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I just wanted to take this time before the Holidays to THANK all of my customers from this last year and those of you who have fished with me over the years. I look forward to taking you fishing in 2017. Until then have a MERRY CHRISTMAS and A HAPPY NEW YEAR.
FISHING/HUNTING REPORT LAKES OAHE/SHARPE PIERRE AREA NOVEMBER 2016
A great time of the year. The bite around Pierre is still going but as usual weather is a real big factor. Fishing on the big lake picked up finally for the fishermen still going out and I have heard of some real nice catches coming in. These are centered around the Cheyenne and the bigger creeks on Qahe. Getting your baits away from the boat is the key to better catch's. Jigs/minnows Creek Chubs either casted or slow trolled way back seem to be the best. Sharpe is still putting out nice fish from the bluffs all the way down to the Ft. George area with either plugs or Jig/minnows. The season has been very good for bird hunting especially on private land but public hunting areas still have birds. Having good dogs and 5 or more guns hunting them is a real key to surrounding the birds making a better hunt. I am off the water now and waiting for the sports show season to begin so these reports will be periodic. My first show will be in Council Bluffs at the Mid American center in January. I will be doing seminars and will have my booth there. I will also post my schedule of shows in December. Once again have a great Thanksgiving.
I along with guides Props Jr. and Jody Cutler guided a great bunch of hunters over from around the Sheridan Wy area. This group of repeat customers ramrodded by Greg Greenough is as fun a bunch of guys as you can get and we all had a great time and caught a lot of walleyes getting limits of fish for the most part. We caught these fish on Lake Sharpe fishing in 10 fow or less on both flicker shad plugs and btm bouncer/minnow/crawler rigs. Minnow/jigs or jigs/gulp are also working. The bite was ( work for the fish) great when they run the right current .I did hear about some fish being caught on Oahe so things might be improving on the big lake but I haven't been fishing there so can't say for certain. I do know if you fish around any place with under water trees you can get plenty of northern pike on Oahe. Once again the fishing season is winding down so these reports will be more weekly unless a big change happens. Season opener for out of state hunters starts this week end and the outlook is great for numbers but a lot of un-harvested crops can slow down the action for a week or two. Over all success should be the report from those hunters in the know especially those who have done research into hunting area's. Great weather so far but that probably is going to be changing soon so enjoy these great fall days.
The fishing season is winding down and as a result I am not on the water every day so these reports will be spaced around trips that I do or any real change in the bite. Then I will update the report. I took repeat customers the Stumiller's from Ne then the Ingels from Kansas and the Bassetts from Ne out mostly on Sharpe. Did do a couple of days on Oahe but both these trips met very limited success and the bite on the big lake just doesn't want to go. I had a great time with all of these party's in nice weather. Sharpe is still the best bet around Pierre with the bite in 10 fow out to 20 fow in some area's with crawlers still working but jigs/minnows coming into play more. Weekends still have a lot of boats on the water so expect company when fishing the river. Hunting season has arrived and numbers are good around Pierre but a lot of corn still standing. Weather so far has been real good except windy days off and on.
Some real big wind blew in over the weekend and it really shut the bite down both on the river (Sharpe) and on Oahe. I took a few days off then guided repeat customers George and Jeff Thomas who were on there way to Wyoming to do an annual hunting trip. It was a really tough bite both places and they did manage to get some walleye, catfish, white bass and smallmouth (One a 21 inch 5lb plus fish) but compared to their last trip here it was not as good. I think the bite was off due to the big winds that blew for two days and expect things to straighten up over the next few days. A couple of great guys and hopefully they will have a great hunt next week. Crawlers still going but minnows are working too so using either will produce fish. I think minnows are better for the bass. Ten fow or less on Sharpe and 20 to 35 fow on Oahe is where we put the baits.
I fished the Mike Pinerost group from around Omaha Ne for two days on Sharpe getting them a nice limit day two but not quite getting full limits day one. Caught the fish on crawlers/bouncers in around 5 fow along with a few fish on flicker shads. Then started a family trip with day one on Oahe. This trip produced 9 fish with the biggest a 26 inch healthy walleye and some 17 to 18 inch walleye and some catfish. Caught most of these fish in 20 fow out to 50 fow. More on this trip after I finish it. We saw three or four other boats on the big lake all day. That part of it is rewarding as spending time on Sharpe is very different with boats all over. The bite on Oahe is starting to get a little better and as colder nights bring water temps down should continue to improve.
