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Not a lot of changes to report from my last post. The weather has stayed warm so lake temps remain close to the same. We need some 30 degree nights to cool the lake/river down to make any big difference in the bite. Sharpe continues to put out limits of over 15 inch walleye for most boats however the boat traffic especially on weekends is heavy. Oahe in areas is putting out limits for well informed fishermen and the traffic is much less. Some days maybe two boats in a 25 mile long run so if you are good at locating the walleye and you do not like to spend your trip in the middle of 20 boats it is the best choice . The fish bags can also have more 18 to 23 inch fish in them. Be aware though that it is a harder hunt than the river. Baits on Sharpe and Oahe still are either bouncer/crawlers or bouncer/minnows with jig minnows catching fish also. Pulling plugs is very good on Sharpe when the wind isn’t blowing weeds around. I along with other guide’s took out a real nice bunch of people with the Pioneer group ramrodded by Courtney then took two father sons customers and then did another of my favorite repeat customer groups NUTRENT AG SOLUTIONS ramrodded by Marty and Emma. Most of these guys/gal are from around the SIOUX CITY area and just a pleasure to guide. Limits were the norm and along with fish going home a big fish fry was enjoyed by all. The fish were all caught from 5 fow to 10 fow mostly on the above methods. Another company that takes the time to take care of their customer/employee’s in a great way both for them and all of the seven guides that they put on the water along with nice business for the OUTPOST LODGE. Thank you AG SOLUTIONS.
Fishing around Pierre has been generally good for the good fishermen. The river below Pierre has been putting out limits of over 15 inch fish when the conditions are right but can be harder when either not enough or to much current along with dirty water caused by wind/heavy current are present. Since the 15 inch minimum on September 1st started West Bend has been much tougher. The main presentations on Sharpe still seem to be either nightcrawler spinner rigs or plain hook nightcrawler or minnow rigs however pulling shallow running plugs works except when the wind causes lots of floating weeds. Oahe remains tougher because there are still walleyes in deep water and shallow water making finding them tougher. A bigger avg size walleye still is coming in on Oahe so if you can find them chances are you will have nicer stringers. I guided Steve Crawford and son then worked for the Outpost Lodge on the Channel Feeds repeat customer group (another great group that takes care of it’s customer/work force) and then took out another of my favorite bunch of repeat customers the Sederlin’s Steve and Doug along with Gary Simmons from Kansas. All of these groups went home with full possession limits of walleye along with some smallmouth bass and catfish. It is always an easy guide trip when I do guide trips with repeat customers and repeat business is what has made my guide business stay around for over 30 years. I also better attribute great fishing lakes to work on (Sharpe/Oahe) in that success..Weather will start to be more of a factor as fall approaches but cooler nights should bring the Oahe fish in more fishable depths improving the bite along with killing out some of the weed growth on Sharpe putting more of the fish out of the weeds making easier limit fishing. If you are coming to fish bring some warmer jackets etc. along now as you will be glad many mornings you did. Fly’s are still around so some days long pants are a better choice than Bermuda shorts if you do not want to spend time slapping them.
I think in some areas you can catch the walleye's shallower than fifty feet of water as some fish have started to move up or were shallow all along. I spent some time fishing in around 14 fow to 20 fow and caught plenty of fish. Also saw a lot of small mouth bass in those depths so right now there are fish scattered in many depths. This also makes the hunting a little harder with some fish still in deeper depths and some coming up. I guided some fellows for the Outpost Lodge to limits of walleye and some big catfish then took John Bdzil and his grandson fishing getting limits and spent two days with another of my favorite repeat customers Audrey and Marv Finn from over Sundance, Wyoming way. In all cases they went home with their possession limits but a few of these days we spent time looking for fish and it also seemed like the bite got tougher after noon. Most of the time we caught these fish on nightcrawler plain hook rigs fishing way down on Oahe but when I fished the West Bend area the fish were around 10 fow out to 30 fow mostly on ridge lines or humps. Had a few days on Oahe coming in with some real nice overs to 24 inches and some big catfish to 10 lbs so there are plenty of bigger fish around if you land in spots that have some of those year class fish. Sharpe around west bend is still putting out limits of eater size walleye with good numbers of fish coming in. Baits and methods vary with pulling plugs/snap weights deep to minnows/leeches/crawlers on bouncer rigs all catching fish. It is for sure summer with temps getting up there some days so lots of water/gator aide drinks are essential. Plenty of bug spray and sun screen help out and if you are going out in shorts it is a very good idea to throw a pair of long pants/sweat pants in the boat. You will appreciate them if the biting fly's show up.
