Hungry fish, Great Food, New Best Friends – Welcome to Stone Creek Lodge

  • Southern Hospitality that is Matchless
  • Fish-Catching that is Unforgettable
  • New Friends that Make Time Extraordinary
Nothing like fresh crappie for that family and friends campfire dinner at the end of the day. Payden and Tyler at Stone Creek Lodge helped us catch lots of ’em.

By David Gray

A warm welcome is something you feel if it is real. Nestled in the Missouri Ozark hills near Stockton Lake, everything about hospitality is real at Stone Creek Lodge. I know it’s real because it’s genuine.

My SUV swung quietly into the parking lot of the Stone Creek office as I noticed a guy wiping down his boat. About the same time, he waved the way you wave to a good friend, like a glad-to-see-you greeting. I thought he might have mistaken me for someone he knew, but I would soon find out the guy with the wave was Kris Nelson, who with his wife Amanda, own and operate Stone Creek Lodge.   

Soon after that wave, I raised the bar of my surprise yet more. When you walk into Stone Creek Lodge you are a friend, not because you are a customer, but because the people who own and work there are just that way – genuine friendly folks that want to share the adventure of the outdoors with you.  

Stone Creek Lodge has many ways to satisfy their friends, who originally came is as customers. A fine line to draw there.

Their fully stocked tackle store includes the effective lures, the right line, terminal hardware, floats and hooks, jigs of the right color and size, plastic tails and plastic worms too, and a great selection of live bait. The Lodging has rooms that any fisherman can call home.    

The lodge office even has a snack bar with pizza. Famous pizza too. Mention pizza and most folks immediately brag on their favorite pizza establishment or brand. This pizza could win an award downtown, not to mention at any fishing lodge. The Stoner Creek pizza is great, best part, you can get your pizza with a conversation they call “fishing talk.” It doesn’t get any better than good advice with your pepperoni.  

Nice to enjoy a fishing lodge that delivers so much before you even get on the water.

The fishing on Stockton Lake is nearly boundless, with over 25,000 acres to explore. This Missouri Corp of Engineers reservoir straddles Cedar, Dade and Polk counties in the southwest Missouri Ozarks. Close by are the friendly adventure supply towns of Stockton and Bolivar. Stockton is only 6 miles travel, but Bolivar, about 45 minutes away, is a larger city of 15,000 with a special charm where folks visit the Polk County Museum and Dunnegan Gallery of Art. Don’t miss the Town Square either!

Kris and Amanda Nelson, owners Stone Creek Lodge, create new best friends on a daily basis.

While there are a number of excellent lakes in this part of Missouri, both large and small waterway, many offer good fishing for several species, Stockton Lake stands out with really great fishing. Anglers vie for multiple species including black bass, crappie, walleye and white bass, and you can catch all four species on the same day.

Stockton also delivers a special pleasure. Close your eyes and let your guide take you down the lake in any direction. Open your eyes and you might think your guide has whisked you away to a wilderness fly-in Canadian Lake. The Stockton shoreline is unspoiled with simple, natural beauty, as there are no lake homes on the water at Stockton. It’s great to feel like you are not fishing in someone’s back yard all the time.

Some people are born fisherman. Kris Nelson, the owner and head guide, is one of those. Very few guides are blessed with the fishing skills of Kris Nelson. He knows the lake, finds the fish, shares methods and expertise, teaches you how to catch them and after 10 minutes with him, you feel you have known him for years.  Another new friend.

Kris Nelsen and David Gray shared great fishing in a very shot time on the water.

Last Friday, September 21, with late summer weather hanging on, we measured high water temps, the fishing should have been tough and slow. It was anything but slow, with Kris and JT teaching me how to catch them. First jigging for crappie, then chasing white bass – the action was fast and fun. Kris and JT both sharing and helping with knowledge learned thru many days on the water at Stockton. I realized quickly that the goal of a late September fish fry for friends on shore was not in doubt.

You will be welcome at Stone Creek Lodge.  

You will enjoy the visit, the lodge, the fishing and the fun adventure that comes with laughter.  Great medicine for a getaway that you and I need more often than not. Especially when it’s affordable.

My advice is to come and relax here when you can, go fishing with these fine folks and take some fillets home for later. It will help you remember the fun you enjoyed here, like it has for me.  One thing for sure, you will always feel that warm welcome here.

