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Well here we go again and what a great way to start the 2017 season. A beautiful week end with the weather great and one off my favorite repeat customer's Dave Petrocco of Petrocco farms and his son Dominic from over Denver way my first trip of the year. Dave's boy Dominic is well trained by his dad and caught a bunch of fish making for a great trip for him and his Dad. The fishing was work for them but we fished to limits of walleye and almost their limit of smallmouth bass on Sharpe and then put the boat in on Oahe for a half day of fishing for Northern and catfish. We threw back a couple of northern one around 14 lbs. and another maybe 8 lbs. and a bunch of catfish keeping five of the best eaters for their flight back to Denver. Fishing is good but not great yet on Sharpe with limits for a lot of boats on the water but some not filling. From what I heard Wille Gloe and crew won his own Northern Tournament with a catch of nine pike for ninety some pounds with the biggest fish around 18 lbs. Most teams had two or three fish on Oahe in this tournament on Saturday. The bite on the big lake for walleye smallmouth etc. is early and slow yet with water temps in 40's on the main lake and in creeks up to 50 degrees. Sharpe has temps around 50 degrees now with things starting to go. The bait of choice minnows on jigs/pulling shallow plugs for walleye and smallmouth and dead smelt/herring pike sets for northern with creek chubs good also. It is great to have a sunburn and be back on the water and I will start posting reports now in a regular time frame probably around every two or three days. Weather this coming week looks not so good so watch it real close as it is always the biggest factor this time of the year. The year looks normal on Sharpe and hopefully on Oahe also but the lower end might push more boats fishing from the Cheyenne north due with the lower end of the lake spotty but we shall see as it is to early to tell. There is a lot of boats around for this early in the year so expect company at boat ramps like west bend etc. If that is a factor in fishing for you right now you can escape this by fishing Oahe but the bite is harder.
I am still not on the water but decided to update my reports page with a very sad note. Karl Palmer one of the very best guides in the Pierre area made a fatal mistake trying to retrieve his boat after it broke lose from the bank in CHANTIER CREEK on Oahe and drowned. This tragedy is felt I am sure by both his entire family and also the family of guides all up and down the river that knew Karl. My condolences to all his family. He is going to be missed and remembered by all of use who knew him. A class act and a great guide and this is a reminder to all of us that spend are lives on the water that split second decisions can have life threating results. I have made several over the years that later I thought I got lucky on that one. If my boat went a drift like happened to Karl with the responsibility's of customers on the bank it is real possible, even in the cold water, and if I thought a quick dive would get it back I might have done the same thing. Rest in Peace Karl and you will be remembered.
Just a quick report about ice out conditions on the lakes. Oahe is open all the way up to the 212 bridge and Sharpe is open all the way down river from Pierre. I have not been on the water so the fishing report is from other guides that have been. I will start fishing after Easter so reports will start more frequently. The bite around Pierre on Oahe is good for Northern in the back of creeks and bays with a lot of the fishing being done on the banks. There are boats out and pike are coming in regularly. Bait of choice is smelt on Pike sets usually two treble hooks rigged to hold smelt in two places. I have always preferred one 2/0 circle hook on steel leaders and miss very few fish on this set up. I have found it is much easier to release the fish if that is wanted. It is also easier to get out of other fish (catfish) etc. The standard pike set of two treble hooks is the most popular. Sharpe is going most days for both pre spawn walleye and some smallmouth. The next week should start the spawning run on Sharpe in full swing so catching mostly male fish will be more common and for me I think that is good. Oahe spawning is usually a little later but is right around the corner. Jigs/minnows are the bait of choice but pulling plugs is producing two so if you like the trolling you should be able to get some fresh fish for supper. Remember weather as the next month or more has many trips slowed by mother nature. It is a very good idea to check forecasts for the days you are planning a trip and be flexible if you can. If you do hit bad conditions you can save a trip this time of year by bank fishing for northern etc. and that is usually better than sitting in a cabin/motel. It is early but spring is in the air so things are almost in line for the average fisherman to head for the water. Getting the boat and tackle ready is a good way to enhance a fun first outing. Preparation at home is fun and makes for fewer unexpected issues like motor trouble, lines breaking etc. I will start with regular reports around the last week of April.
If you are attending the annual SPORTS SHOW in MINNEAPOLIS I will be in BOOTH 802 Stop by and visit or pick up information on business; resorts, guide services and all kinds of information about destination's up and down the Missouri River system.
