Fishing on North Dakota's Beautiful Lake Sakakawea!
2013 Fishing Reports
January 14th, 2013
Ice fishing has been great on Lake Sakakawea. Over my christmas break we found the saugers to be in 20-40 feet of water. The morning were best for us, but we never really fished the evening because we had our limits by noon most days. I've been fishing from Tobacco Gardens all the way to Skunk Bay. Jigging was out producing the tip-ups by a very large margin.
Coming up this weekend I'll be fishing in the Catch for a Cure Ice Fishing Tournament out of Tobacco Gardens. This is a great event with the proceeds going towards Relay for Life. If you are available come out and join the fun! 2 person teams. Fishing is from 8-6 saturday with the rules meeting Friday January 18th at 7pm. All events take place at Tobacco Gardens!
2012 Fishing Reports
December 19th, 2012
Ice fishing is getting underway! First ice is usually good, and so far reports indicate the same! Tobacco Gardens has been good, but the ice thickness really varies from place to place so be careful out there! I will have next week off from school so I'll be able to get out ice fishing some. I'll report back after the break! Until then have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!
November 25th, 2012
Well it's been a while since I've been able to update the website, I've been too busy with school and coaching. When i did find some time to go fishing the weather rarely cooperated. I did sneak out on the river a couple times for a few hours but it was really slow for me. From others I've heard its been hit or miss. I did make it out to the lake with my brothers last weekend and we managed a nice limit, but they were by no means jumping in the boat. The lakes are now freezing up and the weather forecast is showing the boat season could be done.
There are people ice fishing at Tobacco Gardens, but the ice thickness varies, use extreme caution. Yesterday morning(11/24) there was scattered ice in the New Town area and I opted to keep the boat on the trailer rather than risking damage to my trailer and transducers.
Unfortunately this years guide season has come to a close. I'm hoping that maybe next winter I will be able to provide some ice fishing trips. But for right now I am too busy and any ice fishing(or tailrace) trip I get will be thrown together last minute! I will try to get some ice fishing pictures and video throughout the winter. I will also try and keep reports updated when I find time to fish. So please stay tuned! Twitter or Facebook can also keep you informed, since I can update that with my phone!
Thanks to everyone for a great summer and fall! Lake Sakakawea is in great shape and I look forward to another great year in 2013!
October 22nd, 2012
Well the fishing the past few weeks has been up and down just like the weather. Last weekend I did well on Lake Sakakawea in the New Town area. The fish were stacked up on the points and loving the classic fall pattern of a jig and a minnow. There were a lot of nice frying pan sized fish and even a few big ones mixed in, including a 6 pounder and a 29in, 9lb 9oz beauty! Both the big ones were released so they could fight another day! The fish were located in 18-32 feet with most activity on the 22-26 foot range. Northerns and smallmouth also were abundant!
The river has been pretty tough going for me. I've been out to the confluence 3 times in the last 10 days and managed only 3 walleyes. I believe that with the low water and low flows the fish haven't been triggered to start their annual migration up the river. I've heard better reports closer to Williston, and the results from the Outlaw tournament show that. It took 32 pounds on 10 fish to win the event with somewhere around 15 pounds rounding out the top 20.
The fall bite is here, the weather can be tough, but this time of year yields more big fish than any other time! A little cold weather won't bother you when you're pulling in the fish of a lifetime! Plus we fish in a lot worse conditions ice fishing!
PS- Make sure and check out the 2012 Photos and Video Pages to see some of the fall action
October 8th, 2012
Well I am now done with the golf season so that has left me with a little more time for fishing! The weather has changed and the fishing has taken a little turn after the drastic change. Record high temps at the end of September, to overnight lows in the teens just a few days later in early October. I was able to make it out on the river this past weekend. The rain/snow from last week has turned theYellowstone River into a chocolatey mess. Fishing there will be extremely difficult until that mud settles out. The Missouri River up west from the confluence is pretty clean compared to previous years but I struggled to get a bite up there. Closer to Williston I launched out of the Lewis and Clark Bridge. With morning temps in the teens it was a chilly morning out fishing and unfortunately the fishing was just as cold for me. I guess thats why they call it fishing not catching... I think we need a few days of stable weather for the fish to recover, and to help the water clean up a little bit.
