Missouri's Great Lakes: Stockton Lake

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Published on: Apr. 2, 2003

Last revision: Nov. 15, 2010

control the boat. He said the shad attract walleye, huge white bass and other kinds of fish. "In spooning," he said, you'll also catch great big crappie. I don't think I threw back a crappie all year long."

During spring (after the spawn), summer and fall, Claspill usually finds the shad and walleye in from 18 to 30 feet of water. He prefers the Greenfield arm, but he said he's liable to go anywhere. During the summer, he says he catches more fish on bottom bouncers and minnows or nightcrawlers.

Secret Bass Lake

Mike Eutsler, Protection Supervisor of the Joplin District, southwest region, grew up near Stockton. He said he was on the area even before the lake was impounded. He likes to fish for largemouth as much as possible. "The only thing that interferes with my fishing," he said, "is my job."

Eutsler describes Stockton as a three-bass lake. "As a rule of thumb, from the state park to the dam is smallmouth water. Largemouth fishing is usually better in the upper third of the lake and Kentucky bass are throughout the lake, usually along bluff walls."

"Stockton is a real sleeper for bass," he said. "The locals refer to it as the best kept secret in the Ozarks. I catch more and bigger fish from there than I do at Table Rock." Eutsler said the lake doesn't attract as many tournaments as other lakes. "There are very few days when you can't get away from people--even on holidays and weekends."

"Because they are bigger," is the way Eutsler explained his preference for largemouth bass. He usually fishes the upper end of the lake. He looks for pea gravel during the spawning season and "chunk rock" later in the summer. He said he likes flipping jigs into brush. It's a plus if shad are nearby, but he's primarily fishing likely spots.

Instead of "pounding the bank," a common strategy for largemouth bass, Eutsler looks for sharp swings in the creek channels. He said that bass travel those creek channels the way we might follow a highway to go to work. It takes a little more work, as well as a depthfinder and lake map, but he said finding a sharp bend in the creek channel that drops off to 15 to 20 feet of water usually pays off for him.

Eutsler said the lake is usually clear enough for sight

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