GET WEEKLY ND FISHING REPORTS FROM MISSOURI RIVER, LAKE SAKAKAWEA AND LAKE OAHE
Been a busy couple of weeks here on the Big Muddy the last couple weeks. Fishing has been up and down with all the cold weather and increases in water releases from the Garrison dam. Water temp has caused most of the problems as we are still hanging around the 44 degrees mark for temps but I see a change for the better coming this week as weather finally levels off. we spent most of our time south of Bismarck the last few days as the rise in water really messed with the fish and the sandbars north of town. We were able to catch some limits of fish but we had to grind for them. Vertical jigging with minnows was the best presentation for us in about 8 to 15 feet of water. The fish were right in the fast currant so don't be afraid to try that. As the water warms this week and the river level stabilizes we should see a big improvement in fishing.
Lake Sakakawea is starting to turn on pretty good on the west end. Fantastic fishing the last few days west of the Newtown ND Four Bears bridge area and its just beginning. Fish are being caught a variety of ways from vertical jigging to bottom bouncers to cranks and some pitching with plastics. The fish are a little scattered depth wise with some as shallow as 2 feet and as deep as 30 feet. The best is about 8 to 18 feet but keep someone in the boat casting to the shore to see if they are shallow. Same thing goes for this area as the river, as the water warms the fishing will continue to get better... if that's possible.
Fishing was a little slower the last week as the spawn is in full swing. Still getting a few fish to bite but definitely off from the week before and the females we catch are spawned out. The fish are still scattered as far as depth goes but the best for us has been 2 to 6 feet behind sandbars. There are still fish in the deeper holes but they are pretty small for the most part. I would expect the fishing to improve by the weekend as the spawn winds down. There will be an abundance of very aggressive male fish that will be eager to play.
Lake Sakakawea is starting pickup as well and fishing should be very good there in about 2 weeks. The fish are spawning in most places but the recent cold temps may slow it down a bit. I expect fishing to be good this weekend on the wester quarter of the lake and continuing to pick up downstream of that as the water warms up. Looks like the weather will cooperate nicely in the come days.
Give me call if you would like to book a trip either on the lake or the river. We have some open dates and would love to take you out.
Sorry for the late report but things have been a little busy lately. Last week was a very good week for fishing on the Big Muddy! Some very big fish caught and the state record walleye was caught just a day or 2 ago on one the tributaries, the Heart River, it went a whopping 16bls 9oz. that's well over a pound about the record fish that was caught last year in the Missouri River not far from the mouth of the Heart River. Saw plenty of limits of good eater size fish this week as well and we are still in prespawn. The river is still pretty low but this will be changing as the Corps of Engineers will be ramping up releases out of the Garrison dam starting in about a week. I have been concentrating my efforts to the north of town trying to get away from all the traffic closer to Bismarck. Some days are better than other of course but we always seem to get our fish. Still haven't broken the 28 inch mark but have caught plenty of fish in the 24 to 28 inch range. The spawn is very close and once that is over the fishing will get very good for about a month or so. Won't be as many big fish but lots of good eater size fish to play with for sure. Right now the fish are a bit scattered, we got fish anywhere from 2 feet down to 30 feet so ya gotta check everything. We have some openings so if you want to get on this great fishery give me a call and lets go fishing.
The river around Bismarck has cleaned up and the fish are biting! At least north of town anyway, the Heart river is still dumping a lot of mud down stream. I think that will start to clean up towards the end of the week. Saturday we fished the tailrace and although we had a bit of a slow start it turned out very good and we were able to take 13 good fish in the 14 to 18 inch range and a bonus salmon. Sunday we launched at fox Island and quickly found out that we weren't the only ones who wanted to take advantage of the nice weather and the cleaner water. We managed a decent 2 man limit in the 14 to 18 inch range and had a couple nice release fish, a 23 and a 27 inch fish. We caught fish anywhere from 2 to 30 feet depending on where we were at. The smaller fish were in the deeper holes and the bigger fish were all caught shallower than 8 feet. Jigs and minnows was the only thing we had bites on, tried some plastics and never had any action. The fishing will only get better in the river from now till June. Give us a call if you want to take advantage of this great fishery
Things are looking up to get the Missouri river fishing season into full swing. The river is pretty well open now to the Mclean bottoms area at least and will make big gains the next few days. The water is a bit dirty right now but will be clearing as the snow has about all melted now. The smaller tributary creeks and rivers are settling down nicely now too so it shouldn't take too long. We will be dealing with some low water as they are holding water back up at the dam to help out with flooding in Nebraska and I have a feeling the further south on the river we get the better fishing will be, at least to start.
We have plenty of openings in May and it should be a great spring on the river so give us a call and lets go fishing!
The weather is cooperating nicely and the ice is starting to move out of the river although a little slower than I would like but that helps with the flooding threat. I'm thinking we may be able to launch boats here in the Bismarck area by mid next week. So for now we are still concentrating on the tailrace and Washburn areas and where we find clean water there are some fish to catch. Not getting a lot of limits right now but as everything settles down that will change quickly. Made it up to Nelson Lake by Center ND last Saturday. This is a power plant lake that stay warm all winter long and is full of large mouth bass. We got a few and the biggest was 18 inches so not a banner day but a nice change of pace once in a while. There are bass in this lake over 8lbs so if ya hit it right it can be a lot of fun. The water was pretty dirty so that may have had an effect on the fishing.
The fishing will improve quickly in the next week as the thaw is behind and the fish haven't be pressured for a long time. It should be a strong spring season for some real trophy fish. Saw the state record walleye taken last spring and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see it again this spring!
Made it out on the river last weekend launching at the Garrison dam tailrace ramp. We fished both Saturday and Sunday and true to form for this area the fishing was a little tough with Sunday being the better day for catching fish. We manage 2 walleye, a ling and few pike for our trouble Saturday and Sunday we managed to land 7 walleye and 3 trout. All in all it was a good couple of days on the water after a very long off season! The river is slowly opening up taking a few miles of ice out every day now and I'm expecting to see things open up in the Bismarck area in the next week or two.
We have plenty of openings for early season river fishing in April and May so give me a call.
Well, after a very long and cold winter I think we are finally going to get back on the water. The tail race area of the Garrison Dam is the only game around right now but after 3 months of not fishing I will be very glad to get up there this weekend and give it a try. There have been a few guys up there this past week and the fishing has been good. This is a great place to get the season started! I will post a report on Monday on how it went.
Hello all and happy holidays! Not much to report in the way of fishing, weather has not been cooperating and deer hunting took up a lot of time this year but I figured I better talk about a few changes coming up for next season. The first change is I have a new office for the upcoming season. I just picked up a 2012 Lund 2075 PRO V. This will give me a lot more fishing space than the other boat and I will be able to offer 4 person trips now much easier. It has all the latest toys to help me find fish and keep us catching. I will post pictures in the coming weeks when I get a chance. I will also be adding special 2 and 3 day trip rates to the menu as well and I may offer shore lunch or an evening fish fry on 2 and 3 day trips. That's about it for that, at least till think of something else anyway.
The reports I have been getting and mainly Ice fishing (which I don't do) and the tail race (this I fish). The ice fishing is really getting going now for those that have been out. Good catches from devils lake and lake Audubon have been reported as well as some of the smaller pothole lakes. Of course the fish that are being targeted are walleye, pike and perch as usual. If you are interested in a trip let me know I will set you up with the right guys so you have a good trip.
The first chance I get I will be up at the tailrace and have heard the fish are biting if you can get out. This is fairly difficult fishing as the fish will not tolerate the boat going over them so you pretty much have to cast to them will anchored. It's a lot of fun but not for everyone.
With that I will sign off and will be making changes to the web site in the coming weeks. Also if you know anyone looking for a great boat the 2003 ranger is for sale. 2 2017 Suzuki motors with 4 more years of warranty and the graphs and trolling motor will go with it. It's set up very well and ready to fish. Thanks to all that went fishing with me this year and I hope to see you all again for the upcoming season. Merry Christmas!
Sorry for the late report but its been a little busy this fall. The fishing has been very good on Lake Sakakawea this fall. Not necessarily easy fishing but rewarding for those that work at it. We have been concentrating our efforts in the pouch bay area and west in 18 to 25 feet of water the last 2 weeks. The quality of the fish is incredible with limits of fish in the 18 to 22 inch range being the norm with a few catch and release fish in the mix. I still believe the best is yet to come as water temps continue to go down. Jigs and minnows fished very slowly around points was best the last 2 weeks. Always a good idea to pitch to the shallows and work it back slowly as well, caught a few doing that as well.