DEEP that is the word for Oahe. Walleye are being caught in depths of 30 fow to 50 fow all up and down the lake. For a lot of fishermen that is not good news however the reason so many of the fish are down that deep is great news. The lake seems to be having a smelt comeback with live wells of fish leaving smelt floating in them. I am not sure all the bait that I mark down deep is smelt but when you get out in 50 fow the lake is just full of bait fish and I hope that a lot of these are the rainbow smelt. I helped guide the CENTRAL VALLEY AGRICULTURE GROUP for their annual 4 day fishing trip for the OUTPOST LODGE and as usual the picture board got filled with mostly limits of fish in the 1 pound range but get this. This group has a company tournament with all the guides weighing there best 5 fish all four days and, the winner of all four days was Guide Paul Steffen (Steffen Ranch) and his crew. They had a weight of over 21 lbs (5 fish) each day just walking away with the whole 4 day contest. Yes that is a 4 lb avg walleye weight with 5 and 6 lb fish in their bag every day. They caught these fish as most of us did fishing deep so the bigger fish are around if you are able to find and catch them. It is not a fluke when you come in with these kind of fish for 4 days in a row. If you can talk Pauly into divulging his methods more power to you, however, I am going to leave telling that up to him. I am also hearing news that the Salmon bite is improving and that would make sense if the lake is full of smelt/bait again. I know of several of these fish in the 25 to 28 lb range being caught in the last couple of weeks so more salmon boats are out and from what I hear the depth avg of 80 fow is where most of the action is. Sharpe at WEST BEND is still putting out eater limits for most boats and on both lakes many methods work with my choice of bait still crawlers, but minnows, deep running plugs, jigging spoons and leeches are all producing. I just got done guiding the Gary Bruchett group from around Nebraska City to limits of eaters at West Bend and they made me think of something to mention. They had bought a family license and were unaware that even though it is cheaper it only entitles you to one limit of fish. Fortunately we could keep my limit so we came back with 16 fish but be aware of that limit restriction if you go the family license route. Once again I would like to thank the CVA corporation for the return of their annual trip affording all of us guides and the Outpost lodge the work along with showing their employee's a great fishing trip. Just great guys and a great company. Lots of fly's around (long Pants and bug spray) and plenty of hot weather so water/gator aide etc. are priority items.
The bite continues to be good on both lakes with the walleye moving deeper for the most part. Fishing in depths of 25 fow to 40 fow are common. All baits (crawlers, minnows, leeches, and plugs) are working so fishing your style should work. I guided two great groups of repeat customers the Whites from Sioux Falls and the Hewitt Group from Iowa along with Randy Stabb and sons to limits of walleye along with some catfish. I fished both Sharpe and Oahe and had a few days where hunting fish was harder but that was mostly caused by heavy boat traffic with lots of areas heavily fished making finding the fish away from other boats harder. I have always tried to stay away from heavily fished community spots and still do but with the advent of GPS technology a lot spots that were pretty well known only by guides are now full of boats. In other words there just aren't many secret spots out there any more. That isn't all bad though as it makes hunting new spots the sport and that challenge is the fun part. Summer weather is around so long pants to keep biting fly's at bay and plenty of water and sun screen make for better trips. Bermuda shorts are cool and comfortable but some days you can pay a big price for that advantage with as much slapping fly's going on as the fish catching. Wear the shorts but take a pair of slip on long pants with you is a good choice many days. Once again I can't thank my great repeat customers enough as they have been and are the foundation of my guide business and have always made my job enjoyable and easy.
The fishing on both Sharpe and Oahe remains great for those familiar with the lakes and areas to fish. Generally the fish have moved deeper in both lakes so looking for them from 20 to 35 fow is the best starting spot. If the wind blows shallower water can be productive. My bait is still bouncer nightcrawler rigs but minnows/leeches/plugs all work. I guided another of my favorite groups John Hansen, Chuck Holsapple and Wayne Labart all from the Bellevue Ne area to limits of fish on both Oahe and Sharpe. I always look forward to these guys arriving to fish and we have a great time. They took home full possession limits of walleye along with some catfish and some shore lunch while here. My business has been built on groups like this of repeat customers and I have many clients that keep coming back so when I get these kind of groups my job is easy and fun. Many have become much more than clients to me so using friends coming back is a more appropriate description of so many of the trips I do. Bring Sunscreen, bug spray and lots of water/Gator aide with you as summer temps and flys are here. The governors cup tournament is this week end so a lot of very good anglers will be out and I will report the results in my next report. I expect to see some real nice catches.
