Lake Stockton, MO




August 26, 2010 Stockton Lake Fishing Report


Lake level:  865.60

Normal Pool:  867

Water clarity:  slightly stained

Water temperature:  83 degrees


Between Monday and Wednesday, the water temperature dropped from 86 degrees to 83 degrees; cooler nights contributed to this.  Fishing for all species has been fair and in the near future should be very good due to cooler temperatures.


Sorry for my long absence in posting reports.  My wife has a continuing family emergency with her mother (who lies in Colorado and has pancreatic cancer), and as I held down the fort and continued to guide, posting fishing reports was low on my long list of priorities. 


Weíve had a good summer overall, in spite of 48 days of 90+ degree temperatures, with heat indexes of 106 and above.  By the way, if you were out on the lake on one of these days, that probably wasnít the wisest thing youíve ever done; itís very, very dangerous.  The water reflects the sun back to you, so youíre getting a double dose.  If it is 90 degrees at your house, I guarantee you itís a lot hotter on the lake, but I think those temperatures are about finished for the year. 


Weíll talk about walleye first:  A large majority of the walleye being caught are too short.  Smaller fish tend to be more aggressive than larger fish, particularly in hot water; thatís why you catch more of the little ones.  The bigger walleye slow down considerably in hot water, and will spend a great deal of their time in the deeper, cooler water.  With the full moon phase lately, night fishing is your best bet.  The bigger fish will come up in the shallower water (anywhere from 10-18 feet) to chase the shad.  Trolling deep diving crank baits is a good way to cover a lot of water.  Fish the main lake points, and the mud flats.  One good mud flat is between B5 and B7; watch your depth in this area, though, because Stockton Lake is a couple feet below normal pool and this makes a big difference.  Objects that were not visible before (logs and rocks) are now.  Check out the dam and drift the main lake points with a jig and night crawler bounced off the bottom at a depth of about 18 feet.  18 feet seems to be the magic number no matter where you fish on the lake.  Many times when fish lay in deep water (45 feet or so), they are usually inactive.  When you scope fish in that 18 foot zone, those are the ones that will bite.  Where a fish sleeps and where a fish eats are usually two different places.  I predict in the next couple of weeks that walleye fishing will pick up considerably.


Crappie fishing is slow, but when you find the right brush pile at the right depth youíll catch fish.  Thereís a lot of teeny weenie little baby fish in the lake right now, so match the hatch using small crappie minnows hooked with a small weight and drift over the brush piles.  Brush piles need to be about 25 feet deep.  Use a heavy enough weight to vertical fish, keeping the bait just above the top of the branches.  If it strings way behind the boat, itíll get hung up in the brush.  Small jigs and little crank baits also work, but we have been catching them by doing what I just explained.  Night fishing over a crappie light is also good in these same areas. 


White bass:  virtually all of our white bass have been taken by trolling deep diving lures like the Bandit across main lake points.  If you like trolling and breathing exhaust fumes all day, you should catch white bass. 


Largemouth bass:  As usual, Junior Jaws can be found in 8-10 feet of water and theyíll grab anything from small plastic worms, jigs, spinner baits, even top water.  These bass get in schools when they are this size (8-12 inches) and swim endlessly throughout the lake wreaking havoc on the shad, crawdads, and fishermen if they are trying to catch the big ones.  The bigger bass we have caught this year (3-5 lbs, no real big ones yet) have been in around 15-25 feet deep.  The best technique has been worms or jigs fished slowly.  You need something that will get to that depth and stay in their faces for an extended period of time.  With a ton of bait in the lake, these bass donít move often from their zone to chase bait.  However, when they do, your best bet is either at night or just before dark.  Crank baits and spinner baits work well in the shallower water.  Since the lake is lower than usual, there is finally a visible shore line, so take note of the structure that you see out of the water; itíll give you a good idea of what is actually below the water in any given area.  This is a real advantage no matter what kind of fish you fish for. 


Shore fishermen:  now is your chance to fish about anywhere from the shore on Stockton lake.  Channel cat fishing has been real good.  In Hawker cove, Old State Park cove, or just about anywhere that you can cast to about 15 feet of water.  Use chicken livers (I use beef livers because you can cast them better) or night crawlers. 


