In addition to a strong walleye bite on Sakakawea, muskies are firing up on Lake Audubon, New John’s Lake and other waters in north central North Dakota. DEO Photo by Kellen Latendresse.
By Kellen Latendresse
These past two weeks have been packed for me, I had two open days from work and guiding, spending them on the water at lake with family.
It felt kind of weird with no fishing rod in hand. I’ve had everything from muskies, catfish, walleye and bass trips in the last 12 days with the majority of them good and a couple of grind-it-out days but overall, fishing has been great in north central North Dakota.
The main one that everyone wants to know about is Sakakawea, and now is the time to be out there. There have been a few off days where you had to work for them after a storm or cold front rolled through, but other than that it has been lights out. I have spent my time in the VanHook or Newtown River area but have heard nothing but good things from middle to eastern half of the lake as well. One common trend is that there is a pile of 14-16 inch eyes wherever you might be on the lake.
Fish in the VanHook area have been on fire this past week but I seem to be finding nicer fish deeper. Most larger fish seem to be in that 15-to-30-foot range and leeches are in full swing with crawlers also working. Cranks have been effective, and I am even seeing alot of guys getting limits on jig raps now. Quantity isn’t as high in the Van Hook area, but the quality has definitely been there.
Guides on the Missouri River are commonly having 100 fish days as well, but not finding many fish over 20 inches in river system right now. The river fish are still shallow with most schools hanging in that 5-to-20-foot range and on windy days guys are killing them pitching. As far as techniques, color, and so on, it seems just about every offering will work. Again, there might not be much for size, but you will fill the freezer. The Missouri River catfish bite is also quietly heating up.
The bass bite on Lake Audubon has slowed down, and I’m not sure what’s going on with the smallmouth, as they seem to have been on vacation lately. The muskie action, however has been fantastic and they are firing on all cylinders on our three major muskie lakes with even a New Johns producing two 50 inch fish this past week. I have had a few muskie trips and our worst one was a one fish day with two other ‘skis getting off boatside.
Kellen Latendresse is a Dakota Edge Outdoors contributing writer and licensed ND fishing guide on the north central waters of the state, including Lake Sakakawea, Lake Audubon and the canal lakes.