The Missouri River around Bismarck has been getting better all the time as well and some very nice fish up to 30 inches have showed up to the party. Jigs and minnows have been the best for us in anywhere from 5 feet to 20 feet. The fish are a bit scattered and on the move so keep moving and cover as many likely looking areas as you can till you find fish.
With deer season fast approaching the fishing will get put on the back burner for a week or so but as long as the weather hold I'll be out there when ever I can. The fishing will remain good all the way till ice up so if you're interested in a late season trip give me a call, I'd love to take you out. Tight lines
Made it up to Lake Sakakawea over the weekend launching at Deepwater Bay. The fishing was very good again with a nice limit of walleye in the 16 to 23 inch range and a few pike and smallies to go with them. Vertical jigging with jigs and minnows was the ticket for us in 15 to 30 feet of water. We also had boats on the river as well and the story was the same, nice limits of fish in the 15 to 20 inch range with a few bigger ones mixed in, vertical jigging was the best way to get fish in the boat.
The fall bite is in full swing now in all my favorite areas of the system and now is the time to get on the water. We have some open dates left and will be fishing right up till freeze up so if you are looking to book a trip now is the time.
The fall bite has really started to pickup in the last week with the cooler temps and cooling water temps. Lake Sakakawea is getting very good with fairly easy limits of very nice fish in the 16 to 22 inch range with a few release fish mixed in. Jigging raps and jigs and minnows are my go to presentations but lindys with bottom bouncers and also cranks will get some fish as well. Look for areas close to sharp dropping structure close to deep water in 18 to 30 feet of water and you should be in business. Don't for get to look shallow once in a while as well, there will be some there at times.
The Missouri river and Lake Oahe are doing well too but not as consistent for bigger fish but that should be changing as we move further into fall. Jigs and minnows 8 to 12 feet on the river and 18 to 40 feet on the lake. I know that's a big swing in depths but the fish are a little scattered. Lake Oahe is a great option right now if you like a variety of fish species right now. Plenty of pig pike around as well as catfish, smallmouth, white bass, crappies and even a few nice perch every now and then.
October is almost here and for those that want to brave a little cold weather there are some great opportunities out there.
Made it out a few times on the Missouri River and Lake Oahe this week and the fishing is picking up. In both areas the fish are still on the small side but good eating size for sure. The Lake is probably a little more consistent than the river but both are very good options right now. On Lake Oahe we concentrated on 18 to 35 feet with jigs and minnows and we caught almost every kind of fish in the system, we even managed a few decent size perch for the frying pan. Catfish, Pike, Walleye, white bass, smallmouth bass and drum all fell prey the jigs. On The river you have to keep your thinking cap on as the fish can be just about anywhere right now. I've probably done best in 8 to 12 feet but about the time ya think that's the ticket you'll find some good fish in a deep 25 to 30 foot hole. Just keep moving till ya find some fish and you should do fine. It's a little odd to me that the fish in the river seem to be a little better looking fish than the ones in the Lake, must be a good population of forage fish up in the river keeping the fish nice and fat.
I have been hearing very good reports from Lake Sakakawea the last few days as well. The water levels have started to stabilize now and I think that will boost the consistency of the bite greatly. The water is still dropping but only a few inches a week rather than a foot plus a week. Jigging raps and jigs and minnows along with live bait rigs with either minnows or crawlers should get the fish going. This time of year I pretty much leave the crawlers at home, The fish will do just fine on minnows.
The weather is really cooling of the next couple weeks and that just make the fishing that much better. I you wanna get in on some the best fishing of the season give me a call. I go right up till freeze up so still plenty of time.
Finally made it out on the water after a couple weeks off. Had to take some time and get some stuff done around the house before the fall fishing season gets going. We launched at Beaver bay on Lake Oahe and tried to head down to the cattail bay area but it was too windy to make it so we ended up spending our time in Beaver bay. We had a great time fishing although the walleye were not there in big numbers but we did get a few. The white bass and catfish kept us busy wile we waited for the walleye to bite and we even managed a nice pike. Reports from closer to the state line have been very good and that's where we intended to start but with 30 mph winds out of the south it just wasn't in the cards. The fall pattern is starting to take hold now and jigs and minnows have taken over as my go to bait now along with jigging raps where possible. The reports from the river get better every week and that should continue till freeze up now. Lake Sakakawea will start to pickup as well now, we won't see the numbers we did in the summer but the quality will be very good! Lots of time left to fish this fall so if ya wanna get in on some great late season fishing now is the time.
Not a lot new to report on this week, things really haven't changed much. Fishing is a little on the slow side in all the waters I fish but for those that work at it, it will pay off. Lake Sakakawea is still producing very nice fish but not everywhere and not consistently. You have to keep moving and looking for fish on your sonar. Concentrate on points and flats close to sharp drop offs that lead quickly to deep water and you should find some fish. I have been doing best in the 18 to 30 foot range although I know some guys are doing well down to 40 feet. Jigging raps have been good along with bottom bouncers and with a plane 5 to 6 foot snell and either minnows or crawlers. Jigs and minnows will take some fish as well, as always keep you mind open and don't get caught up on any one thing. Try with and without a bead and see what happens. Seems like some days they want it one way or another.
The Missouri river near Bismarck is still a little hit and miss with guys doing well on day and getting blanked the next. Again, you have to cover a lot of water to find fish. They should bite well if you can find them. Lake Oahe is still about the same as well although you will catch more fish there but have to sort through some small ones to get the ones you want. The same presentations should work well here, Just keep moving till you find some fish.
Fall is coming quickly and along with it comes my favorite time to fish. This is not a time to catch big numbers of fish but it is a great time to target the bigger fish in the system. The fish will start to put the feed bag on now with the falling water temps. This past weekend we got a little glimpse and how good it can be with the AIM tourney that was held out of the Indian hills area on Lake Sakakawea. The top 5 teams had 58 to 61 and half pounds, 10 fish total for 2 days. Those are some impressive weights for any body of water. This is a great time to take a crack at a trophy the wall. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see the state record fall again this fall... ya never know.
Lake Sakakawea is still about the same. Good fishing to be had but ya have to look for them, some days are better than others. Saturday was a real good day both for numbers and size catching quite a few fish over 20 inches all the way up to 26 inches with a few 15 to 19 inch fish here and there. Sunday was a different story, had to work real hard to get 5 fish in the boat, although the size was good on the one we caught. All but one was over 20 inches or better and one was a nice 28 inch fish. Just couldn't get on a good bunch of fish to work. Minnows were a bigger deal for me this time and also jigging raps were working very well too. 20 to 25 feet seemed to be the best depth. I think the fish are starting to set up in there fall pattern so things should get a lot better in the next couple weeks.
Lake Oahe is still fishing pretty well and should get better in the coming weeks as well. I am expecting a good fall on the river south of Bismarck and Lake Oahe with the higher water. Lots of small fish in the area now but nicer fish are there for those that keep at it, that will be changing for the better soon.
Fishing is still in a bit of a funk the last few days but if you put in your time you can get it done. I fished Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Van Hook and Newtown area. Warriors on the water event Saturday went very well with all the vets catching at least a few fish. The fish are very scattered as far as depth and location so I figured out that covering as much water as possible was the best way to go. The best way I know to do this is to put the cranks on and go. My best day was Sunday out of the Newtown marina and south and I think it was only because we got stubborn about cranking. Just covered as much water as I could with something they might bite and it worked out pretty well. Had 12 in the boat by about noon and really had to grind to get the next 3 by about 3:30 when we decided to get out of the heat, the 15th fish didn't make it to the boat though, flopped off just short of the boat. That fishing though! Most fish came in 20 to 25 feet with a couple in the 30 foot range. Heard a lot of different reports from all over the lake and it's pretty much the same story all over. There are people catching fish just about anyway you can think of, as shallow as 5 feet and as deep as 60 feet and live bait rigs to jigs to rip jigging to lead head jigs and minnows to cranking. Its all working but ya got to run in the right fish at the right time. Don't throw anything out the window right now.
Salmon fishing hasn't changed much, still the same with a few fish being caught every day but not a lot. The up side is I'm hearing about a few nicer fish being caught over 10 lbs. That's nice change from last year. The nest few weeks will tell the tail.
Fall is coming quickly and some of the best fishing of the year is yet to come. I have a good feeling that both lakes and the river should be very strong again this fall. Stay tuned...
