I’ve seen a lot of things over my 40 plus years fishing the Missouri River. Yesterdays (May 6th) Big Muddy Tournament was one for both the record books and the memory bank.
This spring has been a tough one. The fish were slow to arrive. Coupled with lots of them sliding off into all the tributaries from South Dakota all the way through North Dakota to do their thing. This took a lot of fish out of the main river system. Couple that with cold weather, muddy water, low flows and you have terrible fishing conditions.
Enter this week with 3 days of warm stable weather, internal instinct, and a system full of really big walleyes and you see the weights of the Big Muddy tournament break the all time 6 fish weight record 4 times in one tournament! Can you imagine catching 40 pounds (6) fish and not winning? Craziness!
The Walleye Wizards Fishing League, a league I started 20 plus years ago has some of the best walleye fisherman in the area competing in it weekly each spring. Normally it’s a really good gauge as to how the fishing is going. The format is simple, catch fish, measure them, record (take a pic) and release. At the end of the day you add up your 3 biggest fish. Why am I talking about this?
The league has fished the previous 2 Sunday’s before this years Big Muddy. Winning 3 fish was a mere 50 some inches the last two weeks. If the league was yesterday, with the fish caught in the tournament you would have seen a 3 fish total of almost 95 inches 😳. Goes to show you how fast this system can change .
It also goes to show you how healthy the big fish population is out here. To see 17 fish over 30 inches come out of one spot is mind boggling. The Great Lakes doesn’t even do that.
How were a majority of those fish caught? Well, let’s just say really big live bait pulled upstream slowly. Jigs and plastics also took some really big fish. The good news for me as a guide. With all those big hen walleyes finally coming up into the river we should see some really good fishing for a couple weeks on the backside of this! The males usually come in behind all these big girls and go crazy!
Congratulations to the winners! All 3 of those guys are really good friends of mine. I’m gonna attach the picture of the fish they weighed in the tournament. Before anyone gets all worked up about the picture, all the fish were released quickly after the photo! One of the awesome things of the Big Muddy event is the Game and Fish let’s people release them back into the river!