Marty Thompson

Thompson Fishing Guide Service


Often imitated, never duplicated.  Fish The Finest!




February 24, 2010 Stockton Lake Fishing Report


Water temperature:  mid 30s

Lake level:  867.47 and falling due to gates being open

March is the time for the beginning of change.  As we get a few warmer days, fish begin to think about moving into their spring pattern.  The last 3 years have been fair for walleye and crappie, but I think that 2010 will be a better than average year.  My spring calendar is getting full, so if you are planning a trip, call me soon. 

Crappie and walleye:  the reason I put crappie and walleye together is because the same location and the same presentation for the winter pattern applies to both, for the most part.  Walleye and crappie are DEEP, in the 50 foot level...this is exactly where they are at this time very year.  If you have read my past reports, reference winter patterns for crappie and walleye, you will remember that a number of things must be accomplished in order to be successful:  1) locate fish, obviously.  Gizzard shad seek warmer water in the winter and they find it at these depths because of large springs that warm the water in the general area.  Where the bait goes, game fish go, be it Wahoo. Bonita, Marlin, Jaws, or crappie and walleye.  2) Presentation:  because of the depth, plus the water temperature, plus the fish being very lethargic, sensitivity is the key.  When you are fishing 50 feet down, you must remain directly over the fish.  If there is a bow in your line, as a result of the fish biting so lightly, bites will go undetected.  If you have a windy day, you need to locate the fish in areas that are out of the wind.  3) Plan of attack:  I use jigs with significant weight to keep my line tight depending on wind conditions.  Half ounce is not too big.  Youíll have to experiment.  Before I go any further, I might add some of the best white bass fishing youíll ever experience will be right now using the same technique as you do crappie and walleye.  For more details see previous reports.   If you look back over previous reports, you should have enough information that you should be able to compile a notebook that deals with all patterns for all species on Stockton Lake.  I guide exclusively on Stockton Lake, not on Lake of the Ozarks, not Bull Shoals, not Truman, or the Gulf of Mexico.   You canít spread yourself too thin, you know, because there is too much water to cover to be efficient on more than one lake. 


Another technique I use this time of the year for walleye, crappie and white bass is to tie a 1 or 2 ounce barrel sinker on the end of my line.  Above the line you can attach Aberdeen hooks with a minnow, crappie jig, or even small flies and hair jigs about 24 inches from the weight and 24 inches apart and still get to where the fish are and the sensitivity is far greater due to the fact that the weight is at the bottom of the line and when a fish touches your hook, there is nothing between you and him.  This is IMPERTIVE due to the fact that when the water is cold, fish metabolism slows down and they just donít move that fast.  I guarantee you that if you master what I have said in this report and previous reports over the last 8 years reference the winter pattern, you will have some of the best crappie, walleye and white bass fishing of the year. 

  The Missouri Department of Conservation is involved in planting new brush piles throughout Stockton Lake, which will enhance the fishing even more.  I know where a lot of those new brush piles are located.  Do you?

  Guideís note:  if you want to see eagles, go to Hawker Point.  We saw at least a dozen bald eagles, mature and immature, which have been gorging themselves on the large numbers of dead shad.  

  Marty Thompson

Thompson Fishing Guide Service


Often imitated, never duplicated.  Fish The Finest!



December 1, 2009 Stockton Lake Fishing Report


Lake level:  869.34

Normal pool:  867


Sorry I have been delinquent in posting my fishing reports; no I havenít been hunting, due to the fact that fall fishing is my second busiest time of the year, and I was booked solid through November.  Thank God for the good weather.  Plus by the time I got home, I was too tired to do a report.  BUT, I do have some good information. 


Walleye fishing has been slow, but we have been able to coerce a few keeper fish (18-20 inches and a couple of fish up to 24 inches).  Main lake points are the places to be, and some of these fish will be down to 50 feet.  Jigs and minnows (large minnows if you can get them) work the best.  The bite will be light, so you need to concentrate and position the boat over the fish you mark.  Later in the day, (particularly if it is cloudy, and with the early moon) walleye move shallower.  Same technique, but youíll be fishing in 20-30 feet of water.  As I said, the bite has been tough, so to be perfectly honest, the key is for the fish to turn on and bite.  Change locations often.  Later in the day, when the fish get shallower, try trolling or casting deep diving crank baits.  The best way I can think of to get warm when it is really cold is to cast and retrieve those deep diving crank baits that are designed to plow the bottom. 


