By Mike Peluso
Finally! I’m back into full open water guide mode here on the Missouri River near Bismarck. Spring is kind of here, if you look outside my window today, it would be easy to argue that it’s winter, but we definitely need the moisture.
I have lots to talk about in this week’s fishing report. So far, we have decent access to the river. Many of the ramps in the area are still useable at this time. The water is definitely low and navigation in areas is a tad tricky but overall, not terrible.
One thing I will say is we are seeing a lot of boat traffic and pressure. People are really going to have to be courteous to each other. I guess one good thing about the ridiculous gas prices, is that guys are running the river a lot slower. This is a good thing for everyone and definitely easier on the checkbook.
Fishing the past five days in a row, I’ve seen a few things people could brush up on to help others. First thing is putting your boat in early in the morning. Normally, this time of year it’s extremely cold, especially in the mornings. Please don’t just pull the truck out and drag all the water up the ramp, icing up the cement. Stop at the water’s edge and let the trailer drain or drip into the river. I’ve seen a few disasters already this week and one resulted in an injury.
Another thing is while fishing spots with other boats around. If you are late to the party, please observe what guys are doing in the spot before you try and reinvent the wheel. Watch how people are fishing, it’s probably best to follow suit. Also, be aware of where the fish are being caught. If guys are pitching or trolling a sandbar, if you want to motor up, go around and avoid running your boat engine over the fish. This will keep everyone happy.
As far as the fishing is concerned it has been really good for some, and really tough for others. Some of this is due to pressure and timing. I’ve really noticed with my livescope how these fish react to boat traffic. They don’t like it at all! When boats are motoring up a spot near the fish you can watch these fish swim extremely fast out of the way. This scatters them and takes these fish awhile to settle back in.
Being patient this spring is key to everything. For me, jigs and minnows have been clutch for putting numbers in the boat. If you want a big one, crankbaits have the slight edge. Water depths don’t seem to matter. It’s more about finding the structure, slack or slower moving water near or right off the main channel.
My personal April dates are full! I do have openings in May for the river and I have two other guides on staff that have availability in April if you want to go. Get ahold of me!
Mike Peluso is a Dakota Edge Outdoors contributing writer and a licensed North Dakota fishing guide specializing in walleyes on the state’s premier waters.
Featured Photo: Walleyes can be caught in the slower spring waters of the Missouri River, with jigs and minnows best for putting a limit of keepers together. DEO Photo by Mike Peluso.