occurrence--perhaps only once in a generation.

Therefore, Stockton is managed as a put-and-take lake. Walleyes are stocked every other year, with no expectation of reproduction. The length limit was lowered to 15", the statewide minimum, to satisfy anglers.

There is no closed season on walleye in Missouri. This is not Walleye Country, and never has been. Sorry, I can no longer provide any verification for these statements--I moved to Florida a year and a half ago--so believe, or don't. I still get to fish Stockton occasionally.

----------

Meanwhile, I agree with Dan: there are more 20"-plus walleyes in Stockton now than there ever were. I don't really know why, since even with the increased angler interest and success these days, the catch rate hasn't suffered.

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I have fished Stockton for many years and remember when the length limit was 18. During that time I would have many days of great numbers [40 plus] but few to eat maybe 3 or 4 in a 3 day trip. If I were setting the length limit I would put it at 16 the thickness of a 16 compared to a 15 inch really makes a difference in my opinion. I to look at Stockton as a put and take fishery.  It takes me 4 plus hours to reach Stockton  and I love to catch and eat walleye I would probably release a trophy walleye over 25 inches but those 20's eat well.  Thanks to all for an interesting read and points of view, hope to meet some of you guys on the water.

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Here's to you 18 inch length limit guys.This is kinda funny.... for years I thought the length limit on Stockton was 18" I couldn't tell you how many "short" fish were tossed back outta my boat. Then 3 summers ago a friends son wasn't happy about me releasing his "short" 17 inch walleye, I argued it had to be 18 inches. He looked it up on the phone I found out I was wrong and now him his Dad and his brother feel that I should be reminded that the length limit on Stockton is 15 inches every time they see a walleye. 

It used to be 18 inches. Not sure when they changed it to 15. 

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From all my years of targeting walleyes exclusively, being involved in walleye associations and tournaments, researching and talking to biologists (Tim Payne was the MDC biologist in charge of Stockton walleye, last I knew, but it's been awhile), this is my understanding:

Yes, walleyes spawn in Stockton. Every year, without fail.

Yes, the fry hatch.

No, there is not significant "recruitment" due to lake conditions. Most of the fry starve.

Some fry survive, but the number is teensy. Far less than 1% annually, and some years it's zero.

Only in years with extended high water will there be any significant fry survival. One year actually had a 25% recruitment rate, but that's a very rare occurrence--perhaps only once in a generation.

Therefore, Stockton is managed as a put-and-take lake. Walleyes are stocked every other year, with no expectation of reproduction. The length limit was lowered to 15", the statewide minimum, to satisfy anglers.

There is no closed season on walleye in Missouri. This is not Walleye Country, and never has been. Sorry, I can no longer provide any verification for these statements--I moved to Florida a year and a half ago--so believe, or don't. I still get to fish Stockton occasionally.

----------

Meanwhile, I agree with Dan: there are more 20"-plus walleyes in Stockton now than there ever were. I don't really know why, since even with the increased angler interest and success these days, the catch rate hasn't suffered.

That is my understanding as well, yes they spawn, meaning they lay their eggs but the survival is extremely low, so.low as to be non existent most years.  I believe the walleye fry eat zooplankton until they are large enough to eat insects and other fry.  Stockton being a clear water lake likely has a lower amount of zooplankton available. 

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"That is my understanding as well, yes they spawn, meaning they lay their eggs but the survival is extremely low, so.low as to be non existent most years.  I believe the walleye fry eat zooplankton until they are large enough to eat insects and other fry.  Stockton being a clear water lake likely has a lower amount of zooplankton available."

I never could figure that one out, MOP. Other species fry have the same dietary needs. I suppose it's more a matter of seasonal timing (water temp), location, fluctuations in early spring water levels, and sheer numbers. Vegetation would help, but though they tried, MDC never could get aquatic weeds established in Stockton.

I refused to fish for pre-spawn/spawn eyes, but because of the lack of natural spawn success there's really no good reason for that beyond my northern prejudices. The rest of the year,  I would keep fish up to about 22-23" for the table, but release everything larger. That wasn't a terribly frequent issue on Stockton for me. Over the years, I doubt I caught more than 12 or 15 that were 24" and larger.

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