Transition is definitely the word to use right now up here on Lake Sakakawea. If you are to ask 10 boats how things are going on the water up here, you will get all kinds of different answers. Some will say it was good. Some will say it was a little slow, and some will tell you it’s tough.
I can say after a couple days up here, I could use all of the above throughout an entire day of fishing each time out. Or I should say I experienced the good, bad, and ugly. Clicky would describe the bite for me pretty well. Definitely a grinders type of bite and the wind conditions weren’t exactly nice to us. But if you work at it, you can put together a good day of fishing over the course of the day. Unless you ate your lucky charms, you will need to stay on the search for the marks on your electronics and grind on your marks.
I think this is where if you fished Sakakawea at all this year, it seems slow in comparison to how it has been all year. We were without question extremely spoiled and you have to change your mindset. Again, if you grind it out you can put together a good day. Those marks you saw in June/July/ August are as quick to chase what you are selling them.
For us, minnows were key! I was running a modified live bait rig on bouncers. We also had some nice fish pulling flicker minnows. I think I probably should have pulled the flicker minnows more. We definitely had nicer fish on them, and if I was trying to key on catching some big ones, this would be my program. I know jig raps would work, but those just aren’t the most client friendly way to fish.
I saw fish in all depths. Lots of fish are still being caught and seen in the 30 plus foot of water all the way out to 75 foot of water. Remember, ALL of those fish no matter the size, will need to be kept. We did however find plenty of biters in the 17 to 25 foot of water depths being able to throw some smaller ones back. I was pleasantly surprised to find this many fish back up in those depths. Especially with the water temps still hanging in the upper 60’s low 70’s in areas. I would anticipate once those temps begin to fall, these fish will pick up the bite pace again.
I feel as though all signs are pointing towards an absolute epic big fish bite up here in October/November. Only time will tell!