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Fishing on North Dakota's Beautiful Lake Sakakawea!

Liebel's Guide Service


Liebel's Guide Service Fishing Reports

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Posted on June 17, 2013 at 3:38 PM Comments comments (16)
Well the weekend is over but that doesn't mean the great fishing is!  We had a great weekend on the water, catching limits easily each day.  The bigger fish have become a little more scattered but the smaller 14-17 inch fish are biting very well along with the occasional 20+ inch fish.  The bass and northerns are also biting.  The fish are still prefering minnows and plastics to the traditional nightcrawlers, but they will bite them as well.  Jigs and lindy rigs have been good along with crankbaits on the windblown shorelines.  The best depths have been from 3-13 feet.  


Posted on June 15, 2013 at 12:01 AM Comments comments (0)
Well the fishing is still very good on the lake!  The past 2 times out I haven't put any live bait in the water and managed some nice limits.  The fish really like the paddle tail plastics on a 1/4 ounce jig.  Pitching it up shallow and working it back towards the boat has been the best tactic.  With the wind this afternoon I made a switch to crankbaits and trolled them in 4-10 feet. 7 feet proved to be the best.  The wind blown shorelines can be unbelievable and it didn't disappoint today.  Tomorrow looks to be windy again so we will be prowling the wind-blown areas.  Boat control can be difficult but if you book a trip you don't have to worry about the boat, that's my job, all you have to do is fish!!!  Call today to book your trip, June is half done and July is very busy so book as soon as you can!


Posted on June 9, 2013 at 12:02 AM Comments comments (199)
The fish are biting on Lake Sakakawea!  We've been out the past 2 days and managed some very nice fish.  The best bite has been in the morning on the classic jig and minnow pattern.  We have had our best luck pitching jigs up shallow and working them back to the boat which i try and keep positioned in 10-12 feet of water.  The smallmouth bass and northern are also biting.  Check out the new pictures added to the photo gallery!

Call us today (701)770-6746 to book your fishing trip.  June dates are filling up fast!


Posted on May 31, 2013 at 2:51 PM Comments comments (189)
Well we are in Fort Peck, MT at the moment getting ready for the Rock Creek Tournament.  This tournament is known for big fish with 75+ pounds winning the past few year and a record weight of 97 pounds!  

The weather here is terrible.  Lake wind advisory, constant rain with totals for the last 3 days being 2-6 inches.  We did make it out fishing yesterday afternoon for a couple hours after the interesting road into the rock creek marina (check out the video here).  We caught a few northerns and small walleyes but the highlight happened within 20 minutes of dropping our first line, a beautiful 28 inch walleye!  Hopefully the fish stay there and we can catch a few more like that tomorrow and sunday!  We are not fishing today since all of our gear is soaked, and it's still raining and there are 4+ foot waves, and the road into rock creek is very treacherous!  So the plan for tomorrow is to hit the big fish spot right away then run and gun trying to find active fish!  The weather change is going to change fishing patterns so being able to adapt quickly is a must.  It's going to be an exiting tournament!

As for Lake Sakakawea, the water temps are still a little bit cool for the hot walleye bite, but there are fish being caught.  It just takes a little more patience.  Smallmouth bass and northern are also starting to heat up as well.

I will be coaching at the State Class A Golf Tournament early next week, but will be fishing starting next friday!  Call me to book your trip today!  June dates are filling up fast and July is already very busy so call asap!

5-10-13 Fishing Report

Posted on May 10, 2013 at 11:22 PM Comments comments (140)
Well I've been very busy lately with school and coaching golf so i haven't had much time to fish.  I was able to get out a little last weekend for the maiden voyage of the 2013 open water season.  Fishing was pretty good although size was a little small.  We did manage to catch a limit of nice eater size walleye and sauger.  The water temperature on the river was 54 degrees and the males were milking.  If the river stays clean it'll be good for a few more weeks, but looking at the projections its supposed to rise about 2 feet over the next few days so that could put an end to the spring river walleye bite.

The lake is really close to being completely ice free(finally)!  I hope to make it out either this weekend or next on the lake and look forward to reporting back.  I know the northerns are also biting very well off shore right now too.  We finally have spring weather so get out and enjoy it!

I am booking trips for the summer so call ASAP to book your  guided Lake Sakakawea fishing adventure! 