I have already uploaded the video I made from the Tobacco Gardens Fall Walleye Classic. We had a beautiful day on the water! We were busy all day catching northerns, we managed 5 keeper walleyes for 16.35 pounds, which put us in 6th place, and they paid to 5th. We wish we could have found one more keeper sized "eye" to cash a check... We focused our efforts pulling cranks in the shallow water between 4-8 feet. With the water temps in the mid 50's to low 60's I assumed the fish would be up shallow, and from talking with others many others thought the same thing. The winners of the tournament caught a 10.10 pound walleye in 6 feet of water! I would like to thank Concord Energy for sponsoring our team! As well as Tobacco Gardens for hosting a great tournament, and all the other sponsors who kicked in cash and prizes! Thanks Again! It is very much appreciated!
The big fish are out there and the fall is primetime to catch the fish of a lifetime! Whether on the river or lake dress warm and get out and try your luck, it can be some of the hottest fishing of the year all the way until ice up.
September 26th, 2012
Busy, Busy, Busy. Again I have been a little bit short on time and haven't been able to get out fishing any since Labor Day. I am planning on fishing this Saturday in the Tobacco Gardens Fall Walleye Classic. My partner has been out fishing and finding a few nice fish scattered here and there. They seem to be really spread out right now so covering water is key. Depths have been really inconsistent, anywhere from 4-30 feet. Water temps are dropping and have the fish a little bit confused. But when that water temp hits 55, be ready to find fish shallow especially on warmer days since that shallow water heats up faster on those warm afternoons.
Fishing should be getting very good soon and continue all the way until ice up. River reports have been pretty good with some nice walleye and lots of sauger. Lewis and Clark Bridge has been very busy with boat traffic. The confluence has also seen some activity but I am still unsure about the ramp for larger boats. The Yellowstone River is very low, so navigation will be difficult, but that should concentrate the fish! Concentrated fish means awesome fishing, with the possibility of whopper walleyes over 8 pounds!
A couple new things to look forward to on the website and my Facebook page! I just purchased a MacBook Pro and a GoPro HD Hero 2 Professional Video Camera. With those 2 new tools I plan on putting together HD video of all my fishing adventures! I'll probably try and film a few hunting trips as well. Look for a recap of the Fall Walleye Classic sometime next week! A YouTube Channel is also in the works!
September 12th, 2012
Well I've been very busy again lately, but did manage to get out fishing for 3 days over the Labor Day weekend. Fishing was a little bit spotty, if you landed on a school you could catch them pretty quickly. If not, then it was one here, one there. At least for walleyes that is. Northerns are still abundant and can keep you busy all day. When we did find a walleye it was usually a pretty good one. We did mange a few in the 5 pound range! Over Labor Day weekend I fished a large portion of the lake, I started at Lunds Landing Saturday, then went to the 4Bears Marina Sunday, and finished the long weekend at Deepwater Bay. Depth ranges were huge, anywhere from 5 feet on the upper portion of the lake all the way to 40 feet down by Deepwater Bay. Electronics play a huge role in finding fish. If you learn how to use and trust your electronics it will put alot more fish in the boat!
We are starting to see some cooler nights and that is dropping the water temps a little bit. The rivers are cleaning up and the fish will begin moving upstream shortly. One problem on the river right now is the low water. With a very dry summer the yellowstone river is about 3 feet lower than normal and it could make gettting a boat in at the confluence very difficult if that sandbar behind the boat ramp has moved closer. I will be out checking ramps and the river this saturday for a few hours. I will try to keep updating the site with any info about river access. I have weekends available beginning Oct 6th, right when the bite normally starts picking up so call and book a trip today!
Also starting in October I may be running some specials for evening trips(3-4 hours) on the river, so be sure and watch for that!
August 27th, 2012
Wow, it's been a busy past few weeks with school, golf, and fishing. I apolgize for the slow updates but computer time has been limited. I will start with the most recent reports and work back through the AIM tournament on Lake of the Woods and Women on Water. Again I am unavailable during the week, but do have some weekend days available. This fall is shaping up to be an awesome fall for fishing(lake or river), so call to reserve your day ASAP!
