The Peluso Report: Mighty Minnows

Mike Peluso

By Mike Peluso

I have another split on the schedule this week, with the first part on Devils Lake and the second half on Lake Sakakawea. I am hoping by the end of the month to see some walleye action on the Missouri River, but for now I will stick with the DL and Sak reports.

This week I battled the wind mostly on Sakakawea. The lake is trying to transition and with our cooler temperatures this will happen very soon. I feel like it’s been stuck in the late summer dog days for a while now. The toughest thing for me, and I’m sure a lot of other anglers, is the number of fish you will mark that will not bite. Some of it is transitioning fish, and some of it is they don’t need to eat. There is plenty of food for all the fish in the lake right now and this will make catching them more difficult.

Once the water temperatures fall into the 50s, the fish will start to feed. Until this time, they have no urgency to feed. However, once it finally does, I think the fall fishing on Lake Sakakawea is going to be epic! If you are on the fence putting your boat away this fall, Sakakawea might be a good reason to hold off for a bit.

I am seeing plenty of fish up shallower. This is a breath of fresh air for me as a guide. I tell all my clients when we are fishing 25 plus, we will have to keep everything we catch until we get a limit. After a limit we need to shut it down. Again, lots of anglers think if they see the fish swim down it was ok and lived. It didn’t! So catch what you need out deep and move back shallow.

Our best fishing this week was actually in 18 to 22 feet of water. Our walleyes were caught mainly on bottom bouncers and live bait rigs with minnows. We pulled them under a mile an hour and had decent results. We did catch a few on crawlers but I think it’s safe to leave the crawlers at home. We also pulled flicker minnows on both leadcore and straight flat lines and caught some nice fish. With the walleyes continuing to move shallow, jigs and minnows are going to come back into play.

It’s no secret most of my time will be spent from the Deepwater Bay area up to Shell Island and down into the mouth of the river and up the river this time of year. This area of Sakakawea draws a lot of fish in the fall, and you can find a good concentration of them in this area from now until freeze up. Trust your electronics and do not forget to bring minnows.

I am still booking trips now until ice up, especially on the Missouri River south of Bismarck which I hope fires up here any day. Once it does you will find me there and you will start to see some reports coming from those areas. Also, I am booking ice fishing trips up on Devils Lake right now so if you are looking for a guided trip and or lodging get ahold of me!


Mike Peluso is a Dakota Edge Outdoors contributing writer specializing in walleyes on the state’s premier waters.


Featured Photo: The Golden Road. Lake Sakakawea’s walleyes are beginning to move shallower as the water cools, but they won’t strap the feedbag on until the reservoir’s temperatures hit the 50s. DEO Photo by Mike Peluso.



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