I guided repeat customer Carrie her son and his friends for full possession limits of real nice walleye in not so crowded waters on Sharpe. It was a middle of the week trip so without the big crowds limits were much easier to come by. Caught these fish in 3 fow to 10 fow using nightcrawler bouncer rigs and got some pulling flicker shad plugs in around 10 fow. Nice fish for a real nice family trip. The bite on Oahe should be starting up with fall temps starting to arrive but right now it is still spotty. The same for the Salmon fishing. Lots of fishermen using the Pierre area especially on weekends so be prepared to fish among boats if fishing Sharpe. If this is bothersome to you Oahe is almost traffic free and if you land on fish that are up out of the 70 feet water you can put a nice stringer of walleye, smallmouth, and northern together.
I mentioned Chamberlain in the report caption so to explain that almost 50% of the boats fishing in the Pierre area right now are guides from the Chamberlain area or boats driving the 200 mile round trip to catch some fish so I will try and help out all of you hiring Chamberlain area guides or staying at Chamberlain motel with a little info about the bite. After all if you are going to drive 180 miles round trip every day you probably would like a little info about the bite. Some of this is tongue in cheek but it is the truth. I wonder what it says about the fishery in Pierre versus the Chamberlain area fishery and fishing pressure. Every fall the minute the 15 inch slot goes back on Sharpe this situation of boats traveling 200 miles a day to catch 15 inch or better fish develops. Maybe next fall if you are planning a trip you might look in to Pierre resorts/motels/guides and save yourself a little driving time. There are a lot of Chamberlain guides that are very good (Gary Allen's Hillside service, Dave Dahl's service etc.) however many of the guides that are working the Pierre area are great also so maybe think about that on your next fall trip. I fished the Davorik repeat customer guys for the OUTPOST LODGE to some real nice walleye. We did not get their full possession limit somewhat due to my inability and aversion to fishing in the middle of a lot of boats. Had a great time with these two but the fall migration up river or out of the weeds walleye have always liked a half dozen or so main areas over the years and when you put 20 to 30 boats around each one of these spots everyone splits up the fish making for limited luck for some and limits for others. I tried to get a way from these spots and fish where no other boats were but for this trip it just didn't work hence one of the first trips on Sharpe that did not produce full limits. I would suggest part of this is due to a limited bite on Oahe keeping most boats on Sharpe. I think as we get colder fall weather and the bite on Oahe gets more consistent fishing the big lake will be a much better choice and even now it probably is if an outing that produces bigger fish and more species (northern, smallmouth white bass) but less numbers and less boat traffic is what you are looking for. Another after thought about the somewhat controversial stuff I mentioned above is maybe the GFPS ought to look at either taking off the slot limits on Sharpe year around spreading out the bite on the lake (West Bend etc. areas have plenty of 14 inchers) or just making a year around 15 inch minimum on the lake making for the saving of the 14 inch population all over the lake instead of producing all the fishing pressure in the areas that produce of the legal fish for the time frame in the summer slot limits are off. I was told at the time that taking off these slots got put in place was because catching the fish in July and Aug produced a high mortality rate (fish deeper) hence no slots but the truth of the matter in my opinion is that would apply to Oahe with the main bait deep but we catch the fish all summer at West Bend and all over Sharpe shallow where ever the shad are and that is mostly 10 fow or less .I am not a biologist so it is there business as to what is best but I think looking at how to spread out harvest areas year around with either using slots or not using them should be based with that in mind. These guys have a tough job keeping these fishery's producing in the face of the ever growing fishing pressure and yes the Pierre area has been discovered by an increasing number of fishermen so I am not knocking them. I am just suggesting studying the effect the slots have on the area they are applied two in regard to the fishing pressure generated by the slots either imposed or not. There is one thing that as a fishing guide I do know. When fishing pressure eliminates the fish population to the point that the average person can't catch fish the fishermen just don't show up making for the final solution to increased fish populations. No harvests mean more fish. Nobody wants that. We all want to catch fish. Lets hope GFP's can come up with some ways to equal out fishing pressure through either improving slot limits that address that or better stocking programs all over to equal out better harvests year around in all the reservoir's/lakes. South Dakota is still the best destination area for both fishing and pheasant hunting in the whole Midwest. It is just that more people are wanting to fish and hunt in SD now. Best temporary solution in my opinion: Put a increased dollar amount on both hunting and fishing licenses to be used only for increased stocking programs state wide to overcome increased pressure on the fishery's and more habitat/birds in the face of declining habitat.
