It seems the groundhog may know what he's talking about this year. Lots of warm weather and a balmy forecast has people talking about an early spring and pulling ice shacks off the water next week on Lake Sakakawea. I say...let's get the show on the road (no offense to ice fishers)! The plan is to start the open water guiding season in earnest the last week of April so long as this weather stays on track.
The recent info from the Corp of Engineers points to high water on the Missouri River system this year, but by all accounts Lake Sakakawea has enough room and will avoid any flooding. That should be a great setup for fishing, a continuation of the last few strong years. There were a lot of fat and healthy fish last year, and with copious amounts of bait in the system again, they'll only be bigger this year.
As such, it's no surprise the Cabela's National Walleye Tour is holding their season finale at Sakakawea in September, and 2019 champ John Hoyer is looking forward to it as per his comments on the NWT announcement:
“Sakakawea will be amazing,” concluded Hoyer. “That’s the one I’m looking forward to the most. It’s full of them (walleye). The fish are healthy up and down the system. Those 2011 year-class fish will be almost 25 inches. There’s a ton of smelt in the system, and those fish grow super fast. It could take 75 pounds to win the championship. It should be a casters heaven.”
We did a couple fishing expos in Council Bluffs and Des Moines in the last few weeks and met a ton of great fisher people. Definitely hoping to see as many of them up in ND as possible. Sakakawea is going to be the focus again this year, for obvious reasons, but we will make the occasional run to Devils Lake as well. Bookings are starting to pick up now, so if you want your select dates - especially if they're weekends - you'll want to consider planning that out. June weekends are full, but there are some weekdays open, and May and July have more availability.
Also, I got a new email address, email@example.com, and that's where you'll see these fishing reports from if you're on the list. It's almost time, people!