Yesterday(Aug 26th), I headed south out of the 4Bears Marina with Bob, Jake, and Cavin. We started at the mouth of Hunt's Along Bay(aka Clarks Creek). It took a little while and exploring depths before Cavin found the 1st walleye of the day in 17 feet. Then the next pass thru he had his 2nd keeper in the boat. We had to move around a little to find the next school of fish near Bear Den Bay. They were in 21-28 feet, but they were really scattered so I decided to switch to cranks since we only had 4 keepers in the first 4 hours. Over the next few passes we caught many northerns and smallmouth and worked our keeper walleye count up to 12! Most of the walleye were in the 14-18 inch range. Jake and Cavin both caught a real nice northern weighing in at 9.5 and 10.2 pounds respectively. All in all it was a great day on the water when some people would say it's the "DOG DAYS" and stay home. The fish are still out there so get out and enjoy it!
August 15-19th I was in Minnesota at Lake of the Woods for the AIM Professional Walleye Series Championship fishing as a Co-Angler. It was an awesome experience and can't wait to go back! Big walleye and a bunch of really good guys fishing in THE BEST tournament format out there. CRR(Catch-Record-Release) allows for full days of fishing, no culling, no decisions on which fish to keep, and best of all very very little fish mortality! Measure the fish, take a picture, and let it go! Catch and Release is very important to the future of fishing.
The Women on Water tournament greeted us with a windy morning with rain forecasted. Luckily the rain held off so it was a decent day on the water after the wind died down. The fish we had found decided to be pretty tight lipped and we managed only 5 walleye for the day. But it was good enough for 13th place. If we could found one more decent fish to weigh the 6 fish they allowed we would have been well in the money. I made a late switch to cranks which produced our biggest fish, maybe i should tried them earlier... Hindsight is 20-20!
August 7th, 2012
I have been busy getting ready for the casino cup tournament. This week I'm prefishing for the Women on Water tournament out of White Earth. Fishing is still good and if you get the right day it can be unbelievable. We are getting close to the end of summer, and I will be starting school August 20th. After that I will be available on weekends only for full 8 hour days. I may be able to squeeze in a couple 4 hour evening trips. Right now I'm booked until Labor Day weekend so give me a call (701) 770-6746 to discuss your Labor Day trip!
Here is my summary of the 4 Bears Casino Cup:
Day 1: Well we decided it was go big or go home. With our best fish prefishing being 21-25 miles away, and the forecast for big winds I was a little bit nervous making that big of run. Especially seeing the rollers north of the bridge. The cold front also didn't help. But we decided we'd hug the shores and see how far we could go. It was actually pretty good going until the last 5 miles or so. Get to the boundary flag at independence point and the waves are pretty big, and the HDS is pretty much blank. Deeper, shallower, nothing but bass, northern, and drum. So we head to the next area and try some cranks. A bunch of northern and small eyes. We did manage a 15 incher and with the big wind and possible 90 minute ride back it went in the well. So we head to spot #3 and drop the bait down and get a nice one(22-23 incher, never measured it) right away. Then a 16.5 and a 17.75. We sat there a long time to finally get another 15 incher. Well now we have 5, and 2 hours left. Lets head north to try and upgrade the 2, 15 inchers. The wind had let down a little so the ride wasn't bad, but the fish didn't cooperate. 9.47 pounds. Not real happy with it, but knew that was the risk i was taking making the big run.
Day 2: Now we have no choice but to go big, if we want to cash a check. I still had faith in my spots way down south, so we make the big run again(it's only gas right?). Stop at the spot where we got most the day before and get a 23 incher at 8:06. Then we lose a couple more fish, we never saw them but when the walleyes bit, thats all we caught. Then after an hour of nothing we start catching bass, and northerns. So we move out to independence point and it was a northern factory. I got bit off at least 6 times in a half hour(about 10-12 times all day). Jump back to spot #1 about 11:45 and 3 passes in a row we get a 22, 21, and another 22. With 2 hours left of fishing time we have 4 good ones! They just completely shut off after that. I even sat on them verticle jigging for about 10 minutes with fish and my jig on the graph just like ice fishing... Nothing. Finally we have to move to get #5. We run into bear den and troll cranks and pick up a 17 incher. 16.15 pounds on day 2(3rd most for day 2) and 25.62 total we had enough to manage 9th place!
