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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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7-13-16 Fishing Report

Posted on July 13, 2016 at 10:22 PM Comments comments (13)
Well it has been a busy few weeks with the 4th of July, guide trips, and tournaments!  The bite is very good on Lake Sakakawea right now.  It should be pretty consistent as long as the weather stays decent.  I expect a good bite to carry on throughout the lake into early August.  Call us at 701-770-6746 to book a trip before we are all booked up for the summer!

June 15, 2016 Fishing Report--WE HAVE ADDED ANOTHER GUIDE!!!!

Posted on June 16, 2016 at 11:38 AM Comments comments (134)
First things first, we have added another guide so we now have 2 boats to allow greater availability and to allow us to accommodate larger groups.  Andrew Fisketjon has joined Liebel's Guide Service!  He has many years of experience fishing Lake Sakakawea, he has been fishing it his entire life!  Give us a call ASAP to grab the new dates we have available!  (701)770-6746  The calendar will now have a new look, it will tell you if Boat 1(myself) or Boat 2(Andrew) is available or booked.  Check it out!

I also must apologize as I had a mistake on the rack cards I had printed this spring.  I incorrectly listed the prices for 3 and 4 person trips.  We are going to honor the rack card prices if you bring the rack card with you on your trip.  So if you bring the rack card to a 3  or 4 person trip you get a $50 discount!  Normally those trips at $550 and $700, but with the rack card it's $500 and $650!  Take advantage of our mistake to save some money!

As for the fishing, the water temps are finally reaching the low 60's throughout Lake Sakakawea.  That means the bite should be picking up all over the lake.  The lake is also rising very fast, which has brought the midline down past Tobacco Gardens and Lund's Landing, the fishing is generally very difficult in the muddy water.  We have been focusing much of our time in the New Town, Van Hook, and Deepwater areas.  The walleye fishing has been a little bit hit or miss.  If you get on the right spot you can catch a bunch quickly or it may be a grind of many spots to catch a few keeper walleyes.  I don't have a real solid depth or pattern because it is changing so much each day.  Be flexible and willing to try something new or different!  Look for windblown shorelines in the afternoon, that has been the most consistent pattern.  

05/27/2016 Update

Posted on May 27, 2016 at 11:03 PM Comments comments (121)
It's that time of year again! Time to hit the water!  I hope everyone has a great memorial day and remembers the reason we have this holiday!  School is over for the year and golf season is winding down, so we are taking bookings for the summer!

Fishing is just starting to get good on Lake Sakakawea as water temperatures are rising to the upper 50's and low 60's.  As the water continues to warm the fishing should get more consistent.  There have been some real nice fishing caught already this year.  It looks to be another great year on the big lake!

We have a couple exciting announcements this year!  First we will be fishing the AIM Weekend Walleye Series, which is a new circuit here in ND and has a great format for the fisherman and fishery!  It is all CRR(Catch, Record, Release).  We have already fished one event out of Bismarck and ended up in 11th place.  We were very happy with that finish since it was our first time fishing south of Bismarck on the river and we had a tough prefish.  This series also allows us to post updates throughout the day to keep the fans up-to-date.  It's really cool!  Be sure to check out or find them on Facebook.

The other announcement is that we have added another sponsor to our team.  100X Retrievers is a full service dog training and boarding facility out of Venturia, ND.  Mike and Shawnee Bassett have over 30 years of training experience and I can tell you first hand they did great with our crazy pups!  They are down to earth people and want to owner to be involved with the training process!  Check them out at

We also are working on adding another guide to our team to provide you with more opportunities to get on the water.  Stay tuned for updates.

Women on Water

Posted on August 17, 2015 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (196)
Ok, I have to brag a little bit! Saturday was my 1st Anniversary and I was lucky enough to convince my wife that we should fish the tournament. I can't think of a better way to spend an anniversary than fishing with my wife, and now we were lucky enough to actually win the tournament! It is all still surreal. My wife Amy and her friend Liz did an awesome job in the wind, I couldn't be more proud!

Now for the fishing details!

