Fishing report: Crappie fishing at Stockton, other area lakes is getting good

Payden Hays, left, and the author, Tyler Mahoney, show off limits of crappie caught while fishing with Tandem Fly Outfitters on Stockton Lake.
Payden Hays, left, and the author, Tyler Mahoney, show off limits of crappie caught while fishing with Tandem Fly Outfitters on Stockton Lake.

Here is the fishing report for Kansas and Missouri lakes, rivers and reservoirs for Sept. 26, 2018.


BULL SHOALS: low 80s, clear, about 3.4 feet low. Outlook: Del Colvin Guide Service reports: thermocline is forming around 35 feet. Need to keep the boat moving to find the fish. Bass – the spinner bite is coming along with fish on the shore out to 10 feet. Walleye – good and hitting bottom bouncers in 28-34 feet on bottom bouncers and crawler harnesses. Below the dam: John Berry of Berry Bros. Guide Service reports: The White has fished well. Significant wadable water in last week. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (my current favorite combination is a copper John (#14) with a ruby midge (#18) suspended below it. Use weight to get your flies down.

TANEYCOMO: 50 degrees, clear (12 feet), very little generation with cooler weather Outlook: Lilleys’ Landing reports: Mice flies on top at night is still good. The dissolved oxygen in the water varies widely, but in general has been very good. We bought a D.O. meter so we could keep an eye on the levels and have found readings between 5.9 and 9.1 p.p.m. which is great. This should be a banner fall season for both rainbows and browns. We are already seeing large browns in the trophy area as well as very good quality rainbows being caught mid-lake. On bright, sunny days, wind is almost always the key to the bite. Look for corners with wind coming around it and you’ll likely find feeding rainbows under the surface at about five feet deep. On the fly rod, try throwing a two-fly rig with a #14 green zebra midge, gold head and wire, and a #16 red zebra midge with a gold head, gold wire, fishing it under a float five feet deep. Rio 6x tippet works well. They will take a small micro jig or marabou jig under a float, too. Try the same setup with two-pound line and a sculpin or ginger micro jig or a 1/100th-ounce brown or sculpin jig with an orange head. Using two-pound line is essential, too. Trilene XL clear two-pound line works well. If you want to throw a jig, using a 1/32nd- or 1/16th-ounce, sculpin/ginger or brown/burnt orange jig and two-pound line is catching a lot of rainbows around Lilley’s. This setup is best to use early and late in the day, or mid-day if the wind is up. But if you’re throwing it in wind, cast directly against or with the wind. The lower trophy area has a lot of trout right now. There’s some good-sized rainbows, but most are in the smaller range - less than 14 inches. These trout seemed to be pretty smart and are accustomed to natural foods such as small minnows, sculpin, midges and scuds. The brown trout make a ceremonial run up the lake in the fall for spawning. They will move up close to the dam in September and linger for a couple of weeks before they head back down. It does seem like sculpins are a big part of brown trout’s diet these days. So throwing jigs and sculpin flies should do the trick when fishing for browns this fall. Trout are still keying in on midge flies like the zebra, wd40’s, soft hackles, cracklebacks and chili peppers. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

NORFORK: 81 degrees, stained, about 4 feet low. Outlook: Bink’s Guide Service reports: things are about the same as last week. Walleye – fair in 30 feet on the flats or back in the creeks, many limits are being caught using Bink’s Spoons; stripers – excellent 85 feet down on the bottom using white, 1 oz Bink’s spoon or trolling, topwater bite has slowed down; white bass - acres of them are surfacing early in the morning; crappie – scattered, check under docks; bass – good on topwater baits in the first hour of the day, otherwise they’ll be deep in about 30 feet of water. Catfish - have been doing well in coves in 10 feet of water on cut shad.

LONGVIEW: low to mid 70s, stained, about normal Outlook: Longview Marina reports: all species have been pretty slow. Crappie can be found, but have to weed through a lot of little ones. Fishing is available from the marina 7 days a week now. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group for daily updates.

