Just before daylight last Saturday, lightning lit up the sky and the wind started up. It looked as though a planned walleye trip would be off.

Just before daylight last Saturday, lightning lit up the sky and the wind started up. It looked as though a planned walleye trip would be off.

However, when we arrived at the Roark Bluff launching ramp, we met guide Bob Bennett of Greenfield, Mo., who asked, “Are you ready to go fishing?”

As we motored across Stockton Lake, it appeared the storm was headed east and the sky lightened up a little. With the overcast sky, it looked like it might be a good day to catch walleye.

Bennett, 43, pulled into a small pocket about 100 yards from the shore in a spot he had been catching fish. His electronics told him there were fish below. On his second cast, he felt a tug on his line and then boated the first walleye of the day. A lot more would follow.

“This lake has some great walleye fishing that keeps getting better,” he said.

For the past month, Bennett has found good fishing for walleye.

“I have several spots where I always find fish,” Bennett added. “A lot of them are under the 15-inch length limit, but we have caught some nice ones, including a 6-pounder last week.”

After leaving the Kansas City police force eight years ago, Bennett has been a guide on Stockton. He is on the water at least 250 days per year. His largest walleye so far this year was a 7-pound lunker.

“I first started fishing and camping at Stockton years ago and knew it was the place I wanted to be,” Bennett said. “It’s a very good fishing lake and not nearly as crowded as some of the other big lakes in the state. Bass, crappie, catfish and bluegill fishing is as good as any lake around.”

My fishing friend was Ken Rafferty from Cameron, Mo. We both graduated from Carrollton High School and played football on the Trojan squad. Rafferty manages to fish Stockton several times a year, usually for bass, but he knew it was the premier walleye fishery in the state, and we set out to prove it.

Using a nightcrawler attached to a jig was the killer bait, and Bennett is a master at loading up a hook with a half worm that produces fish.

“Earlier in the year I use jerkbaits and I also use crankbaits, but right now a worm-and-jig combination is hard to beat,” Bennett said.

Not only did we catch six keeper walleye, we also caught another dozen just under the 15-inch limit. There was plenty of action a during the three hours we were on the lake. Along with the walleye, we also had more than a dozen big bluegill, lots of drum, some bass and even a flathead catfish.

In the past, anglers thought about walleye fishing as something you go north to do. However, things have changed. Many anglers who used to travel to Canada or Minnesota for walleye fishing now head south to lakes like Stockton and Bull Shoals. Lake Jacomo and Longview Lake also hold good populations of walleye. The Missouri record walleye was a 21-pounder taken back in 1988 from Bull Shoals. At Stockton, a 4- or 5-pound walleye is not uncommon.

For Bob Bennett, fishing Stockton never ends. He is out on the lake in all seasons.

“As long as the lake is open, I’ll be fishing,” he said. “Some of the best crappie fishing happens in the winter months.”

However, right now, Bennett is concentrating on the good walleye fishing when catching 20 or more fish a trip isn’t uncommon.