Fishing has become slower on the big lake but still pumping out some good fish if you're will to work at it. Try shallow in the mornings in 10 to 15 feet and slide down to 20 to 30 feet for the afternoon or even 40 feet. It seems like finding the fish isn't very hard but making those deeper fish bite can be a real challenge. Sunday morning we found a good bite on shell island in about 15 feet that only lasted till about 9am. After that we had to work real hard to catch 2 more by noon. Bottom bouncers with a 5 or a 6 foot snel and single bead was about the best presentation for us, a few came on spinners, all on crawlers. Jigging raps have been working here and there also, I didn't try them very much but I know some guys were taking some fish doing it. On the plus side, the fishing may have slowed a bit fish we are catching are very nice! Still catching plenty of fish in the 18 to 25 inch range.
Salmon fishing has begun one the east end of the lake. It's plenty early yet so don't get in a real big hurry, I'm sure it will pick up a little in the coming weeks. Try 95 to 110 feet flashers and squids. I've heard a few different things about color, white, blue, and green flashers and pretty much the same with squids. Needle fish seem to getting the nod more than regular squids. I have 2 real good guides for salmon fishing so if you are thinking about booking a trip let me know, I will hook you up.
I have been getting some reports of some decent limits coming from the river south of Bismarck now too. Not everywhere but there are some nice fish around if you look. I have not been in this are for a while and it will be a couple weeks till I am. I will be at lake Sakakawea for a couple weeks yet. I am expecting a very good fall bite this year both on the river and the lake so stay tuned.
Fishing was still good in the Van Hook area of the lake but it was a bit slower than the last few weeks. The fish where deeper in the 18 to 35 foot range and very spread out. Bottom bouncers and crawlers with 5 to 8 foot snells with plain hooks with a single bead was about the best for us. The total lack of wind seemed to be a big factor as well. Marked a lot of fish that would not bite. Just had to keep working till one would take. I know some guys were using jigging raps 40 to 50 feet and getting some fish as well. The east end remains a little inconsistent from day to day but some very nice fish to be had when ya find them. Same presentations as the east end but may have hunt a little more.
Sorry for the late report, been a busy couple of weeks. Fishing still remains very good on Lake Sakakawea. I have been in the Vanhook arm area the last 2 weekends and have had no problem getting a limit of nice fish. Last Sunday being the only exception, had to work a bit for 'em that day as the weather was a little funny, but still very good fishing! Bottom bouncers and just about anything ya wanna put behind them has been taking the majority of the fish anywhere from 18 to 25 feet being the strongest depth. Don't be afraid to go a little deeper or shallower, we caught a few fish as shallow as 10 feet and as deep as 35 feet, the fish are still a little scattered. We caught a few fish on jigging raps but this bite is a little inconstant from day to day. One day it'll work real good and the nest not at all.
Lake Oahe and the river are still about the same plenty of fish but not a lot of size. A person can still take a decent limit of eater size fish in the 15 to 18 in range but you'll have to sort through a lot of small ones to get them.
Had a great 2 day trip in the Van Hook area Saturday and Sunday. Easy limits in the 16 to 22 inch range are the norm in this area right now. Also some nicer fish in the 23 to 27 inch range released for another day. Most fish came from 18 to 25 feet with a few in the 15 foot range and a few in the 30 foot range. Spinners and bottom bouncers is what we were using but we also took a few on jigging raps. I don't really think it matters what you use right now, as long as there are fish in the area they will take just about anything I think. I have been hearing better reports from the east half of the lake now too. Great fishing should continue all the way into fall now and openings a getting fewer and fewer so f you are thinking about getting in on this fantastic fishery give me a call. We will do everything we can to get you out on the water.
The excellent fishing continues on Lake Sakakawea. The west half of the lake is still the most consistent at this point but some better reports are starting to come in from the east end now too. Great limits of fish the 18 to 23 inch mark are fairly easy to come by with several fish being released over 23 inches up to 30 inches. The system is very healthy as we are seeing a good number of smaller fish as well. The fish are still a little scattered as far as depth goes. The best for me was 10 to 15 feet but still the reports keep coming in of people catching fish as shallow as 5 feet all the way down to 30, just keep your mind open to anything right now, ya never know what might work in a given area. Bottom bouncers and crawlers have been very effective along with jigging raps and jigs tipped with a crawler. As long as you know you have fish under you they will take a variety of different things so it may be a good time to try a new presentation to gain some confidence in something different.
The Missouri River remains very high and I know there a still a few people fishing it and doing okay. Lake Oahe is still fishing well although the size is still lacking. Bottom bouncers and crawlers should get you into fish as well as trolling crank baits anywhere from 10 to 30 feet.
This is one of the best times to fish the Missouri river system right now so if you are thinking about booking now is the time. We are getting busy and I work with several other guides so we should be able to get you on the water one way or another. Give me a call and lets make some memories. Tight Lines
Sounds like a broken record but the fishing remains very good on the west half of Lake Sakakawea! Saturday we launched out of Deepwater Bay and headed out into the main lake went north. Found fish in various depths in every spot we stopped at. Most fish that we caught came anywhere from 2 to 12 feet. It was free day for me so all we did was pitch jigging raps. Lots of fish caught and we kept a nice limit of walleye from 18 to 23 inches. Bottom bouncers are still the way to go for most people and lots of great reports from all over the area in different depths of water all the way down to 30 feet of water. Just depends on where and how ya wanna fish.
The Missouri River near Bismarck is running very high right now so no reports at this time. Also no report this week from Lake Oahe but I'm sure there are fish to be had.
Just got back from 5 day trip to Lake Sakakawea and the fishing continues to be very good on the west half of the lake. The fish are a little scattered depth wise and depending on where you are the fish could be anywhere from 5 to 30 feet. I expect a more consistent pattern to develop in the next week or two. For now keep your options open and don't just assume they are in a certain depth, check the whole spot before moving on. Spinners and crawlers were the ticket for us trolled at 1.1 to 1.2 mph. The east end is still spotty but it sounds like the most consistent bite is 5 to 15 feet. Minnows a still strong here but I expect that to change soon but if you go now better take both. Pitching jigs and plastics or minnows or crawlers is working well. Bottom bouncers or lindys are working also.
The river is on the rise again this week. It will be at 60 kcfs by the weekend. That's up from 44 kcfs last week. Not sure what this will do the fishing but I would give it a week or so before trying it. Things will really change. I was hearing good reports up and down the river so I think the fish will hang around but a big rise like that will mess things up for bit.
I haven't heard a lot about Lake Oahe for a while as most people I know are heading to Lake Sakakawea. The level of the water is rising fast hear too and I think if ya give it a little time it will be good once it levels off.
Fishing remains very good on the west half of Lake Sakakawea. Easy limits of 15 to 22 inch fish in the area between Pouch point and the Four Bears bridge near Newtown ND. We found fish in every spot we stopped in 8 to 13 feet of water using bottom bouncers with either spinners or slow death with crawlers. Heard of others doing well with leaches or minnows as well, not sure if it really matters, the fish are diffidently on the feed. We also spent some time cranking and they liked that as well. Reports from Van Hook were about the same. Some people taking fish down to 20 feet later in the day. Good reports coming in from the Van Hook area to the Beulah Bay area as well. The east half of the lake has slowed down again, not sure why this is but that should be picking up again soon.
The Missouri River and Lake Oahe continue to be good for numbers of fish and you should be able to catch a limit of 14 to 18 inchers fairly easy. Use bottom bouncer or crank baits in a variety of depths till you find fish on Oahe. On the River pretty much any thing goes, bottom bouncers, jigs, and cranks will all produce. Sunken sandbars and eddies are the places to check for fish.
We had kind of a rough weather week that kept a lot of the guys off the water last week that lasted all the way in to Saturday but then Sunday shaped up pretty well. I was out on the Missouri river near Bismarck and the fish are still hanging around. These aren't big fish but they are a lot of fun and great table fare. The water was a little dirty from all the rain and the bite was little slower but a 3 person limit was still pretty easy to come by. Just about anything will take these fish right now, jigs and minnows, bottom bouncers with slow death or spinners, cranks... it all works. Best depth for us was 5 to 8 feet behind sand bars.
Great reports from Lake Sakakawea this week too, when the boats could get out. Still a little slow in the Van Hook arm as it still needs to warm up a bit but I'm guessing by the end of the week it'll be real good. The rest of the lake from The Four Bears Bridge to Deepwater Bay as been very good fishing! Reports were all over the place as far as depth and presentation goes. Some guys are doing very well shallow and some deeper all the way down to 20 feet. Jigs and minnows, bottom bouncers and crawlers, cranks, jigging raps, and plastics and just about any other combination was taking fish depending on where you were on the lake and water temp. I expect that a more exact pattern will fall into place in the next week or two, just remember to be flexible.