Posted on April 7, 2013 at 9:56 PM Comments comments (7)
Saturday my friend Jeff and I did some turkey scouting for the upcoming turkey season.  After finding a bunch of turkeys and formulating our plan of attack for the opener next Saturday we turned our focus to ice fishing.  It's april 6th and we still have plenty of good ice for fishing... it's crazy!  We were in search of northern pike since the bait shop was out of minnows, so frozen smelt was the bait of choice.  We set up at the mouth of a large bay with a creek flowing into it.  We put out tip ups in 3-8 feet of water.  

It didn't take long for the pike to start biting.  While putting in our 2nd line we had our first flag with a nice northern!  After getting all our lines set the action was pretty steady.  We had many times where the fish would come in schools and we'd have 2-4 bites at a time!  We ended the day catching many northern in the 3-6 pound range and a couple in the 7-10 pound range!  By the end of the day we were out of smelt and had caught 25-30 northern pike!  It was a great day on the ice, even though we didn't find the giant pike we were hoping for.

The ice was deteriorating quickly around the shorelines so if you venture out please use extreme caution.  The lake is rising, the days are longer, the sun stronger... not a good recipe for ice.  But that means it's almost time for the boat!!!


Posted on April 3, 2013 at 7:14 PM Comments comments (139)
I was able to get out and chase some northern pike over the easter weekend, and there are still plenty of pike in Lake Sakakawea!  We focused on shallow areas(3-6 feet) near bays with creeks flowing into them.  The bite was a little slower than some reports i had heard earlier in the week but we still had plenty of  "flags."  

Saturday we were out for about 4.5 hours and managed to ice 8 northerns between 3-8 pounds.  Monday we had to search a little bit more to find clearer water and then once we found it we caught 12 in the 2-8 pound range in 3 hours.  The fish seemed a little bit sluggish, they would ofter grab the smelt and run a little ways then drop it.  Or they would be running like crazy, but when you set the hook all you felt was the smelt rip off the hook.  I'm not sure if they were just small northerns or they would just have a small part of the bait in their mouth.  It seemed like they were playing mind games with us...  Just as you decided to let them swallow it, they would drop it.  And then when you hustled over  and set the hook right away, they would barely have it in their mouth.

The ice was still very thick and solid, but the warm temps and stronger sun will wear down shorelines quickly which might make access difficult, so be careful.  Also remember to bring the sunscreen!  The sun reflecting off the ice and snow can give you a nasty sunburn... I'm currently nursing my face back from the burn i sustained Monday.

Dates are starting to fill up for the summer.  Please call to reserve your fully guided fishing trip on North Dakota's Beautiful Lake Sakakawea!

3-29-13 Summer Preview!!!

Posted on March 29, 2013 at 6:56 PM Comments comments (617)
Well the calendar says that spring has sprung, but looking outside it's hard to see that.  We have had below average temperatures and the ice is still solid on the Lake Sakakawea.  This year could allow some of the latest ice fishing on record.  But I imagine with warmer temps forecasted next week the shorelines will start getting soft.  We could be river fishing by mid-April and on Lake Sakakawea around the 1st of May.  The outlook for Sakakawea is very good with great populations of Walleye, Northern Pike, and Smallmouth Bass! (click the links to see pictures)  The water levels are forecasted to be a little bit lower than last year which will help concentrate the fish this year, but for the long term we need a little bit higher water to maintain the cold-water forage base.  I will be available for fully guided fishing trips beginning June 6th.  I can provide trips specifically targeting walleye, northern pike and smallmouth bass.  Or choose all 3!

Smallmouth Bass
Last year all through June we had the best smallmouth bass fishing ever seen on Sakakawea.  They should have grown and be ready to put up a great fight again this year!  Pound for pound they might be the hardest fighting fish in Lake Sakakawea!  We can cast crankbaits, pitch jigs, and even try some topwater lures for some exciting acrobatic strikes!  Call me to book your North Dakota smallmouth bass trip! Again June is the best month for bass although I caught some all year even through the ice(a first for me)!!!