July 25th, 2012
Once again Toabcco Gardens Resort and Marina was out location. When we go to the lake I immediately noticed an ominous scene... white caps, and lots of em. But white caps can be the key ingredient to a good "walleye chop!" We got the boat all ready to go and the wind went down a little. So we headed out into the chop and it was a wet boat ride all the way to the island little egypt. But once we were there it died down a little and the fishing picked up! We put 10 nice eater walleye in the livewell using live bait. The wind has now picked up again blowing a sustained 15-20, with gusts near 30 right down the chute, the waves are getting bigger. So we make our way to the south shore and put the cranks down and slowly make our way back to the marina. Along the way we found lots of northern, white bass, walleye(including a nice 4 pounder!), and even a drum and smallmouth bass! All in all it was a great day on the water! The wind can be tough, but when you're catching fish it's the last thing on your mind! Check out the photo galleries for updated pics from recent trips.
July 23rd, 2012
Headed out of Tobacco Gardens Resort and Marina again today. I have 2 WWII vets that have been friends since 1945 even after living 2000 miles apart! It was pretty cool to have those 2 in the boat today! We headed out to Little Egypt, and started up shallow and it didn't take long to find the fish. We ended up catching and keeping 13 walleye, as well as letting go a few more walleye, northern, white bass, drum, catfish, and perch. Spinners were the ticket today, both crawlers and leeches worked well today. 6-12 feet was the best, and areas near or actually in the flooded trees produced the most fish. It is snaggy and you lose alot of gear, but the fish like it there! Thanks again to John and Billy for their service and spending a day on the water. I had a great time!
I still have a few dates available late this week and early next week. Then also a few scattered days in August before I start school again August 20th. Then I will be limited to weekends. Give me a call (701) 770-6746 to set up a date!
July 22nd, 2012
Well what a ride it has been! 16 days of fishing in a row, where do i begin?
Fort Peck: July 7th-15th
Headed out to Fort Peck, Montana with hopes of big walleyes. I had heard it can be really hit or miss out there, and that was spot on. At least for the big fish. We didn't have too much trouble finding nice eater size(15-18 inches) fish, but we couldn't land on the big fish. We worked hard trying to cover as much of the lake as possible. Prefishing yielded 1 24 inch walleye, the rest were 18 inches and smaller. We also had a motor problem, so we were only able to fish a couple hours wednesday and thursday prior to the tournament, before taking my boat to the shop and getting my Dad's boat to use for the tournament(Thanks again Dad!).
Tournament day finally rolls around and we go out and catch a small limit early then hunt for the big fish. No big ones, end with 8 pounds and 39th place, but 1 big fish day 2 can change everything.
Saturday morning rolls areund and the wind is blowing pretty good, so they postpone day 2 until sunday. So we had a day off, and we went fishing the dredge cuts. Didn't catch any walleye but i did snag into a big paddlefish!
Sunday, Day 2 we get a few real nice northerns early that fooled me into thinking they were big walleyes until we got them to the boat. They had the adrenaline going a little! Then we manage a little better limit of walleye but still no big fish. Finish with 11 pounds on day 2 and 25th place overall out of 105 teams. Overall I was ok with where we finished since our prefishing didn't go real well. A little disappointed we didn't get any of the 10lb plus walleye we hear about in Fort Peck.
ND Governors Cup: July 16th-21st
After a long trip to Garrison sunday night, I was excited to be back on home water getting ready to defend the title! My partner Tory Hill had already prefished a few days and found some real good spots. We were a little worried about boat pressure this year since there were more teams and smaller boundaries. So when prefishing we didn't fish spots very long, if we caught good fish we would leave hoping boats wouldn't see us catching fish there. We had a good week prefishing and were really confident going into the tournament. My boat was fixed(Thank You, Dakota Sports!!), we had 8-10 really good spots, and the weather was stable which should keep the bite consistent.
Friday morning we have the first flight that leaves at 7. We have a 10 minute ride to our spot, drop the rods and have a decent fish in the boat at 7:12! Go a little farther and Tory catches a 5.08 pound walleye. I can't think of a better way to start the tournament, 2 good fish before 7:30! We have our 5 by 10:00, then go looking for 3 more upgrades since we are allowed 8 fish in the boat! We move around all day catching many nice fish but don't catch any upgrades until 2. But we get 2 more nice fish within the last half hour to finish the day with 19.35 pounds, good enough for 5th place out of 216 teams!