Crappie fishing is good; crappie are being caught in 25-30 feet of water on minnows and jigs over brush piles..  The key to being successful is twofold:  remember the bite will be light, so pay attention.  The second consideration is you need to move often.  You can play out a good brush pile in no time, especially if your brother in law, Reginald , keeps slamming boat storage lids.  If you are unfamiliar with the lake, spend time with your sonar and locate brush piles at the depths mentioned above.  Youíll catch more fish if you hunt first and fish later. 


Bass metabolism (like crappie) has slowed down considerably in the 52 degree water.  They have a tendency to move up shallower in the backs of coves later in the day, and can be caught on shallow running crank baits and spinner baits.  I like the choice of spinner baits over crank baits in this situation because the bass move up in the brush due to the lake being high and you get hung up less.  That way you donít have to be constantly digging your brother in lawís crank bait out of the bushes and messing up the whole location.  For deeper bass during the day, like I always say, when the water gets cooler and cold, you need to slow down.  Plastic worms, jigs, and Colorado blade spinner baits will attract more attention.  Remember this, bass people:  the majority of the time, where you caught bass in the summer is where they will be in the winter.  They donít move far from home.  If itís a good place to be when the water is hot, itís a good place to be when the water is cold.  You just have to fish differently.  Winter is a prime opportunity to catch a hawg.   


Marty Thompson

Thompson Fishing Guide Service

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Often imitated, never duplicated.  Fish The Finest!






October 21, 2009 Stockton Lake Fishing Report


Lake level:  872.68

Normal pool:  867

Water temperature:  60-62 degrees everywhere I have been


From my experience, walleye fishing has been good since we got over 7 inches of rain last week and the lake came up 8 feet.  Walleye have moved into the shallower water (10-15 feet deep).  Remember, when water comes up rapidly as a result of what we just had with the rain, fish like walleye, bass and crappie will find new cover or structure in their depth comfort zone.  One thing has changed for me, and that is the walleye have been far more responsive to the minnow/jig than to night crawler/jig or crawler harnesses.  This shows me that the cooling water temperatures (around 60 degrees) cause the fish to feed more because of the onset of winter.  You remember in the summer there were a lot of bugs available, but now that the bug thing is about over, walleye focus more of their attention on shad and the shadís open water habitat.  Main lake points are the most consistent.  Since a lot of the fish we catch are in more shallow water, I slow troll with my trolling motor, or catch a gust of wind and float, providing the wind blows in the right direction.  An outboard motor will scare the fish, as well as your buddy Junior slamming boat compartment doors.  We catch a lot of little fishÖabout 13 inches.  However, on most trips, we are able to get a limit of 20-24 inchers.  You have to work hard. 


Crappie:  as with walleye, crappie have moved to different locations because of the rising water.  Good crappie beds two weeks ago at 20 feet are now at 27 feet, and the crappie may abandon the old crappie beds for the newer ones at their preferred depth zone.  Minnows have been the best, but crappie jigs have also produced fish. 


Largemouth bass:  even though the water is high, weather has stabilized to a degree after the cold front.  With the 5 opportunities I have had to go bass fishing within the last ten days we have caught nice bass (3-4 pounds) in around 6 feet of water by either flipping crawdad colored jigs in the brush or by using plastic worms.  These fish have moved up into shallower water for 2 reasons:  the lake has risen dramatically up to 8 feet, and you have the fall pattern.  Now that the weather has stabilized, slow rolled spinner baits, or deep diving crank baits in the backs of coves will also produce fish.  Secondary lake points and main lake points on the wind facing shore will cause fish to congregate providing the wind has been blowing in that direction for 3 or 4 days.  It takes that long to blow the microorganisms like algae, and little teeny weeny bugs into those locations.  If the wind just started blowing in a certain direction, this does not apply.  The microorganisms are blown into an area; therefore the shad follow their food source; this combination equals bass.  In high water conditions, you have flooded cover like trees and bushes and flooded structure like rock outcroppings and boulders.  As a result, bass, like walleye and crappie, have more places to live, therefore they are more spread out.  The bottom line is you need to move a lot.  Most of your bass under these conditions will be in or near the brush whether that brush is in 3 feet of water or 20 feet of water.  Hereís a fact of science that your crank bait manufacturers donít want you to know:  when the bass are in the brush, a jig or a plastic worm are the only things that will put it in their face and leave it there under these conditions.  If you donít know how to fish with the jig or the plastic worm, this is something you need to accomplish.  At this time of the year, this is how to catch bigger bass. 


