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  1. Ha! Warms my heart like the Florida sunshine. Cheers, MrG!
  2. Well, imagine that! I sneak by the old board for the first time in awhile, and see rps spouting my name. Hello to all! Most of my fishing down here in South Florida has been in the ICW, wading and using walleye-ish spinning gear to toss little jigs for trout and snook. Saltwater fish fight hard! They're a blast to catch on light tackle. So I move away, and suddenly Stockton is growing nice fish--go figure. I do miss chasing walleyes and crappies on Stockton, Bull, and TR. One of my old buddies has been whacking the big crappies at Stockton for a month and a half, and his reports (they limited again today) have me missing my old boat and the Ozarks. My biggest Stockton eye was only 26", caught on a Jigging Rap in 48 fow in late December. I did much better on big fish on the other lakes; they were hard to come by on Stockton. Still it's nice to see more folks fishing for eyes now, and having some luck. I stop by occasionally to see how the walleye chasers are doing. Good health and great fishing to all! Mike
  3. It's a whole different world, S. Mostly fishing inshore. It's fun, but my opportunities are limited and I still have a lot to learn. Your poultry still in motion?
  4. Most of the walleye guys use drift socks to slow their trolling speed. Although I work for Bass Pro, I found the ones at Academy Sports to be much cheaper and easier to use. There are different sizes, calibrated to boat length. Extremely simple, effective and trouble-free--just add a few feet of rope so that when open, the bag runs just under the surface, and tie to a forward cleat on each side of the boat. With my 16' boat with 40hp, I was able to get down to about 0.6 mph, plenty slow for bottom bouncing. Well made, durable, quick to dry--and running two bags helps stabilize the bow in rough water or a crosswind, too. Here's the link: https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/marine-raider-small-drift-anchor#repChildCatid=3795027 About $25-$30 total setup cost. They'll put them on sale at times. I ended up giving away my expensive Drift Control socks, as these were much more to my liking. Hope that helps someone. Mike
  5. How to catch spring walleyes in high muddy water? I have no idea, and I don't know anyone who does. But a slow-trolled Rattlin' Hot'NTot sounds like it'd be worth a try! It's an aggressive lure that works at slow speed, crashes off rocks and has a flashy metal lip--maybe easier for the eyes to locate and nab???
  6. Had some buddies who were pretty good at trolling up nice Stockton walleyes in Jan-Feb-early March. They were targeting 50', but it wasn't easy. As in, running 10 colors of leadcore with a 6" Reef Runner deep diver. (Leadcore has a point of diminishing returns due to water drag and line belly.) Talk about hard on the wrists when pulling up! Looking back, a 3-oz. inline or snap weight would've been much easier than all that leadcore. But it worked, and they caught some nice limits trolling the lower lake main and secondary points. I jumped in a couple times--all I can say is, you really had to want it. Note that the best trolling of the year up north (Great Lakes especially) is in the cold water of late fall. The closer to ice-up, the slower the troll speed, and the better the bite. I even caught an 18"-plus crappie while trolling for eyes in Little Bay de Noc one November. Didn't even know there were crappies in L. Michigan. I never would fish for eyes between 3/1 and 4/15 down in MO, as I didn't like the idea of fishing for pre-spawn walleyes. But come mid-April in a warm spring, the crankbait trolling bite would definitely be on--not so much in a cool spring. Stick with bouncers or jigs then.
  7. Dan - after next week's cold front it'll be game on, with the dip in water temp. Look in places where the channel runs against a bluff or (harder to find, but golden) brushes against an underwater point. Pay close attention to any turns in those areas. This time of year, I'd be looking at 30-60 feet. Deep brush can hold the fish, but it's not needed. Just look for the schools, and drop your spoon on 'em. Don't know if you ever saw this from a while back, but here's my take on winter fishing at Stockton: I live in Florida now, but might get on the water there over the holidays--looking forward to it. I really miss this type of fishing! Good luck, Mike
  8. WCB, I arrived and started fishing Stockton in '98, so that's as far back as my experience can take me. However, just about everybody then told me that for years while the limit was 18", they caught tons of 17" but few over 18". That's about all I know on that, so if I've made some erroneous assumptions, I apologize. My walleye mentor was John Estes, a crotchety old lake rat and self-proclaimed walleye-hugger who refused to keep any caught eyes. He fished from a "tub," a big old Lund Tyee with an Evinrude, that he painted dull gray later on. That guy won quite a few walleye tourneys on Stockton...invented the Glyde Ryde suspensions for boat seats and marketed them to PWT pros...maybe you know him? John's had a stroke and can hardly ever get out fishing anymore, which just about sucks the life out of him. Pretty sad. Nobody ever loved Stockton walleyes more than he does.
  9. Same screen name, different guy.
  10. Thanks Mike and B. We discussed the genetics thing pretty well with a 300 or 400 post monster thread over on the Upper Bull forum about 4 years ago or so. That was a fun conversation. Not sure I'm a believer in the "southern strain." Certainly it's not as big a deal as northern and Florida strain largemouths. Quebec's record is like 22-4. The Columbia River, various Western reservoirs, Lake Tobin in Saskatchewan, etc. have all produced fish around 20 lbs. I think environment has more to do with fish growth than genetics. At any rate, Stockton is managed for put-n-take. With more fish being stocked, and more keepers being harvested due to increased angler interest and knowledge, it seems Stockton is developing a more traditional size range profile, with quite a few more fish in the 20's (inches) than there ever have been. To me, that's a good thing. If it keeps trending that way (and the forage base holds), we should see more 30 inchers show up as the years go by. Assuming the once-a-year meat hogs don't yank 'em all in February and March.
  11. Gary Parsons said he believed Table Rock had the best chance to produce a world record. He felt the original genetics hadn't been diluted as much as in some of the other lakes, and the lack of pressure and the huge forage base could combine to produce a real monster or two. His idea was that a truly huge eye in Table Rock would stay deep all the time. Johnnie Candle said a 20+ lb. walleye would not be likely to respond to "normal" walleye tactics. That 20-inch eater you caught would be "brunch" to a walleye that size. He suggested a major change in tactics for those looking to catch a record. Seems to me the early spring bass tourneys on Bull Shoals pretty much show how it could be done--jerkbaits on the lower lake points in March. Don't know how that would translate to Table Rock, aka Bass City, but it definitely works at Stockton.
  12. "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.
  13. 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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