For the last report out of Sakakawea this year, I can tell you the biggest fish in the system are definitely on the bite, though the windows can be small and the locations are quite specific. While pitching jigs and jig raps and trolling crankbaits, you can expect a median sized fish around 21-23 inches with a handful of 25+ if you know where to find them. There are still a few smaller ones around, but the mature fish are dominating catches.
The system has an interesting situation right now. If you go upstream from Deepwater Bay to the New Town Marina and Four Bears Casino area, there are very few fish being caught or marked, and the bait is almost non-existent. Deepwater Bay itself, however, is loaded with bait, but the bite recently has been limited to low light periods of 7-9 AM and 6-8 PM for some reason or another. It almost feels like a clear water Minnesota style bite right now. Fish are hanging off steep drops of shorelines, points, and humps in about 28-35 feet during the day but come up to feed at night as shallow as 15. You can also get an occasional trophy pitching minnows and jigs way up shallow on points into five feet of water.
From Deepwater Bay downstream to the east end near the dam is where all the bait is located and catch rates are solid. Perhaps it's the still high levels of water that is pushing bait down the system, and that may also be keeping some of the fish somewhat deeper and more scattered for the fall rather than the schooling we're used to seeing, hence why crankbait trolling can be an effective tool. If you get out on the lake during the rest of 2019, focus on the east end.
Thanks for reading along this year, and we can't wait until spring!