Missouri River Fishing Report-April 20th, 2020

Written by Mike Peluso

ABOUT MIKE PELUSO Mike Peluso is an infamous North Dakota fishing guide that’s well known throughout the state. Mike prides himself on being consistent, as well as versatile on any body of water he fishes. Mike guides year-round, so you can find him on the water or on the ice. Give Mike a call for your next fishing adventure!

April 21, 2020

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 mikepelusooutdoors@gmail.com and we can set up a trip. Until next time, stay safe and God Bless!

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  1. derek

    What is the water temp on lake sakakawea right now

    • Mike Peluso

      As high as 50 mostly 45-48

  2. Jessica

    Any suggestions for shore fishing and where to go?

    • Mike Peluso

      The heskett plant shoreline in the late evenings casting number 11 or 13 or the desert shoreline south of Bismarck are good areas right now.


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