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Missouri River - Platte, SD - May 17-18

Spent a couple days on the Missouri River on Lake Francis Case near Platte, SD. We fished the areas between Red Rock and Platte Creek but had most success on the southern half of that stretch. There were lots of little fish, a five-inch year class and a thirteen-inch year class, and I don't know if that's just a product of the spawn still wrapping up or if the population is shifting towards the smaller fish this year on the lake as a whole. We did see some males still milking when we caught them in the creek bays, so definitely still a little spawn activity going.

Minnows definitely worked best, though we did catch a few on crawlers and leeches. We saw lots of fish in the 22-28 feet range, sometimes active, sometimes not. Our best luck came when we could find them shallower in 12-18 feet near bluffs, points, and mud lines. We tried the mud flats in a few spots but they seemed to be relatively empty. As far as speed, we had to move quite slowly with the bottom bouncers, usually between 0.8-1.2 mph, and the better fish we caught were super lethargic, both on the bite and the fight, again probably due to just coming off spawn.

You had to catch about 8-10 fish per every keeper on average, so fortunately we caught somewhere in the neighborhood of 70-80 fish on the second day to get us ten solid keepers between 15-19 inches. Certainly curious to see if things swing back towards better size fish in the next week or two as the spawn clears and also interested to see what the super high water levels might do to fishing this year and next.

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