how to catch smallmouth bass

Catching Bass; Stockton Lake, S.W. Missouri.

Catching Bass; Stockton Lake, S.W. Missouri.

September 30th, 2014.  Hartley Branch, Stockton State Park,

Stockton Lake, Missouri ! By Randman011

( Admin/Webmaster Randy Yancey)


Hello fellow bassers,

This is a post on my fishing trip to Stockton Lake in Southwest Missouri where we enjoy 5-6 good bass lakes within an hour to an hour and a half drive.

Stockton Lake in southwest Missouri is one of the premier ‘smaller lakes’ in this bass fishing mecca, on the edge of the Ozark Mountain range. I’ve fished Stockton dozens of times but not within the past 10-11 years.

I decided to put in at ‘Hartley Branch’ which is one of the closer ‘boat ramps’ to Springfield where I’ve had the pleasure to reside since July of 1993.

The day was more like a June or July day than a September one. Temperature was a ‘warm’ 83 degrees, and I decided to try and figure out the pattern for the day, and pretend I was in a tournament on a strange lake and had to catch some fish to move on.

I pulled in a cut right off the main lake, and a breeze was gusting to 15-16 mph at 1 pm when I launched. After fishing the cut for about 45 minutes with no luck, using tube lures, spinner baits and ‘jigs’, I decided to try a different bigger cut to the north.

The bass had lock-jaw and after almost 3 hours of fishing with ‘no fish’ caught, I pulled in a quite cove and ate my sandwich, had a bottle of water, checked my lake map and tried to figure out ‘how to catch a bass or two’.

Since the wind had been blowing all afternoon, I decided to fish the main lake points, where I figured the baitfish had been blown.

I tied on a chartreuse/white buzz bait, with a ‘gold’ blade ( don’t know why, but that is the only blade color they will bite this year) and pulled into the backside of the first point in that creek arm off the main lake.

Stockton lake smallie 9.30

I casted to a laydown log, first on the right, then in the ‘y’ of the trunk, and then to the left side. Halfway back to the boat and ‘whoosh’ a nice 14” Kentucky bass (also known as ‘spotted bass’) gulped it in. Keeper one in the boat. Worked my way down about 300-400 feet to a little scooped out ‘cut’ and went to the quite water at the very back, and another Kentucky exploded on the buzzbait. Not a keeper at about 11.5 inches, I tossed him back.

By this time it was about 5:30, I’d been fishing hard for 4 and a half hours, and had only ‘1’ keeper in the boat. I motored back in to the creek arm, went past the boat ramp back about 2/3 rds. the way, and noticed a little cut with some wood and some slab rocks, and decided to through a gold bladed spinner bait along with the buzz bait.

After only a few casts, I threw the buzz bait, up against the bank to the right side of a stickup and ‘wham’, a nice sized fish gulped it down (see pics)

I then proceeded to catch several 13 to 16” smallmouths, on the gold bladed spinner bait, after the topwater bite stopped. From that one cut, just across the creek from the Hartley Branch boat ramp, I brought in 2 more keepers and caught 2-3 short fish too.

All in all, it was a great day of fishing for bass on Stockton Lake in southwest Missouri.


Check out this 4 minute videos on ‘Fishing on Stockton Lake’. Click Here!

Check out our other bass fishing and outdoor websites

How to Catch Big‘   ‘ How to Catch Largemouth‘ ‘ How to Catch Smallmouth‘ ‘ How to Catch a‘ and Many More!


About the author

Leave a Reply