We were trolling crankbaits on the flats right outside of White Earth Bay. We didn't even get the Warrior up on plane all day. When the flag waved we just let out our lines and stayed there all day in the same 1 mile stretch. We caught our fish in 5-12FOW, with 8 being the best number, they were a little deeper when the wind was switching and it was calm. Then when it picked back up they moved up into 5-6 feet. Our speed really varied depending on the wind and which way we were going. But 2.5mph is where I tried to keep us, but the wind creating surges and lulls helped get more bites!Our best crankbaits were Berkley flicker shads(#5&#6) and the #7 flicker minnows in a variety of colors. We were trolling them on fireline 30-50 feet behind the boat. Another thing that was very nice was Navionics Sonar Charts Live! I was able to update my maps on the water, this allowed me to see the one foot changes in the real shallow water which was keep to keeping the boat in the zone, maximizing our fishing time!
The warrior was again awesome in the big wind it tracked great making boat control easier. If you want a look at these warrior fishing machines stop in at Mondak Sports in Williston. We caught 20+ keeper sized walleye but had made the decision to not keep a fish unless it was over 1.5lbs, we had 4 in the livewell within the first 2 hours, then it slowed. But after the wind switched and picked up we quickly had our 6 fish limit, and then within the next hour we were up to 9 fish, we then had a solid 2 hours to look for another upgrade but never found it. I didn't think we had enough to win, my thought was 18lbs, but obviously I was pleasantly surprised! The only thing i would change during the day would be not losing so many crankbaits in the trees! HAHA

7-6-15 Website Update

Posted on July 6, 2015 at 5:44 PM Comments comments (2702)
7-6-15 Website Update

I have to apologize for not updating this website as much as I should, but when things get busy, especially with a toddler at home, it can be difficult.  It's much easier for me to post updates on Facebook or Twitter so make sure to like my page ( or follow me on twitter(@LiebelsGuide)!  I also am planning on putting together a few more videos this summer so check those out on youtube or right here on the website.  

Now on to the fishing!  Fishing was a little bit slow to start out the summer, but as water temps have risen the bite has picked up as well.  We haven't had any terrible days on the water, we've just had to work a little harder to get bit.  There is a ton of bait in the lake this year and while that is great for the fish, it can be tough on the fisherman because the fish don't have to eat our baits...  Just part of the great challenge of fishing!  Lately we have been catching good numbers of fish, mostly eaters and smaller, the bigger fish have been much more difficult to catch with consistency.

We have been catching fish either pulling live bait rigs or crankbaits.  Mack's Smile Blades with a slow death hook and a half crawler has been a fish catcher.  Some days leeches have been better, so we go with a Mack's Smile Blade behind an Gamakatsu octopus hook.  As for crankbaits it has been the year of the flickers!  Berkley Flicker Shads and Minnows!  I usually start with 4 different crank bait styles and colors, and by the end of the day I am usually running 2 flicker shads and 2 flicker minnows.

Depths have really varied this year from 2ft-25ft.  Be sure to use your electronics, you paid good money for them(and they are worth it) so make sure you take the time to learn how to use them.  Once you are comfortable with your electronics, learn to trust them!  Don't fish the old honey hole if you aren't marking fish...

I have been working with Navionics this summer on their Sonar Charts and "Freshest Data,"  everyday I am out on the water I am gathering data that is used to update their charts.  This will give people the freshest data possible, all you need is a new navionics chip, or you can use an old chip and purchase the Navionics updates product.  This will give you a year of free updates to the chip.  

I also had some other big news for the summer and that was a NEW BOAT!!!!! I now have a 2015 Warrior V2090 BTT, powered by a 250 Evinrude E-Tec.  I have had the boat for a month and have nothing but good things to say!  There has been a little bit of adjustment needed since I switched from a roller trailer to a bunk trailer! haha  But this boat is a serious fishing machine!  I bought this boat at Mondak Sports here in Williston, ND.  They are a brand new Warrior Boats Dealer and they are ready to get you on the water in the best boat for the big water of Lake Sakakawea!  If you would like a test ride in the Warrior 2090 let me know!  We are also planning on having a Warrior test drive day coming up so stay tuned for that!

