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Lake Sakakawea - June 25 - July 2

I've done some solo scouting trips and a little guiding out at Lake Sakakawea on the Missouri River in North Dakota over the last week. I've tried to cover as much water in as many areas as possible to get a feel for the conditions. I did a few days at the New Town Marina fishing between Little Knife Bay and Drags Wolf Bay, then I hit the Van Hook arm a couple days, and finally spent some time in the Deepwater Bay area.

The first few days fish had still been relatively scattered, some inside bays, some just out, and some transitioning to main lake shorelines and points, and that made it somewhat of a grind. You could manage limits if you worked for it, but it wasn't fast and furious. The last two days, though, things have really started to pick up, and it seems one can start to expect some pretty good numbers now in the heart of the summer season. The points around Deepwater Bay the last two days have been really strong, and we've been finding fish in bunches.

What has been consistent, though, is the size of the fish (most of them 18-20 inches with a few smaller and a few bigger) and the basic program for catching them. The most effective method by far has been nightcrawlers on bottom bouncers, and you can typically find fish in either the 8-12 foot range or the 18-23 foot range. The most effective trolling speeds have been 0.8 to 1.2 mph.

From what I've seen, the deeper water is producing more numbers of smaller fish, and the shallower water is holding more quality. I've fished around 10 feet almost exclusively the last number of days with good results. Any points or shorelines with a little chop and a mud line have done well, and if the water temps are closer to 68-72 degrees rather than lower or mid 60's, all the better.

The rest of summer looks to be really good at Sakakawea as the bite is really picking up, and the fish are super healthy and strong!

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