By Mike Peluso
I commented earlier this week about the condition of the fish on the Missouri River and the fish are definitely on the skinny side. The good news is the water temperatures are falling and these fish should begin to feed heavily.
We finally experienced our first hard frost of the fall. This is typically the starting point for the fall bite to get rolling on the upper stretches of the Missouri River near Bismarck. I am not sure what it actually does (other than drop the water temps) to the fish but they do begin to get into the mood!
The week on the river has its ups and downs but it is certainly trending upward. The fish are moving up and beginning to bite on a more regular schedule. Again, for me this is no secret. A Northland jig tipped with a minnow is hard to beat this time of year. I just can’t explain how exiting the “thump” on a jig is.
So far this fall do not be afraid to fish shallow. We have caught fish all week in 3 to 10 feet of water. The walleyes are definitely relating to current. Trust your electronics and grind on the marks. Eventually they bite if you stay on them long enough. Both pitching jigs and vertical jigging is working well. Crankbaits are also taking some fish pulling the long sandbar stretches.
Expect to catch some other species of fish right now as well. We saw catfish, pike, white bass, skipjacks and gar this week. All of these fish are fighting for the same forage right now. If you are catching these other fish don’t be afraid to keep them. Nothing wrong with catfish and northern pike on your plate!
I’m also still taking open water bookings here on the river as long as the weather holds. I’m also booking my trips for upcoming ice fishing up on Devils Lake. I believe that bite on DL is going to epic this winter so don’t miss out.
Mike Peluso is a Dakota Edge Outdoors Contributing Writer and a licensed ND Fishing Guide specializing in walleye angling on the state’s premier waters.
Featured Photo: With the drop in water temperatures, the walleye bite has improved and the fall feeding frenzy is beginning. DEO Photo by Mike Peluso