POMME DE TERRE: upper 70s, 4-6 feet of clarity, normal. Outlook: Muskie Guide Service reports: Muskies are slow, but are being caught around the docks mostly. Black bucktail in-line spinners have seen the most action. Bass have been fair, catching them deep and shallow, but appear to be moving up a bit. Crappie are starting to move back to structure in 15-20 feet on jigs and minnows.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS: upper 70s, clear, about 3 feet low. Outlook: Gier’s Bass Pro reports: Crappie – look for them 15-20 feet deep on minnows and jigs. They have been hammering crankbaits on the main lake trolling around shad balls. Bass – will be in the same areas as the crappie and on main lake points, try using 10-inch worms, brush hogs, and jigs. There has been more activity around docks in the last weeks. Still not much word on catfish.

REED AREA: 68 degrees, clear, low. Outlook: Missouri Department of Conservation reports: largemouth bass are fair on a variety of lures; channel catfish are fair on dough bait, cut bait, and even some artificial lures; crappie are fair, try jigs early and late in the day near brush; all other species slow.

STOCKTON: mid to upper 70s, clear, 3.8 feet low. Outlook: Tandem Fly Outfitters reports: walleye are fair 15-20 feet down on 1/4 oz jig heads tipped with half of a nightcrawler near main lake points. Trolling Bandit 200’s or Flicker Shad is also productive. Crappie are good to excellent in brush piles 18-25 feet down on a 1/16th oz jig head tipped with a medium shiner. White bass are poor to fair. Look for schools surfacing on the main lake and main lake flats with a 1/4 oz or 1/2 oz silver spoon. Catfish are fair on whole or cut shad. Black bass are fair in 15-20 feet on points around the mouths of creeks on jigs, Ned rigs, or a 10 inch worm. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook group for fishing updates from an engaged membership.

JACOMO: upper 70s, clear, about normal. Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook group reports: Crappie – anglers having success trolling small crankbaits and finding fish down 7-13 feet in 15-20 feet of water, some crappie have been found in the middle of the lake relating to shad balls. Also, look near brush in 15-20 feet of water; white bass - fair using small jigs, road runners, or crankbaits. Largemouth – fair. The topwater bite has been picking up in the evening in shallow water. Buzzbaits are a good option as the fall progresses. Try chatterbaits or jigs worked around the grass and wood cover. Channel catfish – fair on cut shad or liver, moving in along the banks on near rocky drop offs; bluegill – good on waxworms, crickets, or small pieces of nightcrawler; walleye – slow, try trolling crankbaits or vertical jigging nightcrawlers around windy points. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

BLUE SPRINGS: upper 70s, clear, 1 foot low Outlook: Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group reports: Crappie – slow to fair over main lake brush on minnows and jigs; largemouth – good to excellent late on topwater in the shallow near cover. Also try jigs worked along rocky banks or 10-inch Texas-rigged worm,; channel catfish – fair on small bluegill, cut shad, liver or nightcrawlers; bluegill – good on waxworms, crickets, and riverworms; whites/hybrids – fair to good with some surfacing activity in the mornings on the main lake, some big ones continue to be caught. Look for them around the Blow Hole in early mornings after a rain as well. Join Lee’s Summit Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

TABLE ROCK: upper 70s, clear, about 4 feet low. Outlook: Eric Prey of Focused Fishing Guide Service reports: bass – good to very good. The top water bite early and late is picking back up. Fish are are still deeper during the day with a good bite on a drop shot rig 25-35 feet deep on main lake gravel points. Football jigs in 18-23 feet of water near gravel points has been very good. They’re also hitting a jigging or flutter spoon very well. Join Southwest Missouri Area Fishing for daily updates.

