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January 24, 2007 Stockton Lake Fishing Report

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January 24, 2007 Stockton Lake Fishing Report

Good numbers of legal walleye are being caught throughout the lake. Prior to the ice storm, I was centering a lot of my attention around the Master's area. The walleye will be around the deeper shad schools (25-35 feet deep). Drift two or three inch Road Runners in white, chartreuse, blue/white, or black/white; tip these with a small night crawler. Walleye are also being caught by trolling or casting a variety of hard jerk baits; experiment with color, but it appears that anything with orange seems to get more bites. A few four or five pound fish are being caught, with several fish that are barely legal. I would concentrate my efforts around the CC bridge, you can fish from the shore or when the ramp thaws out, just follow the shad schools with your boat. The lake has been rising as a result of the precipitation, therefore, you have more access than before around the CC bridge. We are entering the pre-spawn stage and the rising water will enhance and hasten the spawn. As of today, most if not all boat ramps are covered in ice and snow. For more information on walleye fishing on Stockton, refer to the January 2007 issue of Missouri Game and Fish, page 12.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is good for this time of the year. You can find fish in the Master's area, and the timber or Crappie beds around Cedar Ridge, Small minnows seem to be the best bait, but don't overlook crappie jigs, particularly small Road Runners tipped with crappie niblets. The fish are deep (25-35 feet or deeper) and the bite is light. A good ultra-light crappie rod with braided line, works the best in these winter conditions. Big Crappie (12-15 inches) are being caught over Crappie beds in the mouths of coves; these fish will also be deep.

Largemouth Bass: Bass are where you find them, depending on the weather, but most of my fish have been caught in deeper water. Pig n Jig is a good winter time bait, when dragged laboriously slowly across the bottom. Guide tip for bass: try a Carolina rigged four inch tube jig; fish the same way. The jig will float a little above the bottom and when fished slowly, is as deadly as the Pig n Jig bite. I also use this technique when fishing vertical bluffs; position your boat as close to the bluff as you can, and use a parallel presentation, working it very slowly. Pay attention because you won't get many bites this time of year, but with this technique, the fish that do bite will be good ones. Everybody knows about the suspended jerk bait for winter pattern bass, but try this: take a deep diving suspended Rogue or other similar hard jerk bait, root the bottom, letting the bait suspend for about 10 seconds (or longer). Your bigger bass are deeper and slower (because of water temperature), and this deep diving suspended Rogue technique works very well. There is no doubt it is a different look than what the fish are used to. Remember, 10% of the fishermen catch 90% of the fish, so always think outside of the norm. Just because everybody does a certain thing, doesn't mean they are all catching fish. Pay attention to structure off of south or southwest facing shore lines. Late in the afternoon, work these coves and shoreline areas because the warmer water will draw in bait, which in turn, call in bass. Slow is the main ingredient no matter what you use.

Marty Thompson



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