Things are sure changing fast right now out here on the Missouri River near Bismarck-Mandan. Within the next week and half we will start to see the start of the spawn.
With the warmer temperatures, the water temps are on the rise and the fish are going to be in a state of flux. Moody is the first word that comes to mind. Every year these next two weeks are my favorite and also my least favorite.
Once the spawn starts (I actually caught a spawned out female yesterday) things really get interesting. You have fish coming and going all at the same time. This spring I have seen a lot of big fish! Probably one of the better seasons in a long time. Fish are also very healthy and abundant. Just in the last few outings, I have seen lots of food in the fishes bellies that I have cleaned. A mix of forage, but mostly fathead minnows of all sizes as well.
So why is this kind of a sad time of year for me? Simple, once these fish are all done with the spawn, they (big girls) don’t stick around here very long. My thoughts are they move back down into Lake Oahe and spend the summer in the deep water in the submerged cottonwood trees, feasting on herring and smelt. Probably why we are seeing so many exceptionally large walleyes. It also marks the tail end of the most exciting time of the year here for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lake Sakakawea and Devils Lake, but there sure is something special about the Big Muddy in the spring. Both the river itself and also the Big Muddy fishing tournament. Of course the Big Muddy event had to be rescheduled due to some virus which has really messed up people’s lives.
Right now most of the fish I am catching is pitching jigs. Plastics for me have started to heat up and producing fish. The old faithful jig and a minnow is hard to beat right now. If you want to target a big one, look for softer shallower water and sand. If your looking for some action and good eaters, look for current seems and a little more current and depth. Once the spawn is over we should experience a traditional male fish run with hopefully lots of numbers and an occasional big fish mixed in.
I am going to head to Sakakawea this week to chase after some early prespawn walleyes. We will see what happens there.
If your looking to get out of the house email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a trip. Until next time, stay safe and God Bless!
People are venturing out on the small ponds and a few areas up here on Devils Lake already. Ice isn't great, but we are seeing 3 to 6 inches of ice. The further north the more ice we are seeing. One of the problems we are seeing and are going to see early on...