Just got done guiding the Dow Agro/CPS repeat group of guys and gal ramrodded by Emma (agro) and Marty (CPs) for a two day annual trip. I along with guides Jody, Jim, Dave, Scott, Gail, Jr. Propst and myself spent both days on Sharpe catching a lot of nice walleye some smallmouth/white bass etc. The bite was decent (boats averaged around a dozen fish per boat) and weather was good so everyone including the guides had a great time. We caught a lot of nicer walleye in the 19 inch range along with the 15 to 17 inch fish. Crawler/spinner rigs and plain hook/minnows were the primary presentations but some fish were caught on plugs (flicker shads) also. The average depths for the fish was 5 fow to 10 fow. Average water temps around 62 degrees surface. The main fall hangouts have a lot of fish around them but they also have a lot of boats trying to catch them. This situation means sharing fish school numbers at these locations and inevitability leads to many boats getting a few fish but probably not limits. I along with all the other guides appreciate this group every year and really look forward to renewing long time fishing trips friends (over 20 years in my case) annually. Thank you to a couple of great corporations showing loyal employee's this reward for jobs well done. Not much new news about the big lake (Oahe) Salmon chasers are catching a few but over all this is a tough bite. Walleye and smallmouth fair to some days good but I think colder night's should bring more action. Sweaters and coats starting to be a good thing to bring along.
I guided another of my all time favorite repeat customers Doctor Rose and Doctor Owens and their wife's spending the trip on Sharpe. Sharpe continues to be more productive for walleye than Oahe. We caught the fish in 3 fow out to 10 fow using mostly nightcrawler/spinner rigs however we did catch some fish on minnow/bouncer rigs. Oahe continues to have much less traffic so you do not have to fish around lots of other boats but the reason is that it is much harder to put fish in the boat. You can get a multi species catch on Oahe (Northern Smallmouth Walleye Catfish) making it a tempting chase but you do not always land on the fish. If you are looking to get away from lots of boats it is the best choice but if getting limits of walleye is your goal better put up with the crowds and fish Sharpe. Colder fall temps should start to bring more fish up shallow hopefully making for a better big lake bite.
Oahe continues to be slow with most fish down deep chasing Bait/Lake Herring however this bait is a fall spawner so look for action on the big lake to pick up as cooler fall temps bring the bait back up. Some fish are being taken but generally action is slow. Salmon fishing is a big fish chase but not a numbers bite with boats looking for that one state record bite. Sharpe continues to be the action spot for eater walleye however Sept 1 brings the 15 inch slot limit back so limits of walleye will require more effort. I fished another repeat group Father Glen from Sioux Falls and sons Mike and Stewart Uken from Ida Grove Ia. to full possession limits of walleye on Sharpe. We caught the fish on both minnows and nightcrawlers/bouncers in depths of 10 fow or less and we all had a great time in great weather. A super family bunch of guys. If you are coming up a down side to the fishing on Sharpe is boat traffic. Just a lot of fishermen around and I look for labor day weekend to be even busier. If fishing around a lot of boats bother you Oahe is almost traffic free but the slow bite is the reason. Remember the 15 inch slot limit coming up on Sharpe along with draining boats before you leave the boat ramp area's.
Sharpe continues to be the fishery of choice around Pierre. Action for walleye is good from the dam all the way down to the Big Bend. Lake Oahe is still the best for bigger fish but not numbers most days but getting on the fish is much harder. Average depths on Oahe are deep with fish coming from 25 fow to 50 fow for the most part. I guided one of my favorite groups of guys from down Kansas way, repeat customers Steve, Doug and Chris Sederlin and their friend Gary Simmons to full possession limits of walleye plus plenty to eat while here. They also had some bass, and some catfish. Everyone had a great time including me and the weather held along with the fishing. The bite on Sharpe is centered around nightcrawler/spinner/bouncer rigs along with minnow presentations. Plug trolling produces also but some days floating weeds make pulling plugs for the fish harder. There is plenty of boat traffic around especially in the Pierre area so be prepared to fish around other boats. Most of the time the local fishermen that are avoiding the community holes are coming in with the better stringers. Remember also that after the 1st of September the 15 inch slot goes back on so limit fishing will get harder on the river. I think this will make a big difference in most of the bags coming in. Salmon fishing is slow however many boats are chasing them hoping for that one big bite that leads to a new state record and that might happen along with a chance at a possible new Smallmouth bass record yet this year.