TRUMAN: mid 70s, murky, 1 foot high. Outlook: Jeff Faulkenberry’s Endless Season Guide Service reports: Blue catfish - good on the lower lake and getting better by the day. Crappie - about the same. Fair and still on summer pattern. Look for them on flats and picking them up deeper, have been finding them 10 feet down in 10-18 feet of water. Minnows are best; White bass/hybrids – not much word in the last week. Largemouth - good using spinnerbaits. Channel catfish - fair to good on flats and channel swings about 8-11 feet down. Cut shad or prepared baits will produce fish.

SMITHVILLE: mid 70s, clear, about 2.7 feet low. Outlook: Burton’s Bait and Tackle reports: much has remained the same. Bass - fair and has been like a rollercoaster lately. Many fishermen are struggling and brush pile fishing is slowing down. Many fish seemed to have moved shallow near shallow grass. Topwater is restricted to early and late. Walleye - slow. Try near shallow, main lake points using shallow running crankbaits, rattle traps, nightcrawlers on a bottom bouncer, and Flicker Shad crankbaits in 10 feet or less. Crappie – bite is still decent with better quality fish showing up. You can pick them up trolling crankbaits like Flicker Shad through suspended fish in channels. You can find them in wood piles as well. Several reports finding them near bridges and timber 18 feet down in about 22-25 feet of water. Catfish – lots of cats feeding on minnows on the surface in about 10’ of water. Stink baits or worms for the smaller channel cats. Cut baits for fewer bites, but larger channels and blue cats. The flatheads are eating the goldfish or bluegill on trotlines and limb lines. Shad, worms, or livers are the best, but as the water temps are going up the stink baits are also starting to produce channels. White bass – have become more scattered and hard to track down, but have been coming up more in the evenings than in the mornings. 3-inch swimbaits have been picking up better sized fish. Focus your efforts over by the dam or along windy points.

MOZINGO LAKE: mid 70s, 1-3 feet of clarity, 3 feet low. Outlook: Fishing With Nordbye YouTube channel reports: no change from week to week. Bass have been fair. They are on trees, points, and sparse grass. Summer patterns are transitioning to fall patterns. They are biting texas rigs and jigs, as well as chatterbaits and squarebills around grass. On points, drag a jig along the bottom. They have been hitting a Tightlines UV 4” Jig Trailer on the texas rig around trees. Crappie - good. Try fishing next to deeper trees in coves toward main lake or main lake brush piles. Most crappie are 7-8” with an occasional crappie between 10-14”. Crappie jigs or minnows. Bluegill - good. Summer pattern. Bluegill are spread out, some shallow around grass, some deeper on points and next to trees. Best baits are worms, crickets, and panfish jigs. Join Northwest Missouri Area Fishing Facebook Group for more updates on Mozingo and more.


SHAWNEE MISSION PARK: 76 degrees, murky, normal. Outlook: Johnson County Park and Recreation District reports: trout - poor, try worms; crappie/panfish - fair to good on small jigs, minnows or pieces of nightcrawlers; catfish - good on dough bait; bass/wipers - fair to good on jigs and plastics.

KILL CREEK PARK: 72 degrees, murky, normal. Outlook: Johnson County Park and Recreation District reports: trout - poor, try worms; crappie/panfish - fair to good using worms and small jigs or plastics; bass - fair to good on jigs; catfish - fair using cut bait or dough bait.

COFFEY COUNTY: upper 70s on main lake, at the outlet it’s 91, clear, about a half foot low. Outlook: Coffey County reports: smallmouth bass were the best in the past week. White bass picked up even more. Channel and blue cats have also been biting okay. All other species slow to fair.

MELVERN: 75 degrees, visibility around 5 feet, 2.1 feet low. Outlook: Melvern Lake Marina reports: Crappie poor to fair and catching a lot of small fish, some are finding a few keepers in and around established brush piles in Turkey Creek west of the State Park. Dark jigs and minnows are still best. Smallmouth fair to good along the shoreline and rip rap face of the dam using spoons and shallow crankbaits. Several around the docks being caught on minnows. White bass - fair lake wide on shallow crankbaits. Channel catfish - fair on nightcrawlers and dough bait; blue catfish - poor with a few being caught on cut bait or crappie entrails; walleye - poor with a few shorts caught on the south side of lake near points of coves while trolling with small crankbaits or nightcrawlers around 15 feet or deeper.