Lake Oahe was about the Same as last week with lots of fish but they are on the small side, 14 to 18 inches, same fish that are in the river right now. Crawlers and bottom bouncers have taken over here with cranks working well too. The Crappies should start in about any time now too. Look for them next to good structure back in the bays.
Now is the time to book a trip. Anytime from now till the end of September will be very good fishing on Lake Sakakawea. This is here we will be concentrating most of our time. The Missouri river should be pretty good for another month or so and I'm thinking Lake Oahe will be a little better longer this year as well and maybe into late summer with the higher water levels.
We had boats all over the place the place this week and the reports were very good! The good fishing on the western part of Lake Sakakawea has spread to the rest of the lake. Had great reports from the Newtown area all the way down to the east end. Limits of fish in the 18 to 22 inch range were the norm with a good number of fish over 22 inches common. On the east end pitching jigs and minnows or plastics into shallow water and working them back to the boat was about the best presentation. I'm sure there are other ways to catch these fish as well as long as you stay shallow. Most fish being caught 3 to 8 feet. West further bottom bouncers and jigs in 10 to 15 feet was the magic with minnows or crawlers, crawlers will start to take over very soon with the warm weather.
Myself I made a trip to Devils Lake and fished with buddy John Adams of Big Johns Guide Service. The fishing was very good taking a limit of nice eaters out of Dry Lake on Sunday and then went to Devils Lake on Monday and took another nice limit. Slip bobbers in 4 to 5 feet on Dry Lake and on Devils Lake we pitched plastics in the same depth. Slip bobber also worked as long as you were shallow.
Lake Oahe and the Missouri river are fishing very good as well although the fish are a bit smaller but limits in the 14 to 18 inch range are the norm. Bottom bouncers and crawlers will work in either place as well and jigs and minnows or plastics. Look shallow in the river from 3 to 10 feet and 10 to 15 on the lake. I expect this to continue here for at least another month.
Made the first trip to Lake Sakakawea over the weekend and it was fantastic! The west end of the lake is HOT!!! Lots of fish in the 18 to 22 inch range with some being caught up to 28 inches long. Jigs and minnows were the best for us but bottom bouncers and cranks were taking plenty of fish as well. We fished 10 to 15 feet long lining 1/8th ounce jigs and minnows. This lake is an amazing place right now and this is just the start. Fishing will continue to improve on the rest of the lake as water temps increase in the next couple of weeks. Look for Van Hook arm to be the next hot spot along with Deepwater Bay and Little Missouri arm areas to fallow close behind. East end should start to turn on by the end of the week as well.
I made it out on the Missouri River by Bismarck yesterday and the fishing is very good there as well although the size of the fish is not great. Expect to catch plenty of fish in the 14 to 16 inch range with a bigger one up to 20 inches coming here and there. It's pretty easy to 30 or 40 of these in a couple hours in some spots. Lake Oahe is about the same story, plenty of fish just not a lot of size. I think this will get better with the warming temps as the river is still struggling to get to the 50 degree mark, water temp yesterday was 46 degrees.
Made it out on the river near Bismarck Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Very good fishing even though the water temp is still pretty cold at about 40 degrees. We fished 4 to 8 feet of water behind sand bars dragging and pitching jigs and minnows. When I drag jigs like this I'm really talking about long lining jigs. I like to use 1/8 ounce jigs but you can get away with 1/4 ounce as well. I move my boat up stream at .05 mph and just make sure that the jig is far enough back so I can drop it back and make contact with the bottom. I will move the rod tip forward which brings the jig off the bottom slightly and then drop it back on a tight line till I see the line slack up when it makes contact. This is done very slowly and the bite usually comes when dropping it back, usually a very light tap or the jig will just stop going back. Either way it's time to set the hook, they have it. If you find a good concentration of fish anchoring and pitching to them and working the jig back to the boat works very well too. Using plastics with all the above will work as well. There a lot of ways to catch these fish right now and they are not big fish but very good table fare. Most of the fish on these bars are 14 to 18 inches with and occasional fish over 20 inches but are a lot of fun to catch. This bite will continue for a few more weeks but won't last forever so if ya want to give it a try now is the time.
The lakes are starting to produce as well now. Lake Sakakawea is fishing very strong on the western end in the New Town area. I May be making a trip up there this weekend. I am also starting to hear good things about the North Dakota side of Lake Oahe as well. I have not been to either place yet but will be in the coming weeks. Things are really starting to heat up so give me a call and lets get out and enjoy a day on the water.
Finally getting around to a report, been a busy week! Just a little recap of the Big Muddy Walleye Classic held in Bismarck this past weekend on the Missouri River last Saturday. Mike Upgren, from Reel Fishing Guides, and I fished together this year. We had what we thought was a good plan going in. We both decided it would be best if we could find fish away from the crowds and headed as far north on the river as the tournament boundaries would allow. Well, our pre fishing went pretty well, catching some real nice fish, but the day of the tournament things didn't go as planed. We did catch fish but our go to spot only got us a couple small fish and we probably waited a little too long to move. We did manage a couple nice ones late in the day but it was too little too late for us. We did however have a lot of fun in the boat and that's what really counts. We felt like we did the best we could, the fish just didn't show up for us.
The tourney really showed what the river has to offer though. Very impressive weights at the top of the leader board with just a little over 39 lbs. taking the title. Now that's a 6 fish limit so the trophy potential of this river really shined through. There were a lot of fish over 10 lbs. caught and a whole bunch in the 4 to 9 lbs. range. We should see some very good fishing in the next few weeks with spawning finishing up. We never know for sure how long it'll last but maybe a little longer this year with the higher than normal flows of the river that have now.
We will be turning our attention to Lake Sakakawea and Lake Oahe a little more now too as the Ice has cleared. I am very exited to get to Lake Sakakawea as we should see a very strong bite on this body of water and the average size of the fish should be very good. Last year it was beyond anything most of us would've imagined and we will keep our higher lake levels. That all points to another banner year. Lake Oahe should be very good as well. We should see some very good fishing in the beaver bay and Ft Yates area this year.
Made it out last night in the Bismarck are for a few hours in the after noon yesterday and the bite has picked up considerably! Several fish caught in the 15 to 21 inch range. We were really looking for some big fish for the upcoming Big Muddy Walleye Classic that will launch out of Bismarck on Saturday morning. We didn't really find what we were looking for as far those tourney fish go but it was sure fun to catch good numbers again. Things will continue to improve as the water warms up in the coming days. I have high expectations for the post spawn bite! With the high water this year we should be able to keep a good population of fish up in the river a little longer this spring.
Lake Sakakawea is melting fast and I'm thinking the first open water trip to the lake will be coming much sooner than we thought. Lake Sakakawea had fantastic fishing last year and this year should be even better!
The fishing this week was still a little on the slow side. We worked mainly north of Bismarck as the boat traffic south is quite heavy. We managed a few nice fish but didn't catch a lot. The water continues to rise and spots change as it does and finding active fish is a bit of a challenge. The fish are very close to spawning and I believe we will see that completed in the next week or so. Fishing will get much better after that. Most of the walleye being caught a are shallow, 2 to 10 feet has been the best for bigger fish. Jigs and minnows or plastics have been producing well along with trolling crank baits starting to take some fish as well. This week we will see a lot changes as the fish complete spawning and we will see yet another rise in the river level by the weekend. Always interesting on the Big Muddy in the spring.
Made it out on the water yesterday and the fishing was pretty slow. The reports from the whole week were pretty slow. Didn't have a lot of trouble finding fish but making them bite was another story. The Hazelton area was about the most consistent of all the areas I got reports from. The reports were 15 to 25 feet with jigs and minnows, most fish were in the 14 to 16 inch range. Between Hazelton the Wilton area all reports were very spotty with most people catching only 1 or 2 fish for the day. Not sure if the fish are getting close to spawning but that could be the reason. Crank baits are starting to get some fish in the shallows so that could be an indicator. With the warm weather in the forecast for the next 2 weeks the spawn should go very quick and fishing will pick up again.
We finally got a couple nice days and were able to cover some water on the river. Very good results the last couple days with some very nice fish. We worked a very long stretch of the river from the Mclean bottoms area to the south all the way to Steckle boat landing to the north of Bismarck. That's about 40 or so miles and we found a lot of good spots that were holding fish. The best presentation was long lining jigs again in 5 to 10 feet of water behind sand bars. I like to use a 1/8 to 1/4 oz jig and troll upstream at about .5 to .6 mph when doing this. Just make sure you are on the bottom. Plastics are also working. We boated and released about 10 fish over the last few days, 24 to 26 1/2 inches, and I heard of a few being caught that were 30 inches.
