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Sam

Fishing Buddy
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Everything posted by Sam

  1. We haven't gone around Pro Tem, but partner and I have made two trips recently out of K Dock, trying to fish for crappie and walleye. Zip on the walleyes, and we've really had to work hard for a few keeper crappie. (They're all black crappie, and most of the ones we caught were a little short.) Water temp was 77 a few days ago, and clarity was good. Lake level was 657 the last I looked. We think the lake level needs to stay steady and stabilize for a little while, as it was brought down so fast recently - and once that happens fishing should improve a lot. We keep thinking about all the fish in there that didn't get any fishing pressure most of this year while the water was so ridiculously high. If we can get a stable, normal water level for awhile now, there should be some good fishing before winter sets in.
  2. Yes. Partner and I have been fishing Stockton once a week, and a couple of trips back I let him keep the crappie and I brought home fresh filets from one keeper walleye, two medium-size white bass, and two drums that were about 15" long. Earlier this summer I bought a box at Lowe's containing two "non-stick Copper-Infused Grill Mats" for $10. Those things are great - they unroll side-by-side to cover my Pit Boss Pellet Grill, they keep food from falling or dripping through the grill, and grill marks get on the food right through the mats. Using those, I've been grilling fish filets and they turn out so good I doubt that we'll ever bread-and-fry fish again. It's gotta be healthier for us, too. My wife coats the filets with butter, a little olive oil, seasoned salt, and pepper. I heat the pellet grill to 350 degrees and give the filets about 2 or 3 minutes on each side depending on size. As soon as the meat turns white and will flake apart they're done - cook 'em more than that they'll get tough (especially the drum). That batch of fish was absolutely great, and it's hard to believe but we couldn't really tell any difference in the taste of walleye, white bass, and drum - they were all real good. Drum meat does have a slightly chewy consistency like lobster but not the lobster flavor, so we could tell which it was that way.
  3. We're doing about the same. Partner and I had a strange, but still fun, trip on Thursday, Aug. 26. We stuck with brushpiles and got no walleyes this time but caught and released a tremendous number of barely-short crappie. We kept 26 keepers plus a couple of white bass, but we caught at least an 8-to-one ratio of shorts to keepers and finally quit when we ran out of minnows! It was hot and miserable, our clothes got covered with fish slime, and we're not complaining. We figure we caught over 200 fish between us and the majority were black crappie between 9" and 9 3/4". We didn't get to keep a single black, though the black crappie would have all outweighed white crappie of the same length. The white crappie caught ranged from 9" to 10 1/2", no "slabs" at all. We're wondering how long it will take these barely-short fish to grow to the legal length of 10" - some of them this year and before cold weather I'd think, and certainly before spring. We're strict about measuring, and there are a LOT of 9 15/16" fish in there that I turn back saying "Last time you're gonna get released, little fella!". How fast will they grow?
  4. Thanks for mentioning that. My family got me a Pit Boss Pellet Grill/Smoker a couple of years ago, and I absolutely love it. From pizza to tri-tip roasts to burgers to cornbread to whatever, I've made about everything on it. I even baked a peach pie that turned out good. Next drum I bring home, I'm gonna try me some drum filet nuggets on that wood pellet grill!
  5. Sam

    Boat trips

    No, we're fishing marked brushpiles in 18-22 f.o.w.. There wasn't much of a crappie spawn this spring, probably because of erratic temps and weather, and the fish got scattered, hard to find, and many females were re-absorbing their eggs. Now all that's about over and they are getting back into a normal summer pattern. If you're catching real little crappie, 6" or 7", you're fishing too shallow.
  6. Sam

