BACK IN TIME. Rain chances move out overnight, and clouds subside to mostly sunny by mid-day. A perfect 80 on the thermometer with light winds will provide an ideal summer Saturday. It’ll feel like déjà vu as Sunday appears to be a carbon copy temp wise, perhaps with more sun! We grab our rods and jump in the way-back machine to discuss prehistoric fish that can still be caught in today’s Three Things.
(Featured Photo: Dusty Nielsen of Valley City, N.D. with a 55-inch lake sturgeon from the Rainy River on the Minnesota-Canada border. Sturgeon are one of the oldest families of fish in the U.S. Simonson Photo)
WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
Today: Sat 8/26 – Super Saturday! Hi 80, Lo 57, Winds N @ 6.
Tomorrow: Sun 8/27 – Two in a row! Hi 81, Lo 55, Winds N @ 7.
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Sunrise: 6:56AM Sunset: 8:32PM
Moonrise: 12:14PM Moonset: 11:14PM
Overhead: 5:48PM Underfoot: 5:25AM
Moon Phase: Waxing Crescent (26% Full)
EDGE HOUR. 11:30AM – 12:30PM. We’re getting closer to the quarter moon for a matchup on minor times, but we’re not quite there yet. Take advantage of a mid-day Edge Hour, as things warm, winds stay calm and moonrise lifts fish after getting bonked a bit by Friday’s little front.
DEEP BREATH. The bowfin is a hard-fighting fish that throws pike and bass anglers for a loop and can be found throughout the slow rivers and fertile lakes of the upper Midwest. Ranging in color from deep brown to almost black, or even neon green during mating season, the bowfin can spend a considerable amount of time out of the water before it croaks because it can obtain oxygen through both water with its gills and air via a specialized air bladder. Speaking of croaking, bowfin have a voracious appetite for anything moving – fish, frogs, crustaceans and other prey items – and often outcompete other resident fish, that’s part of the reason why it’s been around for 220 million years, and is the last surviving member of its family.
STURGE! The sturgeon family – with pallid and shovelnose species represented in ND – has been around for a long time as well, say about 200 million years. Lake sturgeon are making a comeback in northern Minnesota’s Rainy and St. Louis Rivers after nearly being extirpated in the early 1900s. The big dogs of the bunch – the white sturgeon – can be found on the west coast of the U.S. and Canada and get to be hundreds of pounds in weight and over 10 feet long!
GAR-BAGE? Not so fast! The growing sport of angling for alligator gar – which can also top 300 pounds and grow over nine feet long – has brought this prehistoric predator back from the brink of extirpation in the U.S. to the forefront of modern angling and conservation efforts. These freshwater giants have the same powerful runs of the sturgeon, with a scary set of teeth up front which have helped grab and kill prey for the last 100 million years or so. Now found throughout the southern stretches of Mississippi tributaries and through Texas into Mexico and the Caribbean, the alligator gar range once stretched as far north as Illinois. Plans are in play to reintroduce alligator gar into Tennessee and Illinois waters to help control the spread of invasive Asian carp. Their scales are so large and so sharp when removed that native southern tribes used them as arrowheads and armor!
Watch your fingers…and Stay Sharp!