Things will only get better from here and the weather looks like it's going to cooperate the next few weeks. With warming water temps the bite should get much stronger. Take advantage of the special spring rates and book a trip for some very good spring fishing on the Missouri river.
Made it out for a day on the Missouri River by Bismarck ND yesterday launching out of Fox Island. The bite was slow at first and I think we only had about 3 fish in the boat by about 1:30. We kept at it though and John and Brad stayed tough and we managed get 'em dialed in taking some nice fish. Just about all the fish came while long lining jigs upstream in 6 to 10 feet of water. Just couldn't seem to get 'em to go on a vertical presentation. Always keep changing it up if ya know there are fish around, ya never know when they might want things a little different.
Things are only going to get better in the coming weeks.
In spite of the lingering cold spring weather we managed to get on the water a couple times over the last week. Tuesday we launched at Fox island In Bismarck just for a few hours in the evening. Did a lot of looking around at the different spots. Didn't really fish that much and ended up catching 3 walleye, all 16 to 17 inches. The water was still pretty stained with about a foot of visibility. The weather took another turn for the worse after that and it was Saturday till we could get out again. It got cold enough to put a lot of floating ice in the river again and make in unfishable in the Bismarck area so we headed to Washburn and launched there in the afternoon. The water was in much better shape and again we did a lot looking for spots and managed to get 3 nice eater size walleye and several small pike. Jigs and minnows fished very slow in 8 to 12 feet of water seemed to be about the best presentation.
It looks like the weather is finally going to warm up a bit this week so maybe we can get back to normal soon. When it does warm up we will have to deal with dirty water conditions for a few days but at least we'll be headed in the right direction.
Well, I don't have a lot to report this week as the return of winter weather kept us off the water. Cold temps, wind and some more new snow along with a lot of floating ice in the river has hunkered down for a bit. The weather forecast for later in the week looks a little better so maybe the end of the week we can get out again. If nothing else the cold temps have helped to clear the water up a bit, hope we can keep it that way now. The tailrace is still fishing very well. This is about the best option at this time.
The Fox island ramp is open in Bismarck as of yesterday afternoon. I'm expecting a couple other ramps will be opened up by the end of the day. Not sure how far the river is open to the south but we should gain quite a bit the next couple days and then we are in for a cool down for the weekend. Hopefully the temps rebound quickly and we can get after it next week.
Launched at the Garrison dam tailrace on Sunday the 25th of March. Good day on the water but had to work for 'em. Ended up with a nice limit of fish between 17 and 20 inches. All on jigs and minnows 8 to 15 feet of water.
The river in Bismarck is wide open now and as long as the city and county get to the ramps and get the ice pushed off we'll be fishing it this week. Not too sure how the water clarity will be with all the new snow the last week but I guess we'll see.
Launched at the Washburn ND ramp Saturday the 17th of march. Another cold day but not as bad as last weekend. We caught a few fish and found a lot of good spots. Ended up catching 6 on the day but we saw a lot of fish on side imaging that just wouldn't bite, it'll be better next time. The Missouri river is Ice free to about 5 miles north of Bismarck and if we can get just a little warmer weather this week we should be using the ramps in Bismarck by the weekend.
Launched at the Garrison Dam tailrace again on Saturday. It was very cold and windy day but we managed to take a few fish. The hi temp for the day was 26 degrees and the wind was around 20 mph all day so we only made till about 2pm before we had had enough fun for one day. Ended up with 5 walleye and a decent pike. I think we would've hung around we may have taken a few more but a fun day anyway. The good thing is the river is starting open up a little more every day now and I'm still thinking we should be on the river around Bismarck in a couple weeks if not sooner. The forecast is calling for warmer temps and sun so that will help push things along a little quicker.
Finally made it out after a long winter break... hibernation season is over! Made it out Saturday the 3rd of March launching at Garrison Dam tailrace. The weather was a little cold but the fish were biting so we didn't even notice. We had a nice limit of fish by 1pm in the 16 to 21 inch range, great start to the 2018 fishing season. I expect the rest of the river around Bismarck to open up in the next couple weeks. Should be a great season this year. Take advantage of the special early season rates and book a trip now. This is the best time to catch trophy walleye in the Missouri river. Keep watching for updates on the river condition, I will post a report as conditions change. Tight lines.
The fishing remains good for Lake Sakakawea and the Missouri river south of Bismarck. The thing that has changed is the weather and although I think we will still get out before the year end it won't be a lot. Lake Sak. still continues strong with jigging raps and jigs and minnows. Jigging raps seem to do better in the mornings and jigs and minnows seem to do a little better in the afternoon. Don't be afraid to try pitching shallow, we caught some very nice fish as shallow as five feet on both presentations.
The River is good in the Hazelton area with some nice fish being caught. Fish the deeper runs, 20 to 30 feet, and you should be in business. Again, don't be afraid to get shallow once in a while, they can change in a hurry. Jigs and minnows have been the bait of choice for most and dragging the jig down stream as you drift can be very productive. Cranks are working too as well as jigging raps so keep your options open.
It has been a great year of fishing on the Missouri river system in ND! Thanks to all that went with this season and I look forward to seeing you all next year. Hopefully it's not completely over for the season!
Well, I hate to sound like a broken record but the fishing on Lake Sakakawea continues to be very strong. Jigging raps have been the go to bait for me but I know guys are getting fish running cranks as well. Look for areas with very sharp drop offs close to the river channel. I there are clouds of bait fish the walleye won't be far away. We caught fish from 15 to 40 feet. This will continue now till Ice up.
Lake Oahe and the river south of Bismarck is starting to wake up now as well. Some decent limits of fish have come in the Hazelton area. The fish are ranging in the 14 to 20 inch range with a few over 20 inches, this will continue to pick up as the weather cools. Jigs and minnows and crank baits have been the go to baits here but the jigging raps and blade baits are getting hit too. 10 to 30 feet in the trenches should be good locations to check.
This is my favorite time of year! It's the time of year that you can bag a limit of birds one day and take a limit of nice walleye the next or even in the same day. How can it get any better than that? Tight lines.
Made it out again Saturday over the weekend launching at Deepwater bay, Lake Sakakawea. The fishing was not quite as good as last weekend but still hanging in there and we managed 28 walleye in three different boats collectively. All the fish came on jigging raps again with the exception of 3 on cranks, 30 to 35 feet seemed to be the best depths with some a little deeper and some a little shallower.
Lake Oahe and the river south of Bismarck remained spotty with some days being pretty good and some not so good. This will get batter as the water temps drop and more fish move into the system. I was out last Thursday in the Hazelton area for the afternoon and we managed to take 7 walleye and a few catfish in about 4 hours of fishing. Jigs and minnows were what we caught fish with but I know guys are doing well with crank baits and jigging raps as well. We caught our fish in 20 to 25 feet but I've heard reports of guys getting fish shallower and deeper so ya can't rule anything out.
Lake Sakakawea fall fishing has picked up considerably! We launched at deep water bay and the fishing was fantastic. Jigging raps was the presentation all day and the area we fished was from shell island to bears den bay. Sharp dropping structure in depths of 20 to 40 feet with 30 to 40 feet being the most productive. It should stay like this in this area now till freeze up with a lull when the turnover happens. I think the effects of that will be minimal. All sorts of different colors took fish, just make sure you are marking fish and you should be in business.
The river and Lake Oahe continue to get better and better with more fish showing up all the time, by mid October we should be taking some very nice fish on a regular basis. Try from Hazelton boat ramp south to the SD line now with cranks or jigs and minnows or jigging raps in 20 to 30 feet. Any fast dropping structure should hold some fish.
Fall has arrived and the fishing is great! Still lots of time to get out on the water so if ya wanna get out and try for a trophy now is the time, give me a call.
Made it out on Lake Sakakawea over the weekend. We launched at Deepwater bay and headed to shell island. I can't say the fishing was crazy but it was good. Had a nice limit if Walleye by about 2pm. We used bottom bouncers with a 6 foot snell and a minnow and also jigging raps. Most fish came from 35 to 45 feet. We also caught some nice sauger, that was good to see! The nicer fish seemed to like the jigging raps a little better. This area will continue to get better and better as temps drop.
Reports on salmon fishing remain spotty, some days are good and some really slow. Long lining is getting better and will continue to improve as we move further into fall.