That's all I have for now, it will be a busy month, with 3 tournaments, vacation, and guide trips.  I will try and get updates on here as much as possible.  More info will be available on Facebook and Twitter! 

5-23-15 Summer Preview

Posted on May 23, 2015 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (241)
Hello again everyone!  After a long winter we are approaching summer, the fishing reports are already starting to come in and so far the reports from the west end of the lake are very good!  We are gearing up for an exciting summer here at Liebel's Guide Service.  We have a few bookings already and I have a busy July tournament schedule but we have many dates still available. Check out our Calendars to find a date that works for you! Weekends will book up fast so if you are looking to book give us a call. 701-770-6746

We also had some exciting news in the off season!  We added a few marketing partners that provide the best products and services; we at Liebel's Guide Service rely on these products to put fish in the boat on a daily basis.  Check out our Marketing Partners Page.

The first company that we added was Pure Fishing.  They are one of the largest fishing companies out there, they are responsible for many great brands.  The brands we use most from them are Berkley, Fenwick, Pflueger,Abu Garcia, and Sebile.  We will be featuring and using many of their products throughout the summer. 

Mack's Lures is a another company we are working with.  They are the makers of the smile blade that we use throughout the summer.  It is a great alternative to traditional spinner blades, they spin at slower speeds and don't create as much drag resulting in less arm fatigue!  They also have some larger blades and jigging spoons that we will be experimenting with this summer.

Navionics is the world's leader in mapping technology, and we are happy to have them onboard!  They offer great options to update map chips or even create your own map of an uncharted lake.  I will be logging sonar all summer and updating their maps.  Their "Freshest Data" allows people from all over the world to upload their sonar logs and then they update their charts.  All you have to do is update your card every so often to keep the "Freshest Data" on your electronics, helping you put more fish in the boat!  We will have step by step instructions on how to record and upload sonar logs using your Lowrance electronics.  I will also show you how to update your cards.  Navionics has also team with Vexilar and their sonar phone so I will show you how that works as well!

Precision Measurement is an independent measurement service that specializes in the practice of meter proving and strapping crude oil production tanks.  All of its employees are specifically trained in the API standards and follows them on every job to ensure precision and accuracy.  Give Mike Russell a call today!

Probably our most exciting news on the marketing side is supposed to be arriving in the next week. I can't spill the beans just yet... Stay tuned for updates!

