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Tough Stockton fishing!


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Guys, Don't forget the zillions of crappies caught over the last 6 months taken to the grease by the zillions of anglers on the lake. This is what I expected and predicted back in May. I know some fol

I've always camped in my truck at Stockton and fished mostly in the State Park area.  Last week my wife got us a cabin and although the weather looked like it would be hot and calm I was confident we

I live close to the lake, and believe me there was a lot more at Stockton lake all summer than there has ever been. It was like memorial day weekend every day. Most were fishing. I believe that with a

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9 hours ago, MrGiggles said:

Are there really more anglers than there was 20-40 years ago? Makes me wonder what has changed, or if it's just rose-colored nostalgia glasses.

From what I've seen hunting and fishing (not outdoor activities as a whole) have trended downward. 

As baby boomers retire people have more time to fish, less% of people hunt/ fish but waaay more people...anglers are more educated today, electronics/ gps....help put more pressure on a resource....IMHO a few meat fisherman can crush a fishery....when you see people limiting out every day for a week you know they can’t eat that many fish in a few days...some are selling fish ( catfish ) lower limits would help while still allowing a fish fry....eating those 3 pound smallies is one less potential 5......fish. Are harder to catch they learn or are gone...

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MONKEYS? what monkeys?

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7 hours ago, MoCarp said:

As baby boomers retire people have more time to fish, less% of people hunt/ fish but waaay more people...anglers are more educated today, electronics/ gps....help put more pressure on a resource....IMHO a few meat fisherman can crush a fishery....when you see people limiting out every day for a week you know they can’t eat that many fish in a few days...some are selling fish ( catfish ) lower limits would help while still allowing a fish fry....eating those 3 pound smallies is one less potential 5......fish. Are harder to catch they learn or are gone...

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Dang boomers, ruining everything. :D

In that report that I mentioned earlier, something like 60% of anglers are between 45-65+, so that makes sense.

-Austin

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Stockton had a surge in pressure when table rock got so low several years ago...stayed that way till we had some big wind events over a couple of weekends, scared them back to the rock....,Even on calmish days it stays pretty choppy on the dam third of the lake.... takes a determined angler to learn to fish in a good wind

MONKEYS? what monkeys?

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6 hours ago, MoCarp said:

Stockton had a surge in pressure when table rock got so low several years ago...stayed that way till we had some big wind events over a couple of weekends, scared them back to the rock....,Even on calmish days it stays pretty choppy on the dam third of the lake.... takes a determined angler to learn to fish in a good wind

And then came spot lock

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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.

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1 hour ago, bassnut said:

I may be misunderstanding comments that have been made about Kentucky bass length limits on Stockton but there already is a 12” size limit. It went into effect on March 1 this year.

 

 

 

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

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