    Boat trips

    Partner and I have been tearing up the crappie for the last few weeks, but no, they're in the brush. We figure we caught 70+ in about 6 hours one day last week, BUT only 12 of them were big enough to keep. Lots of the ones we're catching are just barely short - 9 1/2" to even 9 7/8", so close we think they may grow to legal size yet this year. Most of the few we're catching and keeping now are slabs, though, up to 13"+. There are very few of a size in between, right now they're either big (few) or too short (many). The good thing is that there are a WHOLE bunch of barely-short mostly-black crappie in the lake. Next year should be a good one!
  7. Thanks for the info about the (possibly) closed ramp. I added that COE number to my contacts and I'll use it to call. We've been launching at North Mutton Creek about once a week, and I like that ramp a lot. I'm kind of glad the south Mutton Creek ramp went private and started charging, which made us start using the north ramp. At both those ramps plus the one at Roark Bluff, though, I always give a thought to the knucklehead who thought it was a fine idea to put concrete curbs between launch lanes. Kind of like snakes, I don't have any trouble with the ones I can see - but those curbs do go underwater sometimes. LOL
  8. My wife and I ate lunch at Ichiban Buffet in Springfield again today, and it was excellent. For the first time ever, we got there right at 11 a.m., their opening time. The restaurant was getting full about the time we were done eating, but at first we had it almost to ourselves. All the buffet dishes had just been put out and the sushi chef was just finishing eight different kinds of fresh sushi rolls. I devoted my first buffet plate to all-sushi and got 2 pieces from each roll (burp). We're going to hit that place right at 11 a.m. in the future, as that worked out so well. The sushi and all the buffet dishes we tried were great and I found a new personal favorite - General Tso Chicken. I dunno who the general was, but apparently he had real good taste!
  9. I love sushi, but I'm not interested in the hi-filutin' kind - no raw fish for me. There are plenty of real good sushi rolls to suit my, I guess, "American" taste. They're not authentic Japanese I'm sure, but not gonna give me worms either. My wife and I really like Ichiban Buffet on the west side of Glenstone just south of Chestnut in Springfield, and we go there for lunch about once a month. The lunch buffet costs $8 (more at night) and the buffet includes about 40 dishes plus Mongolian BBQ and a salad bar. Also included is a counter in the west wall where a sushi chef is making and putting out sushi rolls cut into slices. Around 8 or 10 varieties of sushi are offered, and they're common Americanized ones like California Roll, Philadelphia Roll, Salmon Roll, Spicy Crab (my favorite), Dragon Roll, etc. They're all good in my opinion, and they're freshly made. I usually fill my first buffet plate with sushi then move on to the other dishes, but a person could certainly enjoy an all-sushi buffet if they wanted to. Many places charge almost $8 for one sushi roll, so I think the same price for all-you-can-eat sushi with lots of variety is a real good deal.
  10. Here's an article in Game and Fish Magazine with some drum recipes - it's pretty well known that they're good eating. We've tried the one that involves boiling bite-size pieces of drum fillets in Zatarain's Crab Boil, cajun-style. Good stuff! https://www.gameandfishmag.com/editorial/freshwater-drum-recipes/330372 In other news, I didn't catch any drum at Stockton Lake today, but I DID catch a bunch of crappie and my personal best-ever walleye, a male just over 25" long. We were slow-trolling 1/8 oz. white jigs tipped with minnows along rocky banks in 17-20 feet of water. I was lucky to get it in the boat on a light crappie pole with 4 lb. test line, and I'm still grinning about it. ☺️
  11. All my life I've sort of despised the Freshwater Drum, and I bet many here consider them a "trash fish" like I always did. I think it's because every Drum we catch is a disappointment at the time - they're a strong, hard-fighting fish that we struggle to get in, especially on light tackle. When I get ahold of one I always think I've got something GOOD hooked (thinking/hoping - "Well, it's strong as all get-out, it's not coming to the top like a bass, it's not fast like a white bass, not really jerking like a catfish, so maybe, just maybe, I've got a BIG walleye!"). Then I get it in and it turns out to be a dang Drum. ☹️ But I did a little thinking and then some online reading. Drum are the only freshwater members of the croaker family, and their two closest relatives are Redfish around Florida and the Gulf Coast and Yellow Croaker in the Pacific. I've caught both while saltwater fishing, and they're both good eating. Drum rib bones are NOT forked like those of carp and the meat isn't full of tiny bones like suckers, etc. They filet out like any normal fish, and the fillets are thick white meat with a good texture and mild flavor. There's a thin layer of darker meat on the outside of each filet that can be trimmed off if you want - I didn't. So, this spring and summer I've been keeping and filleting Drums when I catch them. My wife and I have frozen some and eaten some fresh, working our way through the many online recipes I've found. I'm not going to include links to recipes - just search for "freshwater drum recipes" and there's plenty. I've got orders from my wife to always bring Drum home now, and she describes the flavor as "a little like catfish but milder". We like 'em!
  12. It's over, but I think it hardly happened this year. Falling water temps in mid to late April really hurt the spawn, I believe. Two weeks ago we were catching some scattered, undersize male crappie in 9-10 feet of clear water in some of the coves - I think they were guarding a few nests back then, but they were not concentrated. Occasional keeper females at that time were widely scattered and on humps and ridges in deeper water. This past Thursday, the 13th, the two of us got limits of barely-legal walleyes and caught many more short walleyes. We caught 4 legal crappie, 11" to 13", in 18'-20' of very clear water plus about 10 short crappie. When we cleaned the four crappie we found they were one male and three females that were re-absorbing their eggs. There is no post-spawn crappie pattern going on that we can find.
  13. Thanks! I put it in my phone contacts. 🙂
  14. Does anyone here know the name or phone number of the small gas station / convenience store on Hwy. 76 about a half mile back toward Branson from the intersection of Hwy. 76 and K Hwy.? I want to call them and see if they have minnows for sale now. If we can find a day without much rain this week we're planning a crappie / walleye trip out of K Dock. I saw on the news last night that Bull Shoals is at 657', so that's about normal level now and they've really let the water down fast. Also, I heard an unverified report here in Ozark that two guys caught 25 crappie out of K Dock a couple of days ago, average length 11"! Except for a few walleye trolling trips around Swan Creek last February/March we haven't fished Bull Shoals for a LONG TIME. The water level has been so high for so long, those crappie have had a long break from fishermen.
  15. Sam