Guideís notes on boats:  One of my clients asked me a question about operating a boat in bad weather.  When I bought my boat, this was one of the first concerns of mine.  I had to find out on my own. Hereís the email:












 Interesting that you asked this question because I had a trip today with 35 mph winds and I was out there in it for 8 hours bass fishing. I have fished bad water on Stockton many many walleye trips, and in my experience, with this boat, over the last 7 years, 200 days a year, the boat has handled extremely well.  My Nitro 929 is 21 feet long, and it's 8 feet wide... that makes a big difference when riding the waves. 


The big factor is getting the feel of the boat in different conditions. This is where a big motor is well worth all of the extra gallons of gas she drinks, because with that power, you can motor out of any bad situation that you may have created.  The bottom line is feel; when you drive the boat in these conditions, you'll know what I mean.  Another key thing to remember:  while you are learning to get the feel, give yourself a large margin.  In other words you don't know what your boat will do in a short space.  Example:  there's a strong south wind, and it's blowing you into the dam, and before you know it, you are closer than you thought.  Always remember that and give yourself space. 


One last thing:  Don't drive too fast.  Fast hole shots and a big rooster tail look cool, but that's where you burn the large percentage of your gasoline.  Plus, you have the added factor of waves and debris.  It's not like driving on the road.  There are no brakes. 

If you give the boat enough gas when you are sitting still, and you have your motor trimmed down, she'll get on plane and stay there on her own.  When you reach that point, slowly throttle up as you raise your motor, and with experience, you'll feel a smooth spot where the boat is riding high and you've got good speed (and that's relative). 


When you buy a boat, they don't tell you anything...they just give you the keys.  With these big boats and high powered motors, that's not a good idea.


Be sure you put Stabil in your gas tank every time you gas up and use the lowest octane gas and Mercury Quiksilver boat motor oil.  If you don't put the gas treatment in, you'll ruin your motor in short order. 


My opinion,


Marty Thompson

Thompson Fishing Guide Service


Often imitated, never duplicated.  Fish The Finest!



October 6, 2009 Stockton Lake Fishing Report


Lake level:  868.04


Normal pool:  867


Walleye fishing on Stockton has been fair.  My clients have been catching a lot of walleye and a large number of them are short fish, but more often than not, we have been taking home enough legal fish for a good fish fry.  The legal fish are between 20-24 inches, so they are worth the effort.  Fish are being caught off of main lake points in approximately 20 feet of water, on jigs and small pieces of night crawler.  It is important that you tap the bottom with the jig; use whatever weight it takes to keep the bait as vertical as possible.  When you feel a series of tap tap tap bites that signal walleye, DONíT SET THE HOOK.  Slowly point your rod in the direction of the bait.  And I mean SLOWLY.  If you give them too much line (like opening the bale), it will cause the jig to fall, and the fish will feel that resistance.  This is the single most important bit of information you need to have to catch a walleye.  If you donít get it, you wonít get them.  I have stated in previous fishing reports that walleye are a different fish than a bass or a crappie, therefore their God given mannerisms are different also. 


Bass:  main lake and secondary points are still producing good fish, particularly on plastic worms and jig n pigs.  Depth will vary, as the fish move up and down these points in search of crawdads.  Crawdads are doing their fall thing and when they do it, they get up in shallower water and expose themselves more.  A good color to use (whether it is crank baits or jigs) is crawdad colors in browns, oranges or greens.  Bass are also being caught in the backs of your larger coves in around 7-10 feet of water.  We have caught several good fish in these locations and the reason they are there is they are taking advantage of the salad bar in the shallower water in the fall before they back off into deeper water and enjoy the buffet of massive balls of shad as they prepare for the winter months. 


Marty Thompson

Thompson Fishing Guide Service


Often imitated, never duplicated.  Fish The Finest!





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Last modified: August 26, 2010