I guided the Zirbels from Wisconsin to possession limits of walleye for two days and then thinking I had a couple of days off started to relax but got a call from my friend Rich Smith from Ida Grove IA that he had boat problems. It isn't often I get a chance to fish with friends so I volunteered to spend time fishing with them. We had a great time and turned up limits for two days of walleye and a lot of catfish. I fished with them in the back of the Cheyenne one day and down at West Bend for a quick trip on their way home. On all of these trips we used nightcrawler bouncer rigs fishing depths down to 30 fow on both lakes. I am still running spinner/crawler rigs shallow in 10 fow or less however finding fish shallow is becoming harder as many fish are in the 20 to 35 fow range now that temps are up. It is summer and the fly's/bugs know it so wearing long pants and using bug repellant make for a more enjoyable trip. Lots of water/Gatorade etc. is also a requirement. As usual a bigger size catch is possible if you find fish away from community spots and especially if you fish around submerged trees/structure even if it is harder due to snags. I have always felt that eating walleye and catching them is great but the real sport is finding them and over my career have always respected the fishermen that take the time to learn how to hunt the walleye. That can be hard but the very best know how. It is not hard to put your boat in and find other boats but finding walleye can be challenging at times. The real sport to me is developing the skill to find the fish and it is also the best part of the sport when you find a batch of real nice fish and then bring home a nice bag for eating. Practicing the art of the hunt is time consuming but the reward of knowing that you can find them is worth it.
I haven't been doing these reports as regular as I have in the past so when you look them up you can assume that not much has changed sine the last posted one. If there are drastic changes I will update at a more timely manner. That being said I have been real fortunate to guide a series of repeat customers to possession limits of walleye along with some bass/catfish and northern pike. The fishing on Oahe has been a consistent summer bite with limits of walleye coming in for most boats that are experienced and have good information about depths/areas. I have been fishing different area's of Oahe including Sutton Bay, Bushs landing, Little Bend and Cow Creek and with the exception of a few real windy days have not had any trouble filling limits for my customers. On Oahe I am still catching most of the fish in depths less than 15 fow however many boats are going to even 20 to 30 fow and doing well. Most presentations work (minnows, crawlers leeches and plugs) so if you have a favorite use it. I have been running smily blade/nightcrawler rigs mostly around shale banks in 10 fow to get limits of fish from 14 inches to 25 inches with around a 17 inch avg., on Oahe. I have been don to West Bend a couple of days and the fishing on Sharpe is still excellent for mostly a smaller size daily bag. You can now keep any size walleye until Sept 1st so most boats are coming in on Sharpe with lots of these smaller walleye with an occasional bigger fish. the fish are down around 20 fow for the most part with all bait/presentations working. The key to fishing for a bigger avg. size walleye on lower Sharpe is to fish submerged trees etc. but this also produces snags so catching bigger fish often means tackle losses. I want to thank all of my repeat customers pictured for once again coming up and fishing with me. Great times and Great memories made. Lots of water and sun screen/bug repellant are standard take along items.
I have been on Lake Oahe with Greg Conroy, Jim Cornicom, and Curt Hort from Pender Ne for the last two days. Super guys that had super weather and great fishing. We fished Lake Oahe in mostly depths around 10 fow with spinner/bouncer/nightcrawler rigs catching around 50 walleye or more a day and keeping limits and possession limits plus some real nice appetizers while they were here. The average was around 16 to 17 inch fish with a few 18/19 inchers in the bag every day. Released numbers of 14 inchers every day to attain the take home avg. Fishing on Oahe is excellent from the dam to Mobridge with the bite on minnows crawlers leech's plugs or in other words however you like to catch them. Depths are from 10 fow out to 30 fow depending on the bait the fish are chasing. Smelt are deeper, shad shallower so finding them sometimes is a little more challenging. If you get in the right area's numbers are real good. There is lots of boat traffic so be prepared to see plenty of other fishermen in many area's. There is also a National Bass tournament going on this week so boat ramps will be crowded. It will be interesting to see how these guys do as many are the cream of the crop. One thing for sure if you want to see some 150 to 175 thousand dollar bass boat/ truck rigs at the ramps drive out. Lots of billboards around with some beautiful boats/trucks under them I hope the weather holds for them. I fished tournaments for a number of years and know how much work and effort these guys put in and the expenses involved so good luck to all of them and stay safe. I will report the results in a future report. On Lake Sharpe fishing is also great but once again you have to go threw big numbers of fish (around a 8 to 1 ratio ) back to come in with limits of over 15 inch fish. After July 1st slot lower limits are off until Sept. 1st so limits will get much easier to bring home on Sharpe..Some flys/bugs starting to be around along with summer days so repellant and sunscreen/long pants along with plenty of water to stay hydrated are necessary items in the boat. Fishing is generally great Tip of this report. Look for the fish to start using the 15 fow to 25 fow more often as weather/water temp continues to warm.