Saturday morning we now have the last flight, we are a little nervous because the bite has been good early. Our nervousness became a reality real fast as we struggled all day trying to find decent sized fish. We caught many small fish, but only 3 average weigh fish. We catch 2 little ones at the end of the day to make our 5 fish limit. We tried hard, but just didn't get the big bites. Ended the day with 9 pounds and dropped to 33rd place. We still won our entry fee back, but we were disappointed we didn't finish better after having a great day 1. But that's fishing...
In the past couple weeks I have been hearing of a really good bite on the west end of the lake from Tobacco Gardens to White Earth. So my brother Nick and I went to check it out this afternoon. We found alot of northerns and a few walleye mixed in. After we got done we talked to a few others and found we were a little too deep. The walleyes have been in 6-11 feet. Oh well i'll try that tomorrow!
July 5th, 2012
I just returned from fishing an AIM Walleye Tournament on Lake Erie as a Co-Angler. I had an absolute blast! The pro's said that was the best open-water trolling bite they've ever seen! It truly was incredible. Check out this video with Hall of Famer, Gary Parsons and I doubled up on a couple Lake Erie Walleyes!
As for Lake Sakakawea the fishing has still been very good. I made it out for a few hours Monday afternoon and found a few walleye, but then I decided to try something new that I learned from Lake Erie. I couldn't find the right depth of water with fish to make it work, but it could be a killer later this summer! Thats the great thing about fishing, no 2 days are the same and there are always new things to try and learn!
I will be heading to Fort Peck in Montana this weekend and will be prefishing all next week for the Montana Governor's Cup Walleye Tournament, July 13th & 14th. I'm pretty excited to get out and fish some new water!
After the Mt Gov Cup, I will be coming back to ND and fishing the east end of Sakakawea. I will be prefishing and trying to defend my North Dakota Governors Cup Title, July 20th & 21st!
I am busy from now until the 22nd of July. I will try and keep updates posted on twitter, and will give a full report on the website when I return. I have a couple trips lined up for the week of the 22nd-29th. Please call as soon as possible to reserve your spot today!
June 23rd, 2012
I only had a couple hours to fish in the morning, but i started at a wind blown point up shallow where I had caught a couple the night before. Only thing i could get up shallow was northern and small walleye, but I noticed some good marks on the Lowrance in 11 feet. So i moved out and it didn't take long and I had 3 nice walleye in the boat, and lost a couple others. In just over an hour I had my limit of walleyes. I also let go at least 15 walleye in the 11-13 inch range! Crawlers were the bait of choice again. The bite is really good right now and should continue into mid july! I have dates available the week of july 2nd-6th so book your trip today!
June 22nd, 2012
Headed out of Deepwater Bay again today. We started up shallow where I had done well the weekend before. It didn't take long and we had a couple smallies in the boat! One measured 18 inches and weighed in at 3lbs 4oz! She was a beautiful fish that was let go to fight another day! The water temps have warmed up a little bit and the walleyes liked that. We caught many small walleyes with the occasional 20+ inchers mixed in. Northerns were still plentiful. We fished in 7 feet most of the day but did catch a few out to 10 feet. Cranks worked well on northens smallmouth but we managed more keeper walleye on live bait. Crawlers were the ticket, they really didn't like the leeches.
June 17th, 2012
Only had a few hours to fish in the morning but Nick and I went out and targeted the smallmouth for a while. We found a point where they were chasing baitfish in less than a foot of water! Talk about a blast casting topwater stuff! We managed 4 catch and release whoppers(16in minimum) and many others in the 13-15 inch range! Then we changed our focus to walleye and managed 6 keepers and many other small walleye in 2 hours. We even had four fish on at one time! Cranks shallow was our presentation of choice again. Right now the lake is full of northern and smallmouth. The walleye are missing a couple year classes right now so most of the fish you catch are either 18-25 inches or 13 inches and smaller. Finding those 14-17 inch walleyes is really difficult. The fish have all been really healthy and the future for the lake looks awesome! Be sure to check out the 2012 Photo Gallery for all the pictures.
