By Kellen Latendresse
We’re starting to see some yellow and orange leaves and nights are getting cooler, which means fish patterns are shifting.
This past week, I’ve only had three days for walleyes and three for muskies, so my sample size of fishing is a little smaller. Plus dove season opened up and we have North Dakota’s bow opener right around the corner, so I have had my hands full. My wife was lucky enough to draw a moose tag so we have been spending a lot of time on the bow range with my nine year old and wife dreaming of a moose and first deer.
Sakakawea continues to just be a fish factory! The Van Hook arm has had a couple of days where guys may have had to work a little harder, but limits of walleyes are still fairly easy. Most fish are coming in that 20-to-40-foot range with Jigging Raps, live bait rigs with leeches and even some minnows being thrown into mix. There are a lot of big walleyes starting to also show up with most coming in shallower waters (10-to-20 feet) with the same presentations, but in low light periods.
If you just want pure numbers of fat 15-to-18-inch walleyes, you can’t go wrong with New Town and the river, as it seems that every day more fish are packing into the river. I have spent some time on the Missouri River with it being Jekyll and Hyde. One trip you look like the “best guide ever” the next day you look like a “chump.” It has been a understatement to say it’s been unstable. You’re better off fishing Sak, period!
Salmon are also going bonkers on the big lake, coming 80-to-110-feet deep on flashers and squid being the most common tactic. It has been one of best Augusts we have seen in years for these fish. I don’t chase salmon but there are lots of limits being pulled and it has been common for most boats to be catching five to ten per day.
If I didn’t have to fish walleyes for work, I would be burning bucktails or ripping rubber baits daily for these addictive Dakota tigers!!! We shot a TV show with Larry Smith Outdoors this past week and first day of filming had enough footage for 2 shows. The first day we had 16 muskies on with 7 of them hitting the bag. We caught a giant tiger and huge pike on filmm plus some other crazy moments. You will have to tune into the show on Fox Outdoors, FSN or their YouTube channel to check it out. In North Dakota we have muskies in several lakes, and they are chowing down on all of them!
Last but not least, I got to take my son out after a seminar I did with children this past weekend on a little trout lake and it didn’t disappoint. We have some amazing trout waters that go untouched in this state. Never spending time on this prairie lake, I just put some little Salmos down and started trolling. We didn’t make it 50 yds from the dock and he was hooked up. We continued to fish for 2 hours catching and releasing 10 to 15 rainbows in that 16-to-21-inch range. It made for a great father-son outing.
You can’t catch them on the couch or staring at the computer, and now is the time. I live for the fall in ND as every day there is endless opportunity. God bless and get out there.
Kellen Latendresse is a Dakota Edge Outdoors contributing writer and licensed multispecies fishing guide specializing in walleyes, bass and muskies in north central North Dakota.
Featured Photo: The author’s son with a nice stocked rainbow from a North Dakota prairie lake. DEO Photo by Kellen Latendresse.