These past two weeks on the Missouri River near Bismarck have been a fast-forwarded version of normal spring walleye fishing. Good friend and past Big Muddy Winner Corey Perman had to remind me that the walleyes in this system are like death and taxes. At some point it is inevitable that they will show themselves.
A mix of eater sized walleyes and bigger fish is now present in the river. I don’t feel like the overall numbers are there like in years past, however, I do feel like we are running on a half tank of gas. Lots of walleyes traveled up into the tributaries and didn’t spend a ton of time in the main portion of the river this spring.
Another thing I’m seeing, and I saw it last fall as well, is a bait source. If you pay attention to your electronics and all the minnow-eating birds this spring, both are pretty busy. I am seeing a lot of 3-inch super shiny minnows in the beaks of the latter. Hopefully this is the start of something great!
So, what to expect on the river the next few weeks? You are going to see the size shrink but the numbers will be there. Lots of 12-to-16-inch males will be occupying the sandbar slots. The best part about those fish is you can pick your poison to catch them! Cranks, jigs and minnows, jigs and plastics, jigs and crawlers will all work well.
With the warming temperatures and the youngsters getting out of school. This is a great time to try and get them on the water. Hook them young for our future generations to enjoy this beautiful gift!
I have one week left is all on the river here. I’ll be heading up to Devils Lake for about a month. I’ll be back and forth between there and Lake Sakakawea until later this fall.
I have posted my open dates which are few for both Devils Lake and Sakakawea this summer. I do have later August and September dates available for both and I’m always willing to fish the river for walleyes in October and November, weather permitting. If you plan to pheasant or duck hunt out here this fall and need a day or two to rest the dogs, get ahold of me!
Mike Peluso is a Dakota Edge Outdoors contributing writer and a licensed ND fishing guide specializing in walleyes on the state’s premier waters.
Featured Photo: Some Size. Bigger walleyes are still being caught on the Missouri River in and around Bismarck, however expect smaller males to occupy traditional spaces as the water warms. DEO Photo by Mike Peluso.