Lake Oahe is starting to get better and will continue to improve. The river will start to heat up now too as water temps drop. Look for fish to be on the move right now. Crank baits and jigs and minnows will be the best presentation right now and into the fall. Good depths in the lake should be 20 to 30 feet anywhere you can find good structure. In the river try from 10 to 30 feet.
The weather forecast looks like we will see temps in the 30s for lows and hi 50s for highs. This should cool the water down fairly quick and the fishing should get much better. Time to get out and enjoy some great fall fishing before the snow flies. Tight lines
Made it out on both Lake Oahe and Lake Sakakawea over the weekend. Launched at beaver bay south of Bismarck Saturday and headed south. We motored down to Ft Yates to do some jigging and the fish were there but not big. Lots of catfish though so that made up for it a bit and did manage to take a few walleye in the 13 to 17 inch range on Jigs and minnows. Water temp is still in the mid 60s so we need a little cooler weather to get things going a little better. Spotty reports are the norm in this area but it will get better soon. Depths were 20 to 30 feet for us. We tried some other spots with Bottom bouncers and came up empty. Marked fish but no takers.
Sunday we went to Sakakawea for some salmon fishing and had a little success right away with two bites and two fish in the boat. Thought we were going to be busy after that but that was the end of our action. The fish we caught came at 75 and 80 feet over 100 feet of water on herring. I know some other boats were doing a little better but a lot went home empty handed again. You never know what might happen so ya gotta go try. The hot spots seemed to be around Government bay and the face of the dam and a few fish are starting to be taken long lining cranks in the bays. Long lining will take over as fall gets closer.
A big cool down is in the forecast for the weekend so things will change fast as we head into October, my favorite time of year! Trophy time is near! Tight lines
The fishing has slowed down a little the last couple weeks but still good, just have to work a little harder. That probably just indicates how spoiled we were in the middle of the season. Lake Sakakwea is still fishing pretty good but some days are deffinently better than others and still seeing fish coming in all kinds of depths and lots of different presentations are working. Just gotta make sure there are fish showing up on the graph and you should be in business. bottom bouncers are still working well along with some jigging and cranking. The rip jigging bite is getting stonger as well so keep that in mind. I'm hearing some reports of minnows starting to work pretty well now too so might have to grab some when ya go. Depths have been from 20 feet to 45 feet with some guys going as deep as 65. Things will change fast now as the water cools so don't get hung up on any given presentaion.
Salmon fishing has picked up the last week or so and am hearing of some pretty good catches. Some guys are taking limits but the norm is still 1 or 2 fish per boat. Flashers and squids and herring seem to be the best right now and depths seem to be in the 85 to 105 feet but have heard of some being caught as shallow as 25 feet so the long lining season is not far off.
Lake Oahe is starting to wake up a bit for walleye fishing. Not lights out yet but some days seem to be real good and others pretty poor. Just have to go and see what happens. Chech depths from 10 to 40 feet feet and keep moving till ya find fish. Jigs, bottom bouncers and cranks will all take fish so try everything. I'm expecting good things in this area this fall, sounds like lots of bait fish, even up into the river just south of Bismarck, this should bring a lot of fish up into the sytem.
Some of the best fishing of the year is just around the corner and the crouds are pretty much gone with hunting season starting. More room to fish is always a good thing!
Sorry for the missed report last week, just couldn't get it done. Not a lot has really changed. The west half of Lake Sakakawea is still producing very well for Walleye. Maybe a little deeper, down to 40, but still hearing good reports from depths of 20 feet and anywhere in between. Plain hooks or slow death hooks seem to be producing a little better than spinners although they are still working at times as well. Also, try a longer leader (4 to 8 feet long) if you are seeing fish on your graph and having a hard time getting them to bite, it might make all the difference.
Salmon fishing has gotten better over the last week but is still a little spotty and not every day is a good producer. We managed one over the weekend and had a few missed opportunities so we had a little action. There were some boats that limited out over the weekend but did not hear of any fish over 12lbs so maybe they haven't showed up yet, I sure hope they do! The best depths seemed to be anywhere from 80 to 115, shallower in the morning and deeper as the day moves on. White needle fish and white flashers seemed to be about the best presentation but herring was taking some fish as well. I hope to see some better fishing in the coming weeks.
Not a whole lot new to report this week. Still a great bite going on the west half of Lake Sakakawea with easy limits of Walleye coming and still a variety of tactics are working. Keep your options open and look at all depths. Last weekend for us the most productive was 28 to 32 feet with spinners and crawlers but heard plenty of reports that jigging and cranking and even pitching jigs and cranks on a mud line where all taking fish as well.
As for the salmon fishing goes it is still pretty slow. Just not a lot around yet, I will keep you posted on reports I hear, it will pick up soon.
It's time for the Warriors on the water ND, Launching out of Van Hook resort, event this weekend so look it up on Facebook and give 'em a like and a share to show support. This is the 4th year we are having this event and we are at 80 Vets with about 43 boats taking them out on the water for a day of fishing with super and door prizes after in a loose tournament format. The Vets pay nothing for this event, everything is donated. So if you know anyone that would like to come to next years event, or would like to donate, please let me know. We would love to take them out for a day of fishing.
Fished Lake Sakakawea out of Deepwater bay again over the weekend and the fishing remains excellent! We worked mainly the Vanhook area but reports were good from many parts of the lake. Just make sure you are marking fish on your graph and you will do well. For us it was all about bottom bouncers and spinners with crawlers in 20 to 26 feet of water. I would say in the 2 days we fished that we probably caught in the neighborhood of 100+ fish all except just a few bigger than 15 inches with most being in the 17 to 20 inch range. This is an amazing fishery right now and I see it lasting well into the future if we can keep the water up for the next few years. There are a lot of different ways to catch these fish right now and just making sure there are fish where you are fishing is the key to success. Cranking, Jigging raps, slow trolling lindys and even jigging with a worm or a minnow will take fish. I'm still hearing reports of fish being caught as shallow as 5 feet and as deep as 40 so keep your mind open to different techniques, now is the time to learn a different way to catch them.
I've been hearing some fare reports out of the Lake Oahe south of Bismarck now too. Sounds like 30 feet or so is getting some decent fish here and there with a lot of little ones still around but if ya work at it you can take a decent limit. I think it will be a good fall in this area again this year.
Salmon fishing on Lake Sakakawea should start to pick up now as we get into August and I will be out checking when I can and getting reports and will post reports when I get them. I have heard of a few being caught but pretty slow for the most part with most days being 0 to 1 fish right now and the fish are on the small side, 3 to 5 lbs. This changes quick when more fish move in to the area to gear up for the fall run and from everything I hear from the guys I know that do it a lot, this should be a good year for some real nice fish.
Lake Sakakwea continues to be excellent for on the west half of the lake. I spent 2 days, launching out of Van Hook resort, and fishing was very good both days. Saturday was a little windy so we stayed pretty close to the north end of the arm. We started out well but after 2 quick keepers and a few smaller fish the wind made us look for spots on the west side a little more out of the wind. I took a while but we found some fish and finished the limit pretty quick and got off the water. Sunday the weather was fantastic and we made the run to shell island and had a great time with some very nice fish. The biggest fish we caught was 21 inches and the smallest was 15 but we set the limit at 18 inhces for the smallest and by 11:00 we were filled out. Don't know how many fish we caught but pretty sure it was well over 40. The best presentation for us was bottom bouncers and spinners in 20 to 26 feet of water with crawlers at a speed of 1.2 mph. The fish also took slow death hooks and prop rigs but spinners won out. This is some of the best fishing I have seen in a while and I see it continuing for some time to come. Give me a call and lets get on the water.
Well, Lake Sakakawea has lived up to the hype! She is pumping out some very nice fish and very consistent as well, at least for the west half of the lake. I fished from Sunday the 16th to Wednesday the 19th and everyday was very good except for maybe Sunday as the wind was pretty bad and I didn't feel like getting pounded by the waves so we stayed out of the wind and still did pretty good. The area I fished was from beaver bay up to shell island by vanhook arm. Presentation is still the same and bottom bouncers and spinners or slow death hooks are still my go to but plenty of other things are working, cranks, jigging raps, and lindys are all taking fish well too. I caught fish anywhere from 9 feet down to 28, Different spots had fish doing different things so don't rule out anything or get to set on one depth, it changes throughout the day. Get out and enjoy this great fishery! Amazing fishing right now!