CLINTON: mid to upper 70s, stained, about 1.7 feet low. Outlook: Kansas Angling Experience Guide Service reports: wipers/white bass - good and fish are moving into their early fall patterns and are stacking up good. The rain has stained the water enough to keep the fish more stationary making them easier to pick off. Great bites happening. Crappie – fair on jigs and minnows in 12-15 feet of water in standing timber; Walleye – slow, very scattered, deep; All ramps usable. Join Northeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily fishing updates.

POMONA: low to mid 70s, stained, about 2.4 feet low. Outlook: Lighthouse Bay Marina reports: Catfish - still good on chicken liver or cut shad; all other species slow.

PERRY: upper 60s/low 70s, stained, 1.7 feet low. Outlook: Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle reports: most fishing activity has been the same as last week. A lot of crappie were caught, but had to weed through quite a few small ones to get to the better ones. Look in brush piles and don’t be afraid to fish shallow in 3-5 feet. Minnows outperformed jigs. White bass have been biting well. Blue catfish have been decent up to 17 feet of water, but shallow water was best for numbers and bigger fish. Folks were catching them around Slough Creek and up in the north end.

MILFORD: 76 degrees, stained, 3.3 feet high Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: KDWPT last updated 9/19. Catfish – fair to good along channel ledges and flats on cut bait, worms, and shrimp. Look for recently tagged blue cats! Crappie – fair to good 15 feet deep suspended near points, brush, and ledges on jigs and minnows; walleye – fair and scattered near flats, points or ledges about 20 feet deep using jigs, worms, and crankbaits; white bass/wipers – good along windy banks, humps, and points chasing shad, try jigs, spoons, jigs, crankbaits and topwater have been very good lately; smallmouth – fair to good near deep gravel/rock points and banks on jigs, crank baits, and topwater lures; largemouth – fair to good near points and deeper coves with brush/rock on jigs, crank baits, spinner baits, and topwater lures. Join Northeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

HILLSDALE: 75 degrees, clear, 3 feet low. Outlook: Jayhawk Marina reports: lake is falling. Crappie – fair to good on jigs and minnows in 6-10 feet deep; channel catfish – fair on chicken liver, worms, or stink bait on the bottom and river channels. No reports on walleye or largemouth bass. The fishing dock opens at 7am, kids 12 and under are free. Join Northeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

LA CYGNE: 89 degrees at hot water outlet, upper 70s/low 80s everywhere else, clear, low. Outlook: Linn County Park reports: bass and crappie were pretty good in the last week. All other species slow to fair.

GLEN ELDER (WACONDA LAKE): mid 70s, clear, about 2 feet high Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism reports: KDWPT last updated 9/14. Crappie – fair, the fish are hanging out around the deeper brush piles and Georgia cubes. Minnows and jigs are most effective. Walleye – fair with a few caught by anglers trolling for white bass and wipers using a variety of crankbaits. Look for them in 3 to 6 feet of water along the state park shoreline and in Walnut Creek. Trolling shallow running crankbaits works well as does casting swimbaits and slab spoons. White bass/wipers – good, there has been a fair amount of surface activity with mainly white bass, but also with a few wipers. Look for these fish chasing shad on calm days in the last hour of daylight around the state park, dam, and south bluffs. There are also fish being caught around the outlet depending on how much water is moving through. Anglers should also target the windblown side of the reservoir as schools of whites will follow the shad close to shore. Trolling along the old highway 24 roadbed and in Walnut Creek has also been productive. Black bass – fair to good when fishing early in the day and late in the evening. Casting topwater lures has been very productive for both species, but using plastic worms, Senkos, and Ned rigs will also work well. Catfish – good. Chumming activity will offer the best angling opportunities using a variety of stink baits. Anglers should also target moving water and fish for catfish up the rivers and near the outlet as water is being released. Set line anglers will have success on the west end and in the creek coves for both flatheads and channel catfish.

