Amazing the difference a few days can make on the Missouri River. Sandbars move, currents change, and the walleyes move! Especially this time of year.
I do have to admit I’ve never seen this much pressure on the river. We are seeing a lot of folks from other parts that normally would go to the Rainy River this time of year coming over here to get the long rods out. One thing I do know about this system after 40 plus years on it, it does not handle boat traffic very well.
The fish get spooky, especially up in the cleaner, shallower water near and north of Bismarck-Mandan. The lake portion of the river, closer to Hazelton and south will do much better. You will still see the fish get negative with lots of boat traffic on top of them.
This doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish. The fish bit and bit pretty well this past week and weekend. I saw a lot of nice female fish caught. You certainly have a great opportunity to catch a personal best every time on the water.
One thing to keep in mind is the fish are traveling up the river right now. You will see fish come and go in and out of the spots. Don’t be afraid to pull higher current areas off the sides of the spots kind of out on the sandbar flats. The fish will spread out and move off the spots especially under pressure.
Pitching jigs with minnows and plastics is still dominating in my boat right now. With the traveling fish however, pulling cranks along those long sandbar stretches will start to really produce and are producing now.
I am seeing folks throwing fish back. Remember, those females are the heartbeat of our waters. Every little bit helps to ensure we have a future on this awesome fishery. So for those of you practicing catch n release thank you!
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