2014 ND Governor's Cup Recap

Posted on July 23, 2014 at 2:29 PM Comments comments (351)
Well the 2014 North Dakota Governors Cup is in the books.  It was a great tournament as always with a full field of 252 teams! Check out their Facebook page and give them a like! The week leading up to the tournament had very little wind and stable temperatures, which usually is a recipe for some good fishing!  But they call it fishing not catching for a reason…  We had a very difficult prefish, catching only 2 walleyes over 20 inches the entire week leading up to the tournament.  Little walleyes were a little easier to come by but we knew those wouldn’t win us the tournament.  Both of our bigger walleyes had come in 9-12 feet along weed edges so we made a plan to have a run and gun style point hopping, in hopes of contacting a few bigger fish each day.
Day 1 we were the first flight out at 7am.  We headed to Douglas Bay in hopes of finding the big ones!  We started off on a wind blown point and caught a few small walleyes and we kept a 15” fish to get the skunk out of the boat.  We then moved back into a bay where we had caught our biggest fish during the week.  Pulling spinners along the weed edges produced a 22” walleye!  A few more passes yielded nothing so we started point hopping, picking up another 15” walleye.  At about 12:30 we moved to an island we had watched the game and fish net earlier in the week.  While we hadn’t caught any big fish at this spot during the week, the net showed some bigger fish were present.  We started up shallow and worked off the end of the point and when we hit 19’ there was a big mark on the Lowrance, followed by another, and another!  We knew those were fish we wanted to catch.  On the 1 pass Tory hooked up with a 23” walleye, then a few passes later I hooked into a 24” beauty!  The marks started to disappear, but Tory managed to catch another 20” walleye giving us 4 over the 20” mark (remember we had caught 2 all week)!  So needless to say we were ecstatic!  We finished out the remainder of the day there and the marks had disappeared and we couldn’t catch another so we had to weigh one 15” fish.  Our day 1 total was 16.70 pounds and that landed us in 7 place.
Day 2 we had the last flight and took off at 8:30 headed for the island in Douglas where we had caught our big fish the day before.  When we got there we had it all to ourselves, but there was only one problem.  We only marked one decent fish, and couldn’t get bit.  We moved up shallow and picked up a 17” walleye and then that spot was dead.  So we continued with our run & gun style and moved all over Douglas Bay trying to find the walleyes.  A 3-4lb drum had us convinced for a while we had landed on the big fish again, until we saw the silvery disappointment.  We hit many different spots and couldn’t catch a walleye; even in places we caught many small fish prior days.  So at about noon we headed back to the island hoping it was a timing bite, but the fish didn’t agree with that plan so it was onto plan B.  We headed to Garrison Bay with 1 fish in the boat looking to at least get our limit of 5.  We started near the beginning of the old coalmine on the small islands.  We had many bites right away but all we could get to the boat was smallmouth bass.  Then we found a small school of small walleye and we were able to keep 3 more.  We then kept island hoping and managed to catch 2 more small walleyes before we had to quit.  We had a disappointing day compared to day 1, weighing only 5.35 pounds.  Overall the fishing was tougher on Saturday so we ended up dropping into 17 place.  Obviously we wanted to match our day 1 total, but with our prefishing we were very happy with how our tournament went especially given the large field of 252 teams.
Our presentation for tournament was pulling lindy’s and spinners on weed edges, there were places in 10-12 feet of water (fow) that were relatively weed free, so we focused in those areas because we would often mark fish right outside the weed beds.  There were also places where you could fish the outside weed edge in 18-20fow.   Jumbo Leeches produced the biggest fish, but crawlers did well for numbers.  Fishing required checking your rigs often because even though there were open patches, you often had to go through big weed beds.  It is amazing at how well the spinners will go through the weeds if you are properly equipped.  A mainline of Berkley Fireline attached to a 1oz-1 ½oz bottom bouncer fished at a 45+ degree angle would go right through most weeds.  The rig we attached to the bottom bouncer had to be relatively short (3-5’) so it wouldn’t sink into the weed.  We use Berkley Trilene XT in 10lb test for our rigs.  It is labeled XT for extra tough and it is!  Very strong line but not as strong as the mainline so if we did get snagged in one of the many trees, we would break the rig rather than the bottom bouncer and everything.  This makes for quicker re-tying when all you have to do is pull another spinner off of your tackle buddy and you are back fishing.  I know it sounds simple, but the more time your line is in the water, the greater the chances of catching fish!  Being well organized and maximizing your time on the water will put more fish in the boat!

Van Hook Classic Recap!

Posted on July 13, 2014 at 11:33 PM Comments comments (315)
Well my Dad and I set out the week before the return of the Van Hook Classic in search of the walleyes Van Hook is known for!  Our pre fishing was a little bit tougher than we expected, but we did catch some nice fish, but the pattern was inconsistent.  Monday morning pre fishing i caught 2 walleyes that were 25in back to back pitching jigs up shallow.  After those 2 fish, I never caught a walleye inside 10 feet the rest of the week.... Throughout the week we would get a big fish here and there but again nothing real consistent, except for the one spot i had fished the sunday before.  We didn't always get the fish to bite every time we were there but we always saw them on the Lowrance and they were big fish! Come tournament time we knew we had to go back to our spot and grind it out in hopes of being there when the fish decided to bite.