Northern Pike
The high water the past couple years have allowed the Northern Pike to flourish!  In the next ten years Lake Sakakawea will be a Pike fisherman's dream!  Most of the fish are still on the smaller end(2-10lbs) but it takes big fish to produce the numbers of small fish we have in the lake.  Every year there are many fish over 20 pounds caught!  50+ fish days are not uncommon, I have plenty of tackle to provide you with a great day of pike fishing!  Don't expect too much down time, you will be tired at the end of a busy day catching northern pike.  Pike are also great table fare, but people shy away from them because of the Y-bones.  I know how to remove them and will clean your pike for you.  North Dakota increased the daily limit to 5 last year so you can go home will a couple great meals!  Call me to set up your action packed northern pike trip!!!

Walleye are my main focus most of the summer, with their always changing demeanor and great table quality, I have nothing but love for the walleye!  They can be a constant challenge and I love trying to figure out the puzzle and putting them in the boat.  In my opinion there is nothing that compares to eating a freshly caught deep fried walleye!  The year classes of walleyes are very good with many fish expected to be in the 4-7 pound range! There should also many in the 1-2 pound range which is perfect for the frying pan!  I always like to let the fish tell me what they like so we may end up trying many different tactics to put numbers of walleye in the boat.  If you have a preference please let me know and we can start with that!  Generally in the summer pulling bottom bouncers and spinners or slow death rigs is the ticket with live bait.  Contour trolling crankbaits is also a very productive way to put fish in the boat!  Call me today to book your trip to catch mouth watering walleye!!

Williston Sport and Rec Show
The 2013 Williston Sport and Rec Show was a great success and I had a great time teaching the kids about fishing.  Hopefully the kids had just as much fun as I did!  We gave away 50 rods to the kids at the seminars on Saturday and Sunday courtesy of the NPAA and their Future Angler Foundation!  We also gave away a tackle box to Cody that was donated by Scenic Sports!

I will be venturing out to chase some walleyes and northern pike this weekend.  This time of year is the time for big pike!  They will be in the back bays up shallow feeding as they are getting ready to spawn.  The walleyes should also be migrating to the spawning areas and generally shallower.  Late ice can produce some great fishing as long as you take proper precautions because the ice can be unpredictable.  I will report back with the results.


Posted on March 8, 2013 at 4:21 PM Comments comments (278)
It's just a week away the Williston Sport and Rec Show!  I will be there with a booth set up in the Kid Zone area on Saturday and Sunday.  At my booth we will do some hands on knot tying and casting practice in one of the racquetball courts.  I will also be doing 2 fishing basics seminars for the kids and have 25 rod and reel combos to give away to the kids at each seminar so make sure and get there early!  I have one seminar at 11am Saturday and another at 3pm Sunday.  Please stop by and join in on the fun!

I will also be starting to take reservations for the upcoming summer so if you stop by I can book a date for you!  Mention this blog and you will receive a $25 dollar discount if you book a trip at the show!

I don't have any new fishing reports, but it looks like we will have a couple more weeks left of ice fishing!  I may try and get out one night next week before the show so I may have an updated report then.


Posted on February 24, 2013 at 8:55 PM Comments comments (0)
Amy and I headed out yesterday afternoon in search of more saugers.  We got to our spot from the week before to find a few other groups fishing there.  You snooze you lose!  So we headed to a new area, hoping to find another productive spot.  Well there were a few fish in the area but most of them were small walleye.  I even caught one that was 5 inches...  I've used baits bigger!  ha!  There were a few northerns around and we ended up with one keeper sized sauger.  Not exactly the trip we were looking for but like the say... Even the worst day fishing is better than working!!!  It was a beautiful day and it could be my last day on the ice this year depending on the weather.  I'm busy the next few 3 weekends so I could be waiting until open water to fish again.

Coming up March 15-17 I will be at the Williston Sport and Rec show.  I will be doing a couple Fishing Basics Seminars that are geared towards kids and getting them "Hooked on Fishing!"  I'm not sure on seminar times yet.  Stay tuned for the times.  I do know that as of right now I have 50 rod and reel combos to give away to the 1st 25 kids at each seminar!  A HUGE THANK YOU to the NPAA and their Future Angler Foundation for donating the combos!  Along with the seminars I will have a booth in the Kids Zone with a casting area where kids can practice casting!  Stop by and get the kids hooked on fishing!  Or book a trip for this summer on Lake Sakakawea!