To know more about Stone Creek Lodge, phone them at 417-276-1700, or go online and visit



Stockton Lake white crappie are large, plentiful, fun to catch and tasty!

  • Answering the Call
  • Learning about Life, Love, Fishermen and Jesus
  • Stone Creek Lodge, Stockton Lake…a Place to Visit
  • Great Fishing Trips, Vacation Fun…Creating a Legacy and Passion for Sharing

By Larry Whiteley

As a young man Kris Nelson loved to go fishing every chance he had.  He fished in all the lakes and streams of southwest Missouri near his hometown of Willard. While other young men were playing sports or doing things they shouldn’t, Kris was fishing.

When he graduated from high school he worked and saved his money, then got into buying houses, fixing them up and selling them for a profit. His success gave him the time and money to go fishing.

In 2008, when the housing market went bust, Kris lost virtually everything and had to go out and find a job. Through it all though he still found a way to go do what he loved. Fishing helped him through the tough times.

While working at a factory job in Springfield, a friend told him, “Kris, what are you doing here? This is not for you. Your heart is in fishing.” Not long after, he found out about a job in Florida as a fishing guide, so he sold his boat and off he went to follow his dream.

In 2011 after a few years of guiding and even being captain of a charter fishing boat, Kris decided it was time to go back home to the Missouri Ozarks.

Stockton Lake walleye can be elusive, but Kris Nelson (guide) says, “There are ways to find them!”

Shortly after getting  back from Florida he was fly fishing for trout below the dam on Lake Taneycomo and having great success, when another fisherman who wasn’t having the same success came up to him. He wanted to know if he would show him how he was catching them. Kris patiently helped and then smiled as the man started reeling in fish.

Crappie fishing is prime time fishing fun at Stone Creek Lodge.

It turned out the man was in Branson with some friends and he asked Kris if he would guide him and his buddy’s the next day, and they would pay him. Since he needed the money, Kris agreed, but he didn’t have a boat, so he rented one from Lilley’s Landing and Resort. The day was a success and the fishermen were happy.

That got Kris to thinking that maybe there were other fishermen willing to pay him for guiding them on Lake Taneycomo. Unable to afford a boat to guide, a good friend named Justin Hayden loaned him his boat and Kris’s guide business was off and running.

He eventually saved enough money to buy his own boat and began expanding his guiding business to Stockton Lake and Pomme de Terre Lake, as well as Lake Taneycomo.  He called his business, “Tandem Fly Outfitters.”

About that time, another very special thing happened in Kris’s life. His cousin set him up on a blind date with a beautiful girl named Amanda and he was totally hooked.

Another chapter in the life of Kris and Amanda began in 2017. He was doing so many guide trips on Stockton, he started renting a room at Stone Creek Lodge. That way, he wouldn’t have to drive back and forth to Branson each day. The owner of the lodge had noticed how Kris’s guide business was thriving and approached him about buying the lodge.

Amanda had to drive back and forth a lot so she could be with Kris when he wasn’t guiding, so the two talked it over and decided to take a big step and buy it. To make it all even more special, three days after writing up a contract on the lodge, they found out Amanda was pregnant and they are now the proud parents of a pretty girl named Lilly.

Today you will find Amanda and Lilly running the lodge, snack shop and tackle store, while Kris is out on the water making sure their customers are having a good time and catching lots of fish. When the day’s work is done, you will usually find Kris walking around their property with one arm around Amanda, holding Lilly in his other arm and smiling.

I have fished both Taneycomo and Pomme de Terre with this young man and, to be honest with you, I have been with guides all over the U.S. and Canada, but I have never had a better fishing guide. He is knowledgeable and wise far beyond his age. You will catch fish and you will catch a lot of them. I would not hesitate in recommending Kris Nelson to anyone wanting to experience a great fishing trip.

God has been good to Kris Nelson and, in his wonderful Ozarks accent, he is quick to give Him all the credit and praise for what has happened in his life. I would just bet his favorite bible verse is Matthew 4:19. Look it up and you will understand what I mean.

After reading this, I think you will probably agree that the amazing life of Kris Nelson, his family and their business, all makes this a really great fish story.

To book a trip with Kris go to his Facebook page @Tandem Fly Outfitters or call the lodge at 417-276-1700.

Amanda, Kris and Lilly Nelson offer top fishing fun and share their joy for life and love with everyone that has ever met them.  Meet these great friends of mine at Stone Creek Lodge on your next outdoor adventure.  Larry Whiteley Photo