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Sakakawea - July 17

The bite on Sakakawea is absolutely outstanding right now and has been for the last few weeks. This is easily the best all-around fishing I've seen since I started guiding here. Particularly, that Deepwater to Van Hook area is just crazy. We've had full-boat, four-person limits of fish in as little as an hour some days, and even if you want to keep 17 inches plus, you can get it done quickly. When they school up - and they have done so on many spots - the number marks on your graph makes you think you're in simulator mode.

The predominant year class right now is about an 18-20 inch, super thick, smelt-eating machine that fights like a four-pounder. Bottom bouncers and crawlers are the go-to, jigging raps have been super hot most of the last two weeks (though a little slower last few days), and the depth has been 8-12 with wind, 12-18 without. Crankbaits work well too. The east side has slightly clearer water, so many fish there are hanging out in 15-22. The east side has definitely picked up as well, but you probably won't see the same numbers as you do further west.

Our boat has seen slightly fewer of the 23-28-inch fish this year, but with so much action in the 17-22 range, it's very hard to complain. Many of us have likely experienced those 80-100 fish days, whether in the states or up in Canada, but it's typically with many 13-15 inch fish. The opportunity to catch almost that many and have over half of them eclipse the 17-inch mark is somewhat a rarity. It's hard to describe unless you've seen it. If you want in on the action, we have openings, some in July, more in August, and August should still be a great bite, just perhaps a little deeper.

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