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Sakakawea - June 27

I normally write three or four fishing reports before things change as much as they have since the last one, but it's been a wild season. I'll cut right to the are deep. How deep? Most of our fish today came in 30 feet. Two days ago it was 18-22, sometimes 25, but there were fish out further. Today - and I reference the day because of how quickly things changed - I couldn't find anything shallower than 28 feet in the Deepwater area. It's crazy to think given we still had ice on the lake until May 9. That said, fishing is still good, they're just deep.

So what happened? Basically, the last two weeks of May and early June saw a perfect storm of both temperature and calm. It was very warm, and the lack of waves to refract the light allowed for maximum energy penetration, and that water warmed up quickly. Yes, it's only 70-degree surface temps, warm but not crazy warm, but the key is that it's warm down the water column as evidenced by how you feel the warmth of the fish handling them. They were staying somewhat shallow since the heat was mostly on the surface, but then we got a couple storm fronts that brought some wind to stir things up, and the fish moved deeper and have stayed there for about a week.

They aren't quite as deep on the east side since that water isn't as warm, but it's also a little lower on numbers, so it's a toss-up which way to go. Also, once the east side warms a touch more, those fish tend to go even deeper since the water clarity is better, so things could change fast there too.

As I said, fishing is still good, and we're getting limits of fish regularly. But for a couple weeks mid-June, fishing was absolutely bonkers, sometimes limits in a half hour - even sorting through smaller fish - so it's toned down to a more steady summer pace. And as far as what's working, the fish are in chase mode, so trolling bouncers and crankbaits is the deal. Jigging Raps are working some days, not others, but jigs haven't been very productive for a good week now.

What does this mean for July and August? We could just have a long, steady mid-summer season fishing 25-35 feet of water. Or, if things progress, we may be fishing deeper than I'd like. Fish can still be caught in deeper water, we just wind up keeping them all due to barotrauma. But other things could happen to change that, so we'll take it a day at a time. Also, as for water levels, we are twelve feet below full pool now after coming up about fourteen feet since April.

Things are good, lots of small fish to serve the future, lots of 17-22 class for the dinner table, and some occasional nice picture fish. But yes, they are deep. And now...the videos:

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