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May 17, 2006 Stockton Lake Fishing Report

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May 17, 2006 Stockton Lake Fishing Report

Walleye fishing is still considered quite good on Stockton Lake as the water temperatures average about 65 degrees due to recent cold rains. I have been targeting the areas above the 215 bridge such as the mouth of Orleans Trail cove, The Wall and the coves between The Wall and Price Branch. Casting white jigs to the bank is still the main bait; 1/4 oz or 1/2 oz works best when there is either no or light wind. A significant percentage of your catch should be legal fish. For bigger fish, tip the same jig with a medium minnow and slow drift across the points on the down wind side. Remember when you are fishing in deeper water, find the shad schools before you begin fishing. Crawler harnesses are catching fish from time to time, but this time of the year walleye prefer minnows, particularly your larger fish. Walleye are also being caught off the points in the Ruark Bluff area with the same technique.

Large mouth bass: in spite of popular belief, not all bass have spawned. Because of the large cold rain storms in the last month, water temperatures remain in the mid 60s on the majority of the lake; this seems to have extended the spawn. You can still catch smaller males on the pea gravel banks as they prepare nests. My preference, however, is to target the bigger fish off the secondary points that lead to the spawning beds. Deep diving crank baits, and spinner baits work well, but jig and pig combos are producing most of my clients' bigger fish (3-5 lbs.). Plastic worms are also a good choice. Why do soft plastics and jigs catch more big bass than any other lure? These baits imitate living creatures and can be worked more thoroughly in the areas where the bigger bass live. Anybody can throw a crank bait and catch small fish in the shallows. Deep water plastics or jig fishing is more of an art form than the throw it out and crank it in technique. More large bass have been caught on plastic worms than any other artificial bait.

Crappie, like bass and walleye, have also been affected by a month of cold rains. That means you can catch spawning fish in the shallows with pea gravel bottoms, or you can catch post spawn fish over the marked crappie beds throughout the lake. Further up the lake, such as the Sac Arm and the Son's Creek Arm, you'll find that a lot of fish have already spawned, but on the main body, towards the dam, you'll find bigger fish staged off the secondary points getting ready to spawn. I tend to leave the spawning fish alone, and target the bigger, deeper fish. A client recently caught a 17.5 inch crappie suspended over 50 feet of water. We were slow trolling WigglWarts and the fish were very obliging. Soft plastic white jigs or Road Runners seem to be my main stay at whatever depth the fish are. The vast majority of the fish my clients have caught have been on white plastic jigs. Once again I'd like to stress selective harvests due to the fact that the big females guarantee quality Crappie fishing on Stockton Lake for years to come.

For bow hunters interested in Carp fishing, now is the time to get in on the action. Just about any shallow cove with a pea gravel bottom will hold Carp as they thrash around in the shallows looking for a place to deposit their eggs.

Marty Thompson



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