By Mike Peluso
I was all ready to spend the week up at Devils Lake for three guide trips last week, but after watching the news and seeing winds anywhere from 25 to 45 mph, I decided it wasn’t worth it. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to realize I don’t hate walleyes that bad.
The good news is we rescheduled for the following week, the bad news is I only got out a couple of times on the Missouri River near Bismarck before the winds rose. I had a decent Monday and a decent morning of scouting the river. I will say this, I might have stayed out on the river a little longer than I should have. My teeth are now whiter from the sandblasting I got navigating back to the ramp.
I did catch a few fish, but the problem is right now is access. The ramps are becoming difficult to use and the water must be falling even more south of Bismarck. I saw a small rig using Fort Rice this week and I have no idea how they did it. I tried getting a 17-foot tiller out of there last week and couldn’t do it. Guys are using the Hazelton ramp, but be prepared to suck up some sand though. You will be bumping sand the entire way out and if the water drops much more the river is going to get extremely difficult with most accesses probably out of commission. Another problem you will run into at Hazelton, especially without any moving water, is it freezes up easily, so that’s another issue as things get colder.
I am seeing a small push of fish moving upriver. There is a solid bite happening now down near Mobridge, S.D., so hopefully we continue to see them moving north. Only time will tell. Nothing big yet, with a majority of the fish in the 13-to-15-inch range, perfect for the frying pan! Our water temperatures are falling slowly, but I would like to see them dip below that 55-degree mark. I think that would really trigger the few fish that are around to eat.
I’m hoping to get out again this week. With the wind forecast however, I’m not so sure. It sounds like if weather corporates, western Sakakawea is kicking out some really nice fish. I’m also hearing rumors of a decent bite on the east end of Sakakawea also.
Mike Peluso is a Dakota Edge Outdoors contributing writer and a licensed ND fishing guide specializing in walleyes on the state’s premier waters.
Featured Photo: Small Openings. Between the wind, challenging access points, and a fall bite yet to kick off on the Missouri River, scraping out a few walleyes can be a grind right now. DEO Photo by Mike Peluso.