TUTTLE CREEK: 75 degrees, stained, 15.8 feet high. Outlook: Kansas Department of Wildlife reports: last KDWPT online update was 8/23. The lake is very high. Crappie – fair on jigs or minnows. They are in their summer pattern and are scattered along rocky shorelines or in brush in 8-12 feet of water. White bass – slow to fair along main lake points; catfish – fair to good, try cut bait or liver where the creeks enter the lake or around Fancy Creek with worms. Channels are up shallow feeding up with the water level coming up and will take a worm. Fishing for blues has been good in the river below the reservoir with fresh cut bait. Be sure to check any blue catfish for a yellow tag in its back and report the tag number and the general location of the catch to (785) 539-7941 or ely.sprenkle@ks.gov. A big THANK YOU to all who report their catch! Largemouth bass – slow, but coves in the southern third of the reservoir have decent populations of bass and McIntyre Cove tends to produce the best. Saugeye – fair and the river pond has been the best place for them so far this year dragging a nightcrawler or casting jigs and crankbaits. There is a 15-inch minimum length limit on the reservoir, but it does not apply to saugeye in the river pond or at the “tubes”. Join Northeast Kansas Area Fishing Facebook Group for daily updates.

WYANDOTTE: upper 70s/low 80s, clear, 1 foot low. Outlook: Wyandotte Boat Rental reports: no updated report submitted. Last week’s report: Bluegill - have been good; crappie – good late evening or at night; catfish - have slowed down, better at night; bass – are very good and continue to be caught on a variety of baits along weed edges, including plastics worked along the bottom; all other species – no reports.

WILSON: mid to upper 70s, mostly clear, about 1 foot high. Outlook: Knothead’s Bait Shop reports: no major changes. Walleye – a few more anglers are getting into the walleye using swimbaits and dropping them to the bottom, look for them 8-18 feet or up in or around grass, trolling crankbaits or jigging nightcrawlers have been effective. Fishing your baits slow will produce the most. Stripers – fair to good and being caught in six feet of water drawing them out of the flooded vegetation; black bass – both largemouth and smallmouth continue to be good, but more largemouth are being caught lately, white has been a good color on baits. Bite for both species has really picked up on swimbaits; white perch – have slowed down, try up in Hell Creek and you’ll find them in the deeply stained water; channel and blue catfish – fair to good, mostly on the west end.

EL DORADO: mid 70s, stained, slightly low. Outlook: Wildlife, Parks & Tourism reports: KDWPT last updated 9/14. Blue catfish - fair and are being caught on fresh shad on shallow flats, on the edges of river channels, in recently submerged vegetation, and in the upper ends of the lake in areas with inflow. There is a 25 to 35-inch protective slot limit with daily creel limit of five per day with no more than two 35 inches and longer. Wipers – good. Watch for surface feeding activity in the evenings and use shad imitating lures such as jig and plastics, spoons, crankbaits, or inline spinners. Be sure to properly ID your catch as there is a 21-inch minimum length limit and 2/day creel limit on wiper. White bass – fair and same as wiper report. White Perch – slow with few reports available this week. Look along breaks or on humps using small jigs, spoons, or spinners. White crappie – good. Although high numbers of crappie have not been caught this week the fish that are being caught are of quality size in the 12 to 15 inch range. Best reports are coming from standing timber along channels or old roads dipping jigs 7 to 11 feet deep. Channel catfish – fair to good drifting fresh shad on the flats is a good tactic this time of year. Liver and stink baits fished on the bottom on windy points or shorelines is also producing. Walleye – fair on medium sized crank baits (#7 and #9) trolled along breaks, windy flats, and old roads have been catching walleye. Vertically fishing slab spoons near old roads or ledges also producing.

Tyler Mahoney is a Rockhurst University-educated outdoors fanatic who works to support his hunting and fishing habits. Read more of his next-generation insight at mahoneyoutdoors.com.