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  • Ranger Alluminum
    Fishing News 15 Jan 2019

    Crappie Kingdom


    2018 IS HISTORY


    The year 2018 flew by and seem to fly by quicker the older I get.  I’m sure some of you feel my pain.  My intentions are to continue fishing every chance I get in 2019 since every trip I don’t make I cannot make up.  The year 2018 was interesting to say the least.  It was fun making it history.

    The year started out very slow.  Cold weather kept many of us off the lake for days at a time (or at least kept me off the water).  A typical winter pattern should have been finding shad “balls” and catching fish down in the middle of them.  It wasn’t that good on Stockton Lake.  What fish were caught were running sub-legal length and widely scattered.  Spider Rigging on Truman was doing well according to my sources up there.  Pomme was producing large numbers of fish but most were running small with few bigger fish being caught over deep timber and deep structure. 

    The pre-spawn bite was tough on Stockton. The water temperature would warm a bit and then a cold snap would cool it off.  The bite was sporadic and keepers were hard to come by.  Several small under length fish could be caught if you happen to hit a spot that was holding fish.

    The spawn came and went much like the pre-spawn.  Water temperature and lake fluctuation was a factor for lack of consistent catches.  As usual, early morning and late evening low light conditions produced the best bite.  Small fish were prevalent and keepers were scattered.  Clear water hit Stockton Lake. I had never seen it so clear.  Visibility was up to 15-20 feet deep.  Many fish were spawning deep and presented a challenge to find them and catch them.  The spawn on Truman and Pomme was really good. Pomme was producing a huge number of small fish and many limits contained very few larger fish.  As the spawn came to a close, I was about 350 keeper fish behind a normal year.

    I took a break and went to Lake Oahe in South Dakota to Walleye and Smallmouth fish.  I had to do a bit of Crappie fishing there as well.  When I got back, the summer pattern was about to begin.  Mid-June is the time for summer structure fishing.  The summer bite was phenomenal.  The water clarity had corrected itself and was back to normal 3-5 feet of visibility.  It was game on well up into November.  As the water cooled the summer pattern diminished.  Fish started to go deep.  Many of the fish went deeper quicker than usual.  And so the 2018 fishing season drew to an end.

    Although the catch rate of keepers was off in the earlier part of the year, it picked up and ended average or slightly above.  The number of trips I had was less than in years past.  I generally average 100+ trips but only got in 85 this past year.  The number of keeper fish that came over the side of the boat I was in was well over 2000 for the year.  Note that I did not catch all those fish because other people could have been in the boat with me.  I guestimate that for every keeper fish this year at least 3-5 short fish were caught.  Early in the year a lot of 9-9 ½ inch fish were caught.   I have already been on the lake a couple times since the New Year and hope that I will have many more trips in 2019.  Until we meet, be safe out there and good catching.


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