I will start with sports show information. I will be present at the Minneapolis Sports Show this next week from Thursday the 23rd until the 26th putting out information on all kinds of resorts and guide service's (including my own) from Sioux City up to the Pollack area on the Missouri River so if you are around MNPLS and are going to the show stop by The Missouri River Great Lakes booth and pick up anything that will help you plan a trip. Now on to some info about fishing around Pierre. When the weather is nice most days the boats going out are catching fish. Sharpe as always has a lot to do with the current so if they run the amount the walleye like the fish go. I have not been on the water so am relying on info from guides that are. Jigs/minnows are accounting for most of the catches. I choose not to guide this time of the year as many of the fish being caught are females full of eggs. By the 1st week of April that starts changing to mostly to males as the females get real hard to catch during the spawning run so waiting a little I think helps the fishery. This is number one a controversial statement as some biologists think a few females spawning is enough and number two you pay for a license that entitles you to a limit of 4 fish and if GFPS thinks it matters they would close the season pre spawn like Minnesota etc. does. I talked to John Cooper former head of GFPS about the early fishing several times and he told me he personally limits his boat to two female pre spawn fish and hopefully get the rest in males or practices catch and release. I have adopted that policy myself but it is very hard to charge money and then tell the customers they have to throw any females over two back so I just wait until the spawn gets in full swing (Usually mid April) and fish for the males as they are usually the ones biting. With warm spring days going sometimes early it is real hard to stay off the water and most anglers like me are wanting to catch some supper so maybe a selective harvest like Coop suggests might be a way to create more eggs hence better spawns. I am not trying to stir up any negative thoughts about early pre spawn fishing but I am passing catch and release thinking on the females full of eggs as much as possible. If you are headed to Pierre this time of year remember to keep your eyes to the sky as weather is always a real big factor in the early spring fishing. See you in MNLPS if you are going to the show and want to visit. I will start with every three day reports as soon as I get on the water probably around mid April.
UPDATE For anyone coming to the show or looking for me I will be at the Missouri River Tourism Booth and that is booth 1124. Hope to see all those that need some info about the river from Sioux City to the North Dakota border. Show goes Thurs night Friday Sat Sunday.
I will be at the show this coming week but this year I will be at the SOUTH DAKOTA MISSIOURI RIVER BOOTH so if you are coming to the show (Feb. 23rd 24th 25th and 26th) stop by and see me. Will be handing out information about place's and services from Sioux City to the North Dakota border so if you are planning a trip anywhere up and down the river should be able to find something for you including my guide service. Stop by and visit about fishing and hunting or just vacation trips.
Unfortunately I am not going to be able to attend the Back Hills Show due to an illness in my family. This is a great show and I hate to miss it but circumstance's dictate missing it. If you were planning to come by and see me just give me a call or send me an e mail.
I will have my booth at the Rapid City Sports show starting on. 10th of Feb. and going thru the 12th. I will also be doing seminars about the Missouri river fishery speaking to all species available targeting walleye northern smallmouth fishing. I will focus on the Pierre area on Lakes Sharpe/Oahe however will answer inquires on both hunting and other areas of the river. If you are in the area stop by and visit. This is another of my favorite shows with lots of vendors from all over and cost to attend is minimal. Hope to see some of you. Hutch
Friday, February 10, 2017
12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Saturday, February 11, 2017
9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Sunday, February 12, 2017
10:00 am to 4:00 pm
I will have my booth at THE COUNCIL BLUFFS RIVER CITY FISH/HUNT SPORTS SHOW starting January 20th and then the 21st and 22nd. Along with my booth I will do seminars on fishing the Missouri river system specifically targeting LAKES OAHE /SHARPE for all of the species that swim there. If you are in the area stop by my booth to either book a trip or just talk fishing. This has turned out to be one of my favorite shows with lots of exhibitor's and many other hunt, fish, etc. speaker's. For show hours and seminar speakers/times and other info you may go to www.rivercityexpo.com. Free parking at this show and general admission nine dollars or 15 and under three dollars so it is real family friendly. Hope to see you there.
Both of these month's produce excellent walleye fishing along with great smallmouth/ Northern/ Catfish. Weather is a factor so many times we have to stay off big water because of high winds etc. but this is a great time to go after the big northern and catfish in the back of creeks/bays to beat the weather. Also fishing on Sharpe below Dam keeps you out of wind and produce's nice limits of walleye. Jig fishing when water temps cold along with btm. bouncer presentations as water warms most common .Boat traffic can be much more around the Pierre area.
By far the busiest month on both lakes.( School out and just traditionally start of summer season] so book early if possible to get best guides/lodging. The fishing is excellent for all species. Weather can still be a factor. We are usually fishing with Lindy or btm. bouncer's.
Best all around month for both fishing and weather especially family trips Walleye fishing at seasonal peak especially in high water periods on Oahe. and Sharpe good two. Btm. Bouncer presentations most common.
Same as July but there can be hotter weather. If there is a breeze it is not to bad as big lake water temps keep heat down. Fish can be a little deeper but still great fishing.
Very good on the walleye fishing with fall weather great toward end of month. As water cools jig fishing starts to come into play again.
Fishing is still good but weather coming into play again Jigs work best especially in colder water. Combination Hunting /fishing trips most common. Just a note: You can catch fish in all the months above tolling or casting plugs and we do that often. But I have found that guiding people over the years most prefer live bait hover fishing better so I spend more time with btm/bouncer/crawler/minnow/leeches than the plugs but pulling plugs is always a good alternative and sometimes can be the best.
Cell Phone: 605-220-2844