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March 12, 2008 Stockton Lake Fishing Report

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March 12, 2008 Stockton Lake Fishing Report

Walleye: if you want to catch a big walleye, this is the best time of the year to do that. In areas of the lake, like the Sac River arm, the Son’s Creek arm, and Maze Creek, these are the places to be to name a few. Fish are being caught down by the dam and around the 215 bridge, but the spawn hasn’t really taken off there yet due to the fact that the water temperature for the most part is in the low 40s (average 41 degrees). At this temperature, however, walleye are staging to spawn off main lake points in about 15 feet of water. Walleye will spawn when the water temperature gets between 45-48 degrees, which is already taking place in the upper regions of your main tributaries. When the water temperature hits 50, spawning is over and the walleye will return to the main body of the lake. Understanding temperature is very critical. Another thing to realize is unlike crappie and largemouth bass, walleye do not build nests. They simply deposit their eggs in a gravelly bottom, males come in and fertilize the eggs, and the party is over. Just for your information, white bass do the same thing.

When the walleye get real shallow, (3-5 feet deep) back off and cast 3/8 oz jigs or Cast Master spoons into these areas and you should catch fish. When the fish are deeper (15+ feet) off of main lake points or along the dam, you can drift a jig and minnow combination or jig and crawler combination, or crawler harness through the area and catch fish. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out when the fish are shallow, you are not going to be able to drift over the top of them without scaring them off. It seems like for the most part the jig and minnow this time of the year work best. Remember to use large minnows, which can be bought at Northshore Sportsfishing Bait and Tackle across from the dam 417-276-6727; wherever you buy bait, it behooves you to call ahead and make sure they have what you want.

Try Masters Cove area, and also Cedar Ridge area for good walleye off main lake points. 20% of the walleye population on Stockton lake reproduce on their own and they return to the area where they were hatched, which not only includes creeks and rivers, but also structure like rip rap on the dam and bridges.

The MDC fishing regulations state that from February 20-April 14, walleye can be taken and possessed only between ½ hour before sunrise and ½ hour after sunset in the unimpounded portions of all streams, except the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. The main body of the lake is considered the impoundment, and the streams running into the lake are the unimpounded portions. So don’t fish for walleye in the streams in the dark.

White bass will spawn after the walleye are finished when the water gets into the low to mid 50s. White bass are being caught off of main lake and secondary points with jig and minnows, jigging spoons, tail spinners (like Little Georges) in around 25-30 feet of water in mid-day. Late in the afternoon the fish will move up into shallower water and you can use the same lures, but back off and cast towards the bank to catch the fish. White bass are starting to stage for their spawn off of points adjacent to creeks and main tributaries of the lake. Cedar Ridge is a good place to look, also I would try points round Ruark Bluff boat ramp.

Crappie are still deep (25-35 feet, maybe even deeper), off of main lake points with brush piles. As the water temperature warms, these fish will also be moving up the points into the spawning coves. Jigs and minnows seem to be the best weapon, at least as far as my clients are concerned. The bite will be very light, and you have to watch and feel at the same time. The best approach is to use your trolling motor to stay above the fish. Find the fish with your graph, and if necessary throw out a marker so you have a reference point. Even with a slight wind, you can float a long way off course in the time it takes you to get your tuna fish and boiled egg out of the ice chest. We have caught crappie in water down to 55 feet deep, so I guess deep can be a relative term, but they are where you find them. The gizzard shad, the main forage fish of Stockton Lake, seek warmer water in the winter. Therefore if you can find large concentrations of shad, they will be deep for the most part and crappie will be close by whether there is cover or not. Many times the shad will concentrate around under water springs, which pump out considerably warmer water than the surrounding water. Always remember, to know your fish, is to be familiar with his main food source.

Largemouth bass: no largemouth bass report, due to the fact that my attention has been directed at walleye, crappie and white bass since the last report. However, you can refer to the last report, because the conditions are the same, so the technique will be the same.

Guide’s tip: when you hire a fishing guide, anywhere, the first question you need to ask is “Do you have commercial guide insurance?” Not full coverage insurance, commercial guide insurance. Because if he doesn’t, he is putting you and your buddy in jeopardy. You will not be covered if there is an accident and/or death. Do you want to put your life in someone’s hands that doesn’t protect you?

Marty Thompson

Thompson Fishing Guide Service



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