By Kellen Latendresse
It’s too bad we can’t extend some seasons in North Dakota, as fall is the one I wish was twice as long! There isn’t time to do it all. I have two nights off this week and have one buddy wanting me to join him for a dove hunt, another asked me to go beat prairie grasslands to chase grouse and partridge, another wants to chase shallow water salmon and my wife just wants me to help her fill her moose tag.
However, I can’t get muskies or trophy trout out of my mind, or bow hunting for that matter. Left, right, up, or down, the fall has endless opportunities in the Dakotas.
These past two weeks I’ve done no walleye fishing so to keep this short and sweet, I can say fishing has slowed in the Van Hook arm, but there have been good sized fish being caught in popular community spots in low light periods. Casting shiver minnows or jigging raps seems to be the best bet in that 25-to-40-foot range.
Salmon fishing remains as good as Sakakawea has seen in over a decade. Get there early in the morning though or you might find yourself walking a mile to the ramp as word is out. Most seem to be catching fish in 85 to 100 feet with flasher and squid combos and purples, blues, and silver seem to be hot colors. Guys that are longlining crankbaits are killing it this year as well, even though the bite windows seem shorter with the first two hours and last two hours of light being the most active.
Now let’s talk about the apex predator that is going nuts. Muskellunge love when the nights dip below 60 degrees and water temperatures drop. They key on cisco that move up from the depths and they follow them like a buck in rut. So far, they are sticking to the play book and fishing has been phenomenal these past two weeks.
I was lucky enough to share the boat with Jeff Van Mortel and Larry Smith Outdoors doing some TV segments and a show for the Outdoor Network and Fox Outdoors. We had 16 muskies on during the first day of the trip and eight hit the net – the fishing was unreal. Since then, I’ve had four guide trips putting 11 muskies in the boat. The fish of 10,000 casts has become the fish of 200 casts and they have been thick.
As far as presentation, burning Jeni Bou baits in cisco or sucker colors through the shallows in low light periods has been best. During day if we lose cloud cover, I have been finding the best action to be just outside the weed edge with rubber baits like Chaos Tackle’s Posseidons and Medusa Mids doing the bulk of the fish catching.
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 pauses with a solid muskie from a north central North Dakota lake. DEO Photo by Kellen Latendresse.