By Mike Peluso
Busy is an understatement right now for Mike Peluso Outdoors and Guide Service. Being a full-time guide, even if I do get an off day, I’m out scouting to make sure I stay on top of changes which can occur quickly, and lots of things are beginning to change on the Missouri River near Bismarck. Rising water levels as we near the middle of April are switching up the fishing spots and the navigational routes. It is important for a guide to be on top of these things for the success of the trip and for the clients’ safety.
Lots of male fish are showing up early. These feisty fish normally don’t show themselves in these numbers until later in April. This may be due to the lower water levels we are experiencing and these fish are just seeking more current. Judging by the water temperatures and the firmness of the eggs on the females we’re seeing, we are still a couple weeks out from the main portion of the spawn.
A lot of fish are showing up on side scan and also on my livescope out in the current. This tells me they are still traveling into to position to spawn. How far they’ll go is anyone’s guess!
Anglers are still encountering some huge hens out there every day. Typically, we are catching one, sometimes two a day, in that giant range of 27-to-30-inches. Again, I’m so proud of all my clients and the vast majority of the other anglers on the water for placing these fish back into the river to do their thing and give someone else the opportunity to catch a fish of a lifetime! My philosophy has always been that if even a small percentage of the fish we release have a little success in the spawn, it’s still better than no success. If those fish are in the livewell they have no chance to reproduce this season.
In the next week on the Missouri River, I would anticipate a few really big fish getting caught. Jigs and plastics are edging out jigs and minnows right now for larger fish and shallow-pulled crankbaits up on the sand are holding strong for your chance at another state record.
Mike Peluso is a Dakota Edge Outdoors Contributing Writer and licensed multi-water ND Fishing Guide based out of Bismarck.
Featured Photo: A Good Mix. Anglers are finding quality walleyes early on the Missouri River as seasonal changes and shifts in the weather move them around. Peluso Photo.