Friday the forecast was for big winds out of the Southeast...and they didn't disappoint.  2 minutes before the start of the first flight my dad looked at me and said: "They probably shouldn't let us go."  It was rough to say the least, but they sent out the first flight at 7 and it was game on, and we took off at 7:30.  After the long up & down trip we were finally at the spot.  The waves were 3-4 feet tall at that time.  So we put in 4 drift socks and started drifting down along the island in anywhere from 12-22 feet.  With the wind being so strong there were times you ended up where the wind wanted you, not exactly where we wanted to be!  About 15 minutes into the pass I hook up with a good fish, it turns out to be a 25.25" walleye!  We couldn't have asked for a better start, then about 20 minutes later I lose another fish, and then my other rod doubles over in the rod holder.  Turns out to be another 25.25" walleye!  Even better!  So we run as quickly as the wind allowed to the weigh boat and we have almost 12 pounds in walleye on 2 fish!  Next pass we get a 24.5" walleye followed by an 18" so back to the weigh boat we go!  3 really good fish in the boat on the 1st 2 passes!  The next pass the waves are getting bigger as i watch the depth finder read 17'-12'-17'.  True 5 foot waves, they were big, some probably 6+ feet!  Also with those waves it managed to stretch my brass hook i had my drift sock attached with....i slowly watch my drift sock float away and our attempts to catch it failed.... it sunk...  After than fishing was a little slower managing a couple more in the 18" range,  we sat on the spot grinding it out until about 1pm.  Then we decided to try some crank baits on the back side of the island in the smaller waves.  That produced a 23" walleye and another just under 19".  We finished out our day with a great weight of 23.75 pounds, and 2nd place!  The one problem, 1st place was almost 7 pounds ahead of us...

Day 2 was a little different story, wind out of the NW(and a lot lighter) and cooler.  We headed right back to the same island and went to work... We marked a ton of fish, but couldn't get them to bite.  We made a full pass down and back without a fish and to our surprise the boat traffic had cleared out, so we decided to put on the crankbaits and see if they would hit those.  We caught alot of fish on cranks just not many of the right size.  We measured and recorded a few in the 17" range, a decision we would later regret, but we did end up with a nice 22" fish.  After catching and measuring 5 for a limit, we made a move to our second spot, and it was bare, so at least we could say we gave it a chance.  We then headed back to finish out the day on the island.  When we pulled in we caught a few small ones and then caught 3 upgrade fish, so we headed to the weigh boat at 1:30.  We left with 2 fish left to catch and measure, at 1:55 we were headed back to the weigh boat with 2 significant upgrades, our biggest fish of the day at 23.75" and another that was 22".  We had an hour left to fish but had caught our ten we were allowed so we had to quit...  A little disappointing, because the big fish appeared to be biting at that time.  We ended the day with 18.87 pounds and after a long wait at the dock we found out that we had remained in 2nd place and took home a $2500 paycheck!

Our best pattern was lindy rigs, and slow death rigs.  Leeches and crawlers seemed to split the ticket, each catching their share of big fish.  Depths varied from 14-30 feet deepening on the day and time.

All in all it was a great tournament and it was very well organized.  Kudos to the crew that put it all together, you did a great job, and we look forward to fishing it in the future!  The Catch and Release format is great, I hope more tournaments will take a hard look at Catch and Release formats in the future!

6-8-14 Fishing Report

Posted on June 8, 2014 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (17)
Well it has been a couple more good days of fishing on Lake Sakakawea!  We have had some good luck on lindy rigs, with crawlers or leeches.  Depths have varied from 7-20 feet depending on the location.  The trees also dictate where you can fish relatively snag free!  Jigs have been a little slower the past few days but don't be afraid to pitch up to the banks and see if they are up shallow especially if the wind has been blowing into that shoreline.

Give me a call if you would like to book a trip.  I have quite a few weekdays available, but the weekends are pretty much booked up until mid july, so call early for weekend dates.

6-6-14 Fishing Report

Posted on June 6, 2014 at 10:06 PM Comments comments (106)
Fishing has been pretty good this past week!  The bigger walleye have been a little bit difficult to find but the eaters have been going pretty good.  Lindy's with crawlers or leeches, along with jigs pitched to the bank have been the best baits.  The jigs are usually tipped with some type of paddle tail plastic, instead of live bait and that has been working very well.  Fish are generally up shallow with most fish in the 7-12 foot range, with some coming even shallower.

The northern pike have been surprisingly sparse, we have caught a few each day but nothing like the prior years where you could catch 50 or more a day.  

The smallmouth bass are just getting ready to move up onto the beds, so they should be up on shallow gravel bars and easy to catch here soon.  They have been a little hit and miss so far, but each day we are catching a few more so in the next week or so they should be biting hard!

If you are interested in a trip give me a call! Also for your convenience check out my availability calendars