    Crappie, 10-7

    It's the high water levels on Bull Shoals that have driven us to Stockton the past few years. I'd much rather fish Upper Bull Shoals for crappie and walleyes like I used to - one big reason is that K Dock is 35 miles from my house and any place I can launch on Stockton is 70+ miles, plus I have to drive through Springfield traffic to get there. But the past few years the Corps has kept Bull Shoals 30-40 feet higher than normal and I can't catch a crappie when they're out in the woods somewhere. My trolling places for 18"+ Bull Shoals walleyes have mostly been under 50+ feet of water, so walleye fishing there is a bust too. But if they ever, EVER let the Bull Shoals water level get back to something near normal and fishable, I'll gladly spend my time there instead of at Stockton.
  16. My partner and I have been crappie fishing once or twice a week all this year, but I think it's about over for now. We had the strangest trip out of State Park on Wednesday, 10-7. We caught the most crappie ever, I'd guess we caught and released 90 to 100 crappie between us - and almost all of them were less than 10" long. We brought 5 keepers home, total, and they were about 10 1/2". Our many, many short fish were both black and white crappie and lots of them measured 9 7/8" - from there down to as little as 7". We're using minnows and ultra-light tackle on brushpiles, of course, and we tried lots of brushpiles - from a depth of 12' down to 27' or so. There were two completely dry holes, but mostly the story was the same regardless of depth - lots of short crappie, no keepers. I think the cause is fishing pressure, and we're responsible for that as much as anybody. It's the same deal on walleyes - I've got to wonder how many trolled lures or baits the average Stockton walleye has seen go by its' nose every day this year. A whole bunch, that's for sure. Well, we've had a good time and at least we know that there are lots of small crappie in Stockton for future seasons. I think we'll target white bass for awhile, then hunt some deer.
  17. Sam