I have been on the water most days fishing Oahe and limits are the norm on the big lake. The walleye are being caught anywhere from 5 fow out to 30 fow depending on what bait the fish are chasing. The smelt are deeper (around 25 fow to 30 fow ) so if they are around the fish are out there but there is a lot of shad/other bait shallow so many times the best depths are around 10 fow to 15 fow or even shallower. I have been catching limits of walleye with some smallmouth and northern mixed in on different nightcrawler rigs but minnows, leeches and pulling plugs all work. There is a bite on Sharpe also but this year the ratio of 15 inch slot limit fish to under 15 is poor so you have to put a lot of fish in the boat to keep a limit. That will change after July 1st so then limit fishing will be much easier on Sharpe. I helped the Outpost Lodge with the yearly trip of the BPI group and they had good weather all 4 days and fishing was great so everyone caught lots of fish. I will post a picture of the last groups 1st day and if you look close you will see some bigger fish mixed in but the over all avg. is around 16 to 17 inchers. This is just a super bunch and all of us guides along with the Outpost are sure glad to have them back every year. A big thank you to BPI for your business from all of us. Fishing is in full summer mode and is very good so trips now should bring home great results. Fly spray and sun screen along with plenty of water are starting to come into play.
I would like to take this time to thank all of you that sent condolences to myself and my family and also all of you that attended Francie's memorial on the ninth of June. I would also like to thank Jody, Jennifer, Glenn and Blake for their support and trip up from Texas to attend. I cannot find the words that can express how much all of the love and support so many have given has meant to all of the family, so for now the thank you I hope will reach all of you that have expressed support and love.
I been making trips now for much of May and now June but have not filed these reports due to a death in the family in May. I will start to make them again now on a 3 day or so basis. May was excellent on Sharpe for numbers of walleye but the fish were smaller than the 15 inch minimum in about a 8 to 1 ratio so to come in with limits many boats were catching and releasing as many as 100 fish a day. Lots of fun but lots of work to get some eating. That bite still continues however the bite on Oahe is also excellent now so it is the Lake of choice for most boats as there is no slot limit and keeping limits of walleye with some smallmouth and northern not uncommon. The size is probably around a 16 inch avg. on most limits however there seems to be good numbers of 18 up to 28 inch fish mixed in most bags. The last guide trips I have been on we have used crawler/bouncer /spinner rigs and have been running them in 5 fow to 10 fow with the fish out some days in 14 fow even 20 fow. The bite on Oahe is great from the dam all the way to Mobridge so if you are coming up you should have great fishing. Most presentations are working(minnows leeches trolling plugs) so whatever your style should get you some suppers. I will post the pictures of some of the trips I have done this year and as usual you will see lots of familiar faces from years past as a huge part of my business is repeat. Thanks to all of you for the trips and also all of you for the condolences.
For those of you that follow my reports and to answer the frequent questions that I have been getting about the lack of reports for May I will do a brief update. The reason I have been off the water is the passing of my wife Francie on the 4th of May to a two year battle with cancer. I have forced myself to get back guiding so in time I will post these reports on a more regular basis.
I will start my 2018 reports now even though I have not been on the water. It has been a record setting spring with April the coldest on record according to kelo land. The ice is all off with water temps on the Oahe main lake 42 and back of creeks around 45 degree's. Sharpe is warmer and if you look you can find some 50 degree water. Oahe has had a northern bite going for both shore fishermen and boat anglers but most other species slow. There is a bite starting on Sharpe with the Pierre area bluffs and west bend starting to put out some limits of walleye/bass with most fish coming on jig/minnow rigs but pulling shallow plugs can work. Main key to this time of year is warmer stained water so that is were I start looking on main lake or creek water. I will start posting reports more frequently when I get on the water but this spring so far is behind probably by a week or more so depending on some warm weather to get things going I look for slower fishing than normal.
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.
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