P. S. Thanks Mike with Reel Fishing Guides. What a great trip!
Sorry for the late report, been a little crazy this week. I fished Lake Sakakawea from 28th of June to the 2nd of July. The first stop was Van Hook arm the 28th and 29th. The fishing was very good with fairly easy limits but the cooler weather had the fish off just a little and had work a bit to get them. We used bottom bouncers and a few different rigs to get the fish to bite at different times of the day and 15 to 22 feet was best for us. All in all it was a good couple days on the water! From there I packed up and moved to the east end to see what was going on there as the reports were starting to get better. I launched at Ft Stevenson and worked to the 83 embankment. I found fish but size was little off but still managed a pretty easy limit of 15 to 17 inchers for the pan. Same program as up west, bottom bouncers and crawlers with plain hooks, slow death, and spinners depending on the time of day. As far as depth it was 15 to 23 feet that was best for me. I heard reports of some people getting fish as deep as 40 feet but I never saw the need to even look that deep. Saturday was same as Friday with maybe just a little better size average but not a lot. Caught a couple fish that pushed 20 inches but nothing bigger. I expect this to get very good this weekend with the warmer temps. Sunday I trailered back up to deep water bay and we motored over to shell island and started there. We had very good success with a quick limit of 17 to 21 inchers. Same deal as the previous days, 15 to 23 feet, spinners seemed to be the best presentation.
Just a little note here on what I am doing that is a little different than what I see a lot of people doing to catch these fish. I use much heavier bottom bouncers and somewhat short leaders (18 to 24 inches, maybe 30 inches in the morning but no longer) then a lot of people I see on the water. I run 4 rods when ever I can and I run a 2 1/2oz bottom bouncer in the front of the boat and 2oz off the back. I usually start out at a slower speed in the morning (.5 to .9 mph) and use plain hooks with props or smile blades and as the sun starts to get higher I will start to switch to spinner and increase speed to 1.1 to 1.2 mph to get those spinners thumping. I use the heavier bottom bouncers to keep the everything closer to the boat, that way when I see fish on my graph I'm confident that the fish will see my bait and I know exactly where it is and what happened. if you are using lighter bottom bouncers your boat could be in 18 feet of water and your bait might be in 15. If a fish hits you don't know where that fish was, especially when you are turning. I will use lighter or heavier weights depending on depth but I always try to keep my line at a 45 degree angle to the rod tip. I know that we have always been told to use the lightest weight possible but in this case the opposite is true. I hope this helps and there a some articles on this subject if you search the net.
The Lake is absolutely on FIRE right now! Get out and have some fun and please practice selective harvest. Lets keep this healthy fishery going for a few years.
Made it out both days over the weekend. Saturday we launched at beaver bay Lake Oahe. We had to stay in the bay as the wind was pretty bad and it would have been pretty rough on the main lake, We did a little bottom bouncing as we made our way east into the bay and only caught one walleye so we decided to give the crappie a try and found them right away. We managed to catch 10 before they shut down on us around noon and went back to bottom bouncing in the creek channel and managed a couple more walleye before we quit for the day. We used slip bobbers and minnows for the Crappie in about 2 to 8 feet of water. The walleye we caught all came on crawlers and spinners. All in all not too bad of a day considering the strong winds.
Sunday we went to Deepwater bay on Lake Sakakawea. It looked like the weather might try and ruin our day but it went around us and we had a great time! The action was pretty fast on bottom bouncers with a variety offerings working. Plain hooks and slow death hooks in the morning with slower speeds and as noon came and the sun got high spinners took over as the best offering. Our speed was .6 to .8 in the morning and 1.0 to 1.2 in the afternoon. All fish were caught on crawlers and the depth ranged from 13 to 22 feet. All the reports I heard over the weekend from the west half of the lake were very good! I did not get any reports from the east end of the lake so not sure what was happening there but I have to assume it's still pretty slow.
I did get a report from the river that was okay too but scattered fish was the norm. Have to hit a lot of spots to get your fish but there are some around, not a total waste of time anyway. Tight lines
Made it up on Lake Sakakawea, Deepwater bay area, over the weekend and was not disappointed. Well, the weather Saturday was pretty unstable so I had to reschedule my clients but I did make it out for a little bit in the morning that day before getting chased off the lake. The fish were there though and it didn't take long to find out the next day was going to be epic, at least if the weather cooperated! Sunday morning we headed to Deepwater bay again and weather was finally very nice for a change and the fish thought so too! The fish were on the bite right away and if not for being pretty selective on the fish we kept may have only took a hour or so to take a limit. I'm not to sure how many we caught for the day but it was a lot! The fish were a little scattered between sharp drop offs and flats next to them. We caught fish as shallow as 10 feet and as deep as 22. Most fish came on bottom bouncers and crawlers. In the morning its was either a slow death hook or a plain snell but by noon or so it changed to a spinner bite. This was about as good as fishing can get anywhere walleyes are caught. The fish ranged is size from 15 to 25 inches with most being between 16 to 19 inches. The reports from the rest of the western half of the lake were all about the same. If you are thinking about making a trip now is the time to book. Give me a call, I work with other guides as well and we can usually work it out so we can get ya out.
As for rest of the lake and area goes. The east half of the lake is still a little inconsistent with good days and bad days but I do expect this to change with good weather. The river and tail race area is still producing fish but size is decreasing. Lake Oahe, at least for walleye, has slowed down as well for nicer fish but sounds like plenty of small fish. The Crappies are still there and would expect that to continue for the rest of the summer but we'll see I guess.
Made it up to Lake Sakakawea for a little scouting on Sunday. We fished the east end from Douglas bay to highway 83 and had a pretty tough day. We did about everything we could think of and just couldn't get on the fish. We did manage a couple walleye but that was it. We didn't even find the small mouth or pike. Talked to a few other guys that were out and it seamed that everyone was having about the same luck. There were fish caught but nothing consistent. I expect this area to heat up in the next couple weeks and I've heard some good reports so lets hope! The west half of the lake is doing very well from what I hear so I will concentrate my efforts in that direction for a while.
Lake Oahe continues to fish pretty well. Use bottom bouncers and keep changing what you put on them to see what they bite. Cranks and jigs are also working when ya find fish. Just keep moving till ya find them.
The river around Bismarck is still fishing pretty well but size is starting to decline. Behind sunken sand bars is still the best bet. Drag jigs or bottom bouncers or pull cranks in 5 to 10 feet and you should be in good to go. Try to get away from the pleasure boaters though, you'll do much better.
Made it out on the river and Lake Oahe over the weekend and the fish were definitely on the feed. Friday night and Saturday morning we launched out of Misty Waters north of Bismarck and headed north again. Same program as the last report with fairly easy limits of eater size walleye in 5 to 10 feet of water. We used Jigs, bottom bouncers and crawlers or minnows. Once you find the fish (we found the fish behind sunken sand bars) working the baits upstream at a speed of .5 mph and making sure you are in contact with the bottom will get the fish to bite. Don't be afraid to point the boat down stream and go just a little faster than the currant, this can be very productive!
Sunday we launched at beaver bay and had a great day! We motored south to the 4 mile bay area and started in with the bottom bouncers and the fishing was very fast with lots of smaller fish but if you kept grinding the bigger fish will bite. We caught fish in 6 to 13 feet of water, speed was 1.1 mph. Just about anything you wanted to put on the bottom bouncer wash producing, spinners or death roll, prop rigs and plain hooks with a crawler or minnow all worked. Keep switching rigs through out the day to see what is working best if the fish slow down. After we had a limit of walleye we made our way back to beaver bay and went looking for crappies. It didn't take long and we had a nice bunch of crappie and a nice northern, and even some catfish. We used slip bobbers and small jigs with minnows close to shore where deeper water was close by.
This is the best time of the year to get out on the water so if you think ya wanna get out now's the time. Tight lines.
I made it out the last 2 evenings on the river around Bismarck. The fishing is excellent! Very easy limits of eater size fish, 15 to 20 inches, behind sand bars in 5 to 10 feet of water. Longlining a jig with a minnow or half crawler was working very well. We also caught fish on lindys and on bottom bouncers with a spinner or death roll hook. I'm sure cranks are working very well too just didn't try it a lot. Not sure how long this will last here in the river but it's definitely on now.
I made it out on lake Sakakawea last Sunday and Monday and despite the big NW winds of 20 to 30 mph both days we managed to do okay. We launched at the marina at Ft Stevenson state park and we had to stay on the north shore and bays to at least be able to fish. We headed out to Douglas bay and started to look for warmer than 50 degree water and that seemed to be the key to catching the fish. We anchored the boat up wind of the spot we wanted to fish and pitched jigs and minnows and used slip bobbers. We had to grind it out a bit but we got our fish each day, most coming in the 8 to 13 foot mark. I can't wait to get back to this area again when the weather is a little nicer, I think its going to be some real good fishing!
