The Way to Walleye

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Published on: Aug. 2, 2009

Last revision: Dec. 15, 2010

wind that creates a chop on the water may trigger walleyes to feed. Veteran anglers unanimously recommend fishing shallow water on the side of the lake that receives a strong wind. They speculate that the waves buffeting the shallows disorient small preyfish and muddy the water, offering walleyes a good chance to grab a meal.

Anytime you catch a walleye, note the location and fish the same area hard. Walleye are schooling fish, and where you catch one you’ll often find more. The schools sometimes operate on a strict schedule, too. I’ve caught walleye on certain points at almost exactly the same time for days in a row. Those points were, from my perspective, without walleyes before and after those times.

Whither Goest Thou?

There are numerous paths to becoming “one” with walleyes, but you might well start with a journey to Stockton Lake. After all, if the Conservation Department has spent more than a decade helping the lake rank among the premier walleye waters in country, it seems like the beginning of wisdom to go there.

Like many Missouri walleye waters, Stockton Lake is a reservoir of underwater points that jut out into the arms and main body of the lake. The best points for walleye usually have deep water nearby.

Fish often feed on top of the points or can be found along the edge where they drop off into the depths. Gently sloping drop-offs are usually better than steep drop-offs. A lake map showing bottom contours is invaluable. Look for where the contour lines have some space between them, rather than being tightly bunched. A depth finder is an excellent tool for locating good spots for walleye.

Another good use for a depth finder is to locate baitfish. Some walleyes follow big schools of gizzard shad the way lions shadow wildebeest. Bigger fish—not just walleyes—show up as larger “marks” beneath the herds of shad. Sometimes they’ll be suspended in deep water several feet below the baitfish schools, but they may remain well below them on the bottom, as well.

Old river channels and bluff edges are ideal places to take advantage of the shad/walleye connection. Look especially for places where the shad school extends to within 5-10 feet of the bottom.

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