By Mike Peluso
It’s the week of the Big Muddy walleye tournament, which is always the pinnacle of the spring here on the Missouri River near Bismarck. It means a couple things to me. First off, I wasn’t allowed to fish it for the first 10 years of its existence, and I sure wish I could have back in those days. I have dabbled in it a few times over the last decade and have come close to winning it a few times. It’s a tough one, and in my opinion the Big Muddy showcases the best of the best! So, for a guy like myself who is on the water every day, it is hard to fish it. I can tell you exactly where I would want to fish it every year. But the challenge is if you don’t draw a good boat number, or you don’t respect your fellow angler, you get to fish seconds. It’s not easy to do out here with the boundaries so tight.
This year I won’t have to worry about this. I’m not in the tournament so the pressure is off. Guiding daily and being in tournament mode are two different things. I know there’s a lot of talk about the muddy water, spawn, higher flows, and so on, but rest assured the fish will bite! My guess is that weight totals in the lower- to mid-30-pound range will win it Saturday, even with the dirty water.
Like always I will try and steer you in the right direction. The problem with this week coming up is things are going to change rapidly. The water is going to fluctuate, clarity is going to change, and temperatures are certainly going to increase. I feel by next weekend things are really going to fire up. I’m hoping May will be off the charts good!
Creek chubs, crankbaits, ripping raps, and jigs and plastics will all play huge roles in catching good fish this week. Remember the spawn is starting, so the fish are all going to be in different moods. They do not all spawn at the same time, so we have all the above taking place, and it should be an interesting week.
Fish should move northward and push shallow as they do this time of year when the water warms up. Pick your poison and get after them! As soon as this spawn is over, it should turn into a great numbers bite!
Mike Peluso is a Dakota Edge Outdoors contributing writer and licensed ND Fishing Guide specializing in walleyes on the state’s premier waters.
Featured Photo: Hands On Experience. With warmer temperatures forecasted this week, things should begin to fire up in earnest for walleye anglers on the Missouri River. DEO Photo by Mike Peluso.