Reports from the river around Bismarck were still very good as well as Lake Oahe. Just about any presentation you want to use will work right now. Stay in the 5 to 12 foot mark in the river and anywhere from 5 to 20 feet on Lake Oahe and you should do well. I will be out in this area this week and will try to make another report before the end of the week. Tight lines.
Made it out both days over the weekend. Saturday I launched at beaver bay on lake Oahe. I ran down to the cattail bay area and started there and it wasn't long till I had the 1st fish. I used bottom bouncers and spinners or death roll hooks with crawlers and had no problem catching fish in the 10 to 12 foot depth. There were plenty of small fish but some nice ones too, up to 22 inches. I tried cranks for a about an hour or so they worked well too. I think there are plenty of ways to catch these fish right now so don't get stuck on one presentation.
Sunday I made it to Lake Sakakawea. I launched at Sakakawea state park and ran to Douglas bay. I made my way to the far western end of the bay and ran into a lot of boats. The spots I wanted to fish were pretty well taken so I had to do a little hunting but it didn't take long to find some fish. I pitched jigs and minnows to the shallows while I drug a lindy and minnow in 10 to 12 feet. I caught fish shallow but they weren't the ones I was after. Plenty of pike and a few smallies but no walleye. But, the lindy rig was getting bit pretty regular in the 10 to 12 foot range and I marked plenty of fish on the graph so I moved out to 15 feet with the boat and anchored up and pitched jigs and minnows to the depth I was dragging in. I caught a lot of fish in the 17 to 19 inch range with a few over 20 to 22 inches. Lots of fun! These fish could've been caught with lindys just as well.
I did make it out on the river last Thursday for a little while in the evening with good results. Reports from other boats over the weekend were good as well with lots of fish being caught and fairly easy limits of 14 to 20 inch fish. It seems there a fish scattered in all depths so keep moving around and trying different things till ya find them. Again the fish are being taken lots of different ways so don't get stuck on a pattern. Jigs, bottom bouncers, cranks, lindys, crawlers, minnows, plastics...you name it the fish will eat it all right now.
This is the start to the really good fishing here and will continue to get better as the weather warms. If ya wanna book a trip now is the time, give me a call and lets get on the water. Tight lines.
Made it out a few times last week and despite the changing water levels the fish cooperated pretty well. The Corp dropped the releases at the dam to 0 for about 5 hours a day Thursday and Friday to repair the tailrace ramp and it caused the water to drop then rise a little and then drop again and now on the rise again so didn't really know what to expect. The fish where still there and biting so all was good I guess. We managed fairly easy limits both Thursday evening and Saturday morning. Jigs and minnows was what we caught them on but I know some guys are using worms and spinners as well as lindys. Also some guys are taking fish on cranks as well. Stay shallow though, we caught all the fish from 2 to 10 feet. I think we have finally turned the corner on the spawn so we should see some consistent fishing for the coming weeks.
I am getting some good reports from Lake Oahe now too. Sounds like the Cattail bay to Langlers bay area is doing very well right now and this should continue to improve in the coming weeks. The reports I got said they were catching fish on bottom bouncers and crawlers or minnows, 10 feet seemed to be the magic depth but don't be afraid to try shallower.
I also expect Lake Sakakawea to heat up now too. Try shallow flats with jigs and minnows, pitching, vertical, and dragging should all take fish in the next couple weeks. Just stay shallow, I would say 2 feet to about 12 should be the best.
Made it out Saturday and Monday this week and the fishing has improved with the warmer weather. On Saturday I fished the Big Muddy Walleye classic which launched at Marina bay in Mandan and we chose to head south to the Echroth bottoms area. While fishing was pretty good catching tournament fish was not. Lots of good 15 to 18 inch fish but we just couldn't find the big ones we needed so we ended up having a good day just nothing big enough to weigh. The winning weights for the tourney pretty much all came from the Bismarck area and north so I guess that tells the story for us. The fish are pretty shallow, we generally kept the boat in 6 to 8 feet and pitched jigs and minnows into the shallows behind sandbars. Also, we caught some on worms and also lindy rigs were working too along with some on cranks just keep it shallow.
Monday we had to wait for the rain to stop and were able to get on the water around 9:30am or so. We launched at Kimball bottoms. Very windy day but we managed to find a spot a little out of the wind that had some fish on it and ended up pretty good on the day keeping 16 fish on the day. It was a little different bite on Monday, not really sure if it was the weather in the morning or what but it was all vertical jigging with minnows. Not even a bite on a worm or pitching. The fish were still caught pretty shallow though, from 5 to 10 feet. All in all it was a good weekend and reports are pretty good up and down the river as long as you keep moving till ya find fish, they are not on every spot. Tight lines.
Made it out both days over the weekend and we are still dealing with some inconsistent fishing. Saturday we launched at Merriweathers and headed about 15 miles north and worked everything we could back to the ramp. We managed to catch a few nice fish but had to fish a lot of spots to get them. I believe the fish are in spwn mode for the most part as we caught some fish that were spawned out and some that were still holding eggs and the males we caught were all milking. Also, the fish we caught were all very shallow, from 2 to 8 feet. We finally saw some nicer male fish too, which was nice to see for a change. Other reports I heard were all about the same up and down the river. The one consistent thing was depth, think shallow, with either jigs and minnows or plastics and also cranks but stay above 8 feet and hit as many spots as you can, you may hit the mother load and you will catch at least some fish. This week the weather looks like it's going to warm up so we should see improving fishing with warmer water. Water temps are still in the low 40's.
Sunday, I had a trip to Lake Sakakwea. I decided on the Newtown area to the north of the bridge. We fished all the way to white earth bay till we caught a walleye and I am sure that was water temp driven and it was there that we ran into some 50 degree temps. We Marked a few fish in the 8 to 10 foot range and we soon had our 1st fish of the day and one more after that and it was over. Not really sure what happened because there were a lot of fish there that just seemed to vanish. They weren't deeper and couldn't catch them shallower. I guess the bite was over and they moved on. The fish we caught came on jigs and minnows.
All in all it was good weekend and things are looking up for the temps and we should see better fishing. Tight lines
Made it out Friday, Saturday and Sunday over the weekend and the fishing is inconsistent at best. I have heard good reports from all parts of the river all the way down to the cannon ball river but it's sounds like it's tough to reproduce from day to day. There were a lot of boats on the water Friday and Saturday, but Sunday the weather took a turn for worse and not many were out that day. We caught fish all three days but not a lot of them and getting on a good consistent bite was difficult for us. We did however catch 3 nice females that went back in the water for another day so that was fun. We caught fish in verity of depths ranging from 4 to 35 feet with all the nicer fish coming in the 4 to 10 foot range and the smaller fish down to 35 feet. Jigs and minnows seem to be the bait of choice with a few people taking fish on plastics and cranks. I still expect things to pick up as the weather warms up and the fish finish the spawn. Water temps have been anywhere from 38 to 45 degrees the last 3 days so that make a big difference in fish mood I think.
Made it out for a few hours last night launching at Merriweather's. I keep trying to find fish away from the crowds and it hasn't paid off real well so far. We ran up river to the double ditch area and found great spots but not a lot of fish. We did manage to take three in the 16 to 19 inch range but that was it. The report from the area south of Bismarck were much better. Limits were the norm. Still a jig and minnow bite for the most part and still 8 to 15 feet seems to be the most productive depth. Water temps are holding at 40 degrees and clearing up very well.
Made it out over the weekend launching at the Hazelton boat ramp. I was hoping we would have stabilized flows by the weekend and cleaner water in this area but it wasn't to be. The COE raised releases again to 28k cfs and the water was dirty and full of debris. Not really sure if that is what made the bite slow but it was very slow in this area. We did take a run up river and it seemed like the water cleared up a little the further up river we went and we did catch a few eater size fish but still wasn't the bite I was looking for or expected. The fish we did catch where in the 8 to 15 foot range on jigs and minnows. The reports I got further up river toward Bismarck and even north of Bismarck sounded like a better bite. It looks like the COE is going to hold releases at the currant level for few weeks so it should get better. On a good point the water looks very good in the Bismarck area and we are starting to see some good limits coming in and better average size as well. Water temp is holding in the 40 degree range. I will be out this week a few times and will report again. Tight lines.