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Sakakawea Spring Preview - 2023

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Even though spring seems a long way from the shores of Lake Sakakawea right now, it's all I can think about! My goal, per usual, is to be in North Dakota by the third week of April to start pre-spawn fishing, but time will tell whether or not the ice will be gone. Perhaps I will still get a chance to do some ice fishing since I wasn't able to do that or make the KX Sport Show in Minot in March because of the difficult weather and travel conditions. I'd also be just fine with a boat and open water, though!

As far as what to expect this year, it's always difficult to predict the future, but I haven't seen reasons to be anything but positive. Last year's story was all about water levels, and while we are starting at nearly the same point as last year (currently 25 feet below "full pool"), projections are already better than last year, and we haven't yet hit the heaviest snowfall season for the Montana mountains which is usually in April. The Corp of Engineers predicts around a seven-foot rise by July, putting us right to what they consider "normal operating conditions," 18 feet below full pool.

Fish catch rates last year were VERY high, probably due to a combination of large numbers of fish, the smelt population starting to diminish from peak levels, and I even heard some theories about walleyes being pushed out of the Yellowstone River because of the flood possibly boosting the numbers on Lake Sakakawea (it's hearsay, but what fish talk isn't?!). Usually the strongest indicator of good fishing revolves around the amount of bait in the system, and since we haven't had massive smelt spawns during the low water the last few springs, that could set us up for a repeat of last year. Ultimately, time will tell!

As far as me and my guiding business, first thing I should say is I'm keeping rates steady from last year: $600/day up to three people and $800/day for four. I'll be doing these high-level fishing reports but also continuing the premium reports on Patreon as I started last year. And with that, I'm also adding a new tier and a new one-on-one consultation service through Patreon to offer more perks and something that can be utilized all year long rather than just during the fishing season.

You can check out Patreon with this link here, and you can check out this video for more details:

I look forward to another great season on the water, and if you want to book a trip for the season, check out the calendar on my Contact page for available dates!

Also, if you've been on a trip with me in the past and would be so kind as to consider leaving me a Google review, you can do that here with the link below. I'd be super grateful for your contributions to my continued business efforts.

And, of course, it wouldn't be a fishing report post without some videos, eh? Dialing in your spinner rigs, fishing swimbaits to get into the spring state of mind, and bottom-bouncer set-up tips to be ready for summer trolling. Cheers to 2023, and enjoy!

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