The Peluso Report: Challenging

Mike Peluso

By Mike Peluso

Confused, frustrated, and depressed are all words that can be used when to describe what is happening on the Missouri River near Bismarck right now. You could probably even throw in a couple swear words.

If you have fished the river as hard and as much as I have for over 40 years, people tend to contact me to try and get my take on things and my thoughts. The number one question I have been getting this spring is: “have you ever seen this before?” So, this report might get long winded.

Simple answer is not really. We had one spring where the water was dirty for a considerable amount of time. Once it cleared the fishing was gangbusters. This spring I’m really questioning if we will see this. The reason I say this, with the electronics we all have, we just are not seeing many walleyes around.

I have my thoughts and philosophies as to what is happening. My past track record with my thoughts has usually been spot on. I’m not a biologist however, so I’ll keep my theories to myself.

I’ll let everyone reading decipher by what I’m personally seeing still fishing everyday. Yes, I’m that guy still out there trying to get on a bite to resume my guiding operations.

It’s no secret we had record amounts of snow this winter. Along with that we had early ice and very late ice off. Last fall, right before the first blizzard of the year I found a massive pile of fish south of Bismarck closer to the state line area. These fish were sitting on a bait source. I was super excited when I found them, unfortunately the early winter kept me away.

Another thing last fall, and still this spring, is the water levels south of Bismarck on Oahe do not resemble a lake. It’s super low with lots of sand and current. Not overly easy to navigate and some areas are extremely narrow and shallow.

This spring has had its major inflows from just about every tributary from the far north here in North Dakota all the way down to the Cannonball. Another thing to think about are the two major ones in South Dakota. One being the Grand River.

With the amount of herring, smelt, baby white bass, and whatever else is down that way. The fish found a good food source, especially the big unicorns that are present in the Missouri River system.

So, what’s all this translate to for us up here in and around the Bismarck area right this moment? Well, in my opinion not a lot of fish have made their way into the northern stretches of the system. Of course, there are some fish around. There always are, but they are definitely not in great numbers. I will say this however, if you are hoping for one bite that could potentially be the next state record, now is the time!

I’m hoping internal instincts in the walleyes kick in here soon and we see a push of fish show up. If we don’t, I guess I can chalk up another first in my 40 plus years fishing the Mighty Mo!

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: Smaller, Fewer and Farther Between.  Spring has been challenging on the Missouri River, where walleyes have not made their normal seasonal movements following a high-moisture winter and dingy spring inflows from tributaries. DEO Photo by Mike Peluso.

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