THE HEAT IS ON (AND ON)! A warm stretch is settling in over the Peace Garden State, with the near-term hot streak to start on the Fourth. It’ll be an Independence Day to remember – like those scorchers when you were a kid, and popsicles melted in an instant, bluegills put a beatdown on your bobber rig and sparklers and sky shows lit up the night. In today’s Three Things we uplift the underappreciated species that provide a lot of fun on the water, but might not be the most (or at all) pursued.
(Featured Photo: It’s all in how you hold it! In between smallmouth and largemouth bass, Valley City native Adam Marthaler gets a laugh from a small rock bass that took to his drop-shot rig. Simonson Photo)
WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
You’ll either need the AC or your boat on full plane to cool things down as temps jump into the 90s and carry into the Independence Day holiday. With the heat, there’s a slight chance for thunder tonight and things may be a bit sticky on the Fourth with dew points in the 60s and some humidity.
Today: Mon 7/3 – Hotter still! Hi 91, Lo 60, Winds SSE @ 18 mph.
Tomorrow: Tue 7/4 – It’ll feel like the Fourth! Hi 94, Lo 64, Winds SE @ 8 mph.
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Sunrise: 5:54AM Sunset: 9:40PM
Moonrise: 3:38PM Moonset: 2:16AM
Overhead: 9:14PM Underfoot: 8:52AM
Moon Phase: Waxing Gibbous (73% Full)
EDGE HOUR: 5:30 – 6:30AM. Beat the rush and get on fish before the winds and the recreational traffic picks up for the lead-in day to the fourth. With the least chance of rain, lighter winds and less vacationers on the water, the sunrise hour is the sixty-minute span to be fishing today.
ROCK IT. Rock bass are an underappreciated panfish that provide a hard strike and a fun fight on light tackle. You can find them in crevices and crags created by rip-rap and on reefs where you run into smallmouth bass. Small jigs and tubes or curly-tailed grubs, or live bait offerings like night crawlers can help you connect with “ol’ goggleyes.” Find them in the southern stretches of the Red and Sheyenne Rivers and their rocky tributaries. Talk about underappreciated – it has no state record category in ND. I’m starting a petition.
GREAT WHITE. Another species that gets sparse recognition is the white bass. Schools of fish can produce fast and continued action in the summer, and 1/16-ounce jigs dressed with plastic tubes or grubs and tipped with crappie minnows can make a night full of hard strikes and slashing runs. The state record fish from Devils Lake weighed a whopping 4-10. Find them there, in Lake Ashtabula, and a few other bodies of water throughout the state.
DRUM ROLL. Finally – the freshwater drum or “river donkey” as it is known to some, and by even lesser monikers to others, is a truly underappreciated fish with a wide distribution which far outstretches its angling appeal. Nevertheless, drum can provide fantastic fights, and can be caught just about anywhere in the Missouri and Mississippi basins and in waters from Central America to Canada. Set baits on the bottom, or drift and troll offerings of crawlers and leeches to best imitate the clams, crayfish and other food items drum eat. They are often incidental catches (that feel like a big walleye or bass) when angling for “more sporting” fish. The ND State record is a 26-2 monster from Lake Sakakawea.
Now you know there’s more to life than walleyes and pike!