    Whites

    Looks like you had fun! We did too - partner and I went out of State Park on Friday and while we mostly fished for crappie, I've got to report on the success of an idea I had. Apparently I have devised a successful, combination, (wait for it) white bass / walleye rig! LOL Lately when we're crappie fishing, white bass have been occasionally feeding on top. I keep a pole rigged up with a Roostertail, but it's just small bunches of bass coming up - often just a LITTLE further away than I can cast. They haven't been staying up long either, and they're gone by the time we can get the boat over there. So, I took a 6' medium action spinning rod with a medium-size Daiwa reel and spooled it up with 10 lb. PowerPro braid (same diameter as 2 lb. monofiliment). I fixed it like a Carolina rig with a good-size bullet-shaped worm sinker sliding on the line above a plastic bead and a large brass swivel. Then I made about a 2 1/2 foot leader out of the same braided line and tied a large chartreuse Roostertail on one end and a metal snap-swivel on the other. Snap that deal onto my Carolina rig and I can side-arm cast it a LONG ways, and of course the worm sinker makes the Roostertail run deeper so I can retrieve it fast and keep the blade turning. I keep this ready in the boat in case white bass start boiling - and I caught some on it and found it works real well! I made up another 2 1/2 foot leader out of 8 lb. PLine Flourocarbon and tied a floating jig head on one end and a snap swivel on the other. Snap it on and this quickly switches that same pole over to a walleye rig for slow-trolling a nightcrawler on the bottom with the bail open and my finger on the line to let the fish run a bit before setting the hook. I caught three small walleyes and no keepers that day, but showed that this idea works.
  18. Fishing is funny, isn't it - things can change in a hurry and every day is different. Friday, the same day you're reporting on, we fished a half day for crappie and walleye in another part of the lake and did OK. 16 good-size keeper crappie, 2 walleyes with 1 keeper, 2 white bass, 2 BIG catfish, and as many short crappie as we cared to catch and release - lots and lots of those. We were slow-trolling the flats with minnows, and we remarked on the way home how it was strange that we didn't catch any black bass at all. Drowning minnows in Stockton, we nearly always catch and release a bunch of bass (mostly short ones) - but not that day. The bass must have taken that day off, reason unknown.
  19. 🙂No problem, you got it! We've only kept/killed one keeper largemouth this year, and that was several months ago. That fish was gill-hooked and bleeding bad, so it wasn't going to make it anyway. Surprisingly, we've also caught (and carefully released) TWO "Meanmouth" bass this year, one 16.5" and one 17.5", both from the area of those two islands where the two lake arms come together. Both were caught on light crappie poles and 4 lb. line, so that was fun. Those are impressive-looking fish with the weird markings and green stripes on their cheeks, and they both took us around the boat a couple of times. Fun! The occasional white bass, catfish, and now 12"+ Kentuckies will make fine tacos. No need to pester the other black bass.
  20. THANK YOU bassnut, for bringing me up to date. From my post above you can see I've felt for some time that the length limit for Kentucky bass should be 12", but I had no idea they'd already changed that on Stockton Lake. My partner and I target crappie and walleyes, and for us other species are incidental, occasional catches. We always release smallmouths of all sizes, and my partner won't take home and clean anything but crappie and walleyes. I'm not such a purist, and I keep the occasional legal-size bass, white bass, or catfish for fish tacos. My family and I do like fish tacos - soft corn tortillas, grilled fish filets, a little slaw, a little pico de gallo salsa, cilantro, lime juice ....... My prospects for fish tacos just got better with this news! I found this article to verify, and it looks like I'm really behind and that length limit was changed in March of LAST year. Thanks again for letting me know! https://mdc.mo.gov/newsroom/new-stockton-lake-spotted-bass-regulation-increases-opportunity
  21. I sure agree about lowering the Spotted (Kentucky) Bass length limit to 12". I've read that most Spotted Bass never reach 15 inches in length before they die of natural causes, and it seems like a fish should at least reach "keeper" status during its' lifespan and not end up wasted as turtle food. I discussed this once with a Conservation Dept. biologist who agreed that this length limit should be lowered so someone eventually gets to keep the fish, but he said there's a lot of opposition to that from resort operators, guides, and so forth who want tourists to be able to catch and release a lot of short bass during their stay. He was talking about Tablerock Lake, specifically. Maybe inexperienced fishermen have difficulty distinguishing Spotted Bass from Largemouth Bass, meaning that lowering the length limits on spots would cause undersize Largemouths to be kept and killed. I wouldn't be surprised, but I wonder if the 15" / 12" limits have caused that to happen on Bull Shoals where 12" Spotted Bass have been legal keepers for a long time. I've never heard that caused a problem there. For species identification, I think the Spotted Bass' sandpaper tongue and Largemouths' smooth tongue is the easiest and most reliable way to tell, and surely even newbie fishermen can learn that. Ya gotta stick your thumb in their mouths anyway to unhook 'em! I know they occupy different "niches" in the lake, but they're all bass that eat the same food and I suspect thinning out the Spotted Bass that are between 12" and 15" long would result in a better population of Largemouths and Smallmouths. And as far as further protecting Smallmouths by lowering the catch limit and/or raising the length limit, I'm for it. Those are wonderful fish that take a long time to grow, we don't want to kill those.
  22. Straw hat, I think I know why that is. We've quit fishing brush piles in less than 15 feet of water lately because we've found they're full of short black crappie with no keepers. The few keeper crappie we're catching are whites coming from brush piles near 20 feet deep, and even then they're mixed in with mostly short fish. We're having to hit a lot of brush piles, too - one or two legal fish off a spot if we're lucky, then we have to move on.
  23. We're still catching crappie, just not as good as a month ago. It's a finesse deal - brush piles in 15-20 feet of water, small crappie tubes on 1/16 oz. #4 hook jig heads, 4 lb. flourocarbon line, drop down to the bottom and work 'em up SLOW. We use real sensitive rods and the bite is very light. If it feels just a little funny, or heavy, or maybe a slight tap, SET THE HOOK. That's either a bite or a stick that will hang you up good - there's no way to tell so either way, set the hook. Lots of hang-ups, breaking off, and re-tying practice for sure! Partner and I got 11 nice keeper crappie up to 12" in a half-day today, but we threw back four times that many short crappie. There were discussions here a while back where some people were concerned that there aren't enough undersize crappie in Stockton now to provide good fishing in future seasons. Ha - don't worry about that, we're catching lots and lots of 6 to 9-inchers now, both white crappie and black crappie mixed in the same brush piles. Here's a strange thing, maybe someone here can explain it to me. A month ago we were catching lots of crappie about the same way, but they were big males of both species with very few females and hardly ever an undersize fish. Now that's completely changed - lots of short fish of both species, gender unknown, and a few keepers that are all female white crappie that are either empty of eggs or have just a few residual eggs that are being re-absorbed. We can't find any keeper males or any keeper black crappie of either gender now - I wonder what's up with that and what's coming next.
  24. 15 to 18 feet deep off rocky points and banks. We were doing real good on crappie trolling that way up until a couple of weeks ago, but now that''s really dropped off. We're still catching some walleyes, but many more short fish than keepers. We're hoping crappie will get back on the brush piles soon, but they're not there yet.
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