Destinations February 2020

Making Memories in Missouri

Missouri is well-known for a lot of things but crappie fishing probably isn’t at the top of the list. Take a trip with Tandem Fly Outfitters, however, and you might change your mind.


Making Memories in Missouri

Missouri is well kept crappie fishing secret

by Larry Whiteley


When you think of great places to travel to experience tremendous crappie fishing you probably think of the crappie lakes in Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas and others. More than likely you don’t think of Missouri. If that’s you, you might be missing out.

There are a lot of places you can go crappie fishing in Missouri but in my humble opinion, Stockton Lake and Pomme de Terre Lake located in southwest Missouri are two of the best. Obviously you can fish them on your but if you want some professional guidance on either lake get in touch with the Nelson family and their Tandem Fly Outfitters.

Kris and Amanda Nelson, with help from daughter Lilly and son Timothy, operate a guide service from their Stone Creek Lodge in Stockton, MO. I have been with fishing guides all over America and believe me there is none better than Kris Nelson. This young man works hard at what he does and knows where the fish are. He has all the latest electronic equipment to put you on fish and his boats are setup to accommodate families or several fishing buddies. You can bring your own equipment if you want but you don’t have to because he has everything you will need. Catch a crappie and he will hand you another rod baited up and ready to go so you can go back to fishing while he puts your fish in the live well.

Stockton Lake is also known as one of the best walleye lakes in the country. Kris knows where they hang out or you can opt for largemouth and smallmouth bass. In mid-March to the end of April, you can take advantage of furious white bass frenzy.

Tandem Fly Outfitters does half or full day trips however they also have two, three and four-day all-inclusive packages that include lodging, meals, and guided fishing trips. Kris, Amanda and the kids love getting to know their guests and you will enjoy getting to know the Nelson family.

The Nelsons do not book hunting trips but there are plentiful opportunities in the area. If you are there around the middle of April, Missouri is well-known for a plentiful population of wild turkeys or search for a bunch of fresh morel mushrooms. Book your fishing trip during the fall deer season and you might be leaving with a cooler full of venison steaks and crappie fillets.

There are a lot of other things to do in the area. You will also be a short drive from Springfield, MO and the granddaddy of all outdoor stores as well as the second largest retail store in America, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.  Right next door is the Johnny Morris Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium, voted America’s Best Aquarium and Best New Attraction by the readers of USA Today. There are also unique shopping experiences and great places to dine. Late spring through summer you can also attend a minor league baseball game and cheer on the Springfield Cardinals.

A short drive from Springfield through beautiful rolling hills takes you into Ozark Mountain Country and Branson, MO where you can choose music shows, great dining, lodging, shopping, theme parks and other attractions. If you are a golfer Branson is considered one of the Midwest’s best destinations for golf. Plus, there are plenty of outdoor opportunities like hiking, biking, camping and great fishing. Lake Taneycomo is a world class trout fishery. Table Rock Lake and Bull Shoals Lake offer walleye, bass and of course crappie. Check it all out at Explore Branson.

If you have never been to southwest Missouri or Ozark Mountain Country, I invite you to come enjoy the great crappie fishing with the Nelson family and other fishing too but I encourage you to take time to discover all this special part of America has to offer. Whether it’s with fishing buddies or family, this area is all about making memories.


(Larry Whiteley is the “Great Outdoors” columnist for CrappieNOW!. He is an award-winning writer with numerous awards from the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW). He’s been inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. He has also been the voice of Bass Pro Shops for decades as a host of their radio programs)

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