June 16th, 2012
Forecast was for a windy day. The wind didn't disappoint, but there is a reason they call it a walleye chop! My brothers Kenny and Nick come out in the morning with me, and we find a bunch of small walleye and 4 real nice keepers on cranks. In between walleye the smallmouth and northerns keep us busy. Then we went in to the cabin for a nice brunch and it was time for the girls to fish! 1st up was 6 year old Rachel. She had a blast catching northern and smallmouth but she really liked the walleye! Her first keeper was a fat 23in walleye that weighed 5lbs 3oz! Then she continued to catch nice walleye and in less than 2 hours had a dandy limit that would have pushed 20 pounds! She kept complaining they were too heavy, but she managed to get them to the boat! Then it was back to the cabin to show off her catch! Then it was 8 year old Cleo's turn, the fishing had slowed down a little but she managed 3 keeper walleye from 19-22 inches, along with a few northern and smallmouth! Fish were up shallow again in 4-9 feet and cranks were the best. Salmo hornets, jointed shad raps, and flicker shads were the best lures!
June 15th, 2012
Today I had a couple friend from Minnesota come up and we headed out to Deepwater Bay. It was a beautiful day on the water, with water temps between 62°F and 65°F. With those temps I figured the walleyes would be biting! We started out with live bait and found more northerns and smallmouth. We tried cranks and found the same. We moved around to a couple more spots. After a while Ed gets a good fish on, and it's acting like a walleye. Meanwhile Trish tells me she has a fish too. I finally see Ed's and its a dandy walleye, we get it in the boat and i quickly go over and net Trish's fish. After things settle down we have a 24in and a 21.5in walleye in the boat! Not a bad double to start the day. We then caught a few smaller walleye, then switch to cranks and managed to catch 3 more keeper walleye. Along with the 5 eyes we let go a bunch of small eyes, many northerns (biggest was 11 pounds) and even more smallmouth bass! Then the rain set in for the evening so we called it a day. Most action in 5-9 feet. The walleyes are around I just think that the northerns and smallmouth outnumber them!
June 9th, 2012
My friend Jeff and I planned on hitting the New Town area this morning. We were delayed a little bit by the severe thunderstorm that came through. After that impressive lighting show and downpour, we knew the fishing might be tough. The wind was really blowing when we headed out of the New Town Marina. We started off up shallow and found a few northern and a smallmouth bass. Then we went out deep and caught a couple shiners. We ran up west towards White Earth Bay found more of the same. Finally about noon we headed south to the smallmouth spot from the week before. It didn't take long and we had a double, and lost another fish at the same time! Jeff caught the biggest bass, that was 18 inches long and weighed 2lbs 10oz. We casted and caught probably 20+ smallmouth and a few northens mixed in. We moved to another point to find more smallmouth and even a couple walleye! This is far and away the best smallmouth fishing I've ever experienced!
June 2nd, 2012
My friend Tory and I headed to the New Town Marina, the forecast looked great and I had a bunch of new gear to try! It was a beautiful day on the water! The walleyes didn't cooperate as well as we'd hoped but there were plenty of northern and smallmouth bass to keep us busy! We managed two keeper sized walleye in 7-10 feet, and let go a few smaller ones. My focus was to stay up shallow, and find the active walleye, there were some people finding some sauger out in 20-28 feet. We stayed in 2-15 feet almost all day. Late in the day we stumbled upon a hot smallmouth bass bite, and switched gears and had a blast catching bass (smallmouth are pound for pound one of the hardest fighting fish!). We ended the day catching over 30 northerns, 30 smallmouth, 5-6 walleye, 3 sauger, some small whitebass, a carp, a shiner, a drum, and a 16lb bigmouth buffalo! Be sure to check the 2012 photo gallery!
May 27th, 2012
The school year is finished, my trolling motor is fixed, and the fish are coming off the spawn and are hungry! The June rise is upon us, so the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers have muddied up. Although the water is dirty, there are still some walleye and sauger being caught but it is alot tougher than it was in April. Lake Sakakawea is also beginning to rise and that should send the walleyes up shallow. When they are shallow, they are there to eat! Once the water temps reach 55-60°F they really start to bite. Lake Sakakawea should have many good year classes of walleye and sauger. Ice fishing last winter produced some world-class sauger! The northern pike will also be out in force this year, and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department upped the daily limit of pike to 5! I have many days available starting June 7th. Call (701-770-6746) or email me ([email protected]) and we'll set up a great day on the water!