The report hasn't changed much for Oahe with a great deal of both the bass and walleye spending time chasing either deep bait or suspended bait making finding then on the end of points etc. harder. The big smallmouth bass fishing can be exceptional if you find them with numbers of 18 to 20 inch fish common. Mostly minnows /crawlers are producing these guys. Salmon fishing has been seeing more fishermen chasing them however for the most part this is a big fish bite and not a numbers bite with another state record fish probably around. Sharpe is still going strong with most fishermen coming in with eater size walleye limits. I helped guide the CVA group for the Outpost Lodge and as the photos show the big fish board there got filled every day with walleye, bass and some Northern and Catfish being caught. Most of the bite on Sharpe is in 3 fow to 10 feet of water with crawler/bouncer/spinners being the main baits but pulling plugs works well. The fish are coming in from the Pierre area all the way down to West Bend. I am currently guiding one of my favorite repeat groups from the Omaha area ramrodded by Paul Jacobson. We had to get off the big lake day one due to a real strong front moving thru (50 mph winds 20 degree temp drop) so had limited fishing but today we filled the picture board with 40 walleye on Sharpe fishing crawler/bouncer rigs. We probably caught over 60 to 70 fish by 1 o'clock keeping the better eaters so today was very successful as was the CVA GROUPS. More on the Jacobson group after day three but these are as great a bunch of father son groups as I have had over the years and I and the guides ( Jim Weaver and Scott Van Lierre) are just having a great time with all of them. Summing up this report: Oahe for big smallmouth and some big northern and some days nice walleye but Sharpe continues to be the action lake for smaller eating size walleye with occasional 20 in plus fish. If action is what you are looking for it would be my choice. Remember after Sept 1st the 15 inch slot limit go's back on for walleye on Sharpe so it will make a little more work for the limits. Fly/bug spray Sun Screen and lots of water are still requirements for a better trip.
HUTCH'S GUIDE SERVICE
I took some time off so hence the infrequent reports however not a lot has changed in this time frame. The bite for walleye continues to be spotty with the majority of the fish chasing lake herring that are way down deep (50fow or more) so this means they can be just about anywhere. There are a lot of fish just above the thermocline. Smallmouth fishing can be great if you can find them usually in around 30 fow. Many fish in the over 20 inch range are being caught mostly on crawlers or minnow bouncer rigs by fishermen looking for walleye. Catfishing is excellent for those targeting them. The Salmon bite is drawing renewed interest from mostly local fishermen looking to break the state record and several fish have come real close but for the most part only about 2 maybe 3 boats out of ten are getting hook ups daily. In other words you have to want to catch a salmon real bad or set a state record real bad to make this worth your time. Sharpe continues to put out limits of eater size walleye (14 to 16 inch) down on the bend and in the Pierre area but dirty water from farm island to Joe creek limit the fishing around Pierre. I guided both the Bob Greg and wife and Paul Larson and wife to limits of walleye down at the bend but the time spent on Oahe on these trips meant with limited success. Summing things up around Pierre; If you want to catch numbers of walleye Sharpe down at West Bend is still the best choice however for bigger walleye and bigger smallmouth with some northern in your bag Oahe continues to be an option but still more risky. Plenty of water along with a good fly spray are helpful in making for a more enjoyable trip.
The fishing on Sharpe from Pierre down to West Bend is very good for eater size walleye and if you want to catch numbers of walleye (possession limits) it is still the best bet. Catching them on Sharpe in depths of 5 fow out to 30 fow depending on the area you are in on spinner/nightcrawler rigs is the favorite presentation. Other Methods like minnow/bouncer leech/bouncer and pulling plugs all work on both lakes. The bite on Oahe continues to be harder for walleye because the fish are down to depths of 50 fow or more sometimes however it is still the best bet for bigger fish. The smallmouth bass bite has come on with really big smallmouth bass limits (20 inchers not uncommon) coming in. I guided Lee Ruff and his grandson from Nebraska for two fun days then the Casy family and then Buckleys Allen and Ellen 15 year repeat customers from Omaha Ne. Then took out the Terry Held group of guys with Scott Vanlierre helping me and finished this time period with the Bill Heger, Rick Leth, Ron Hargins repeat customers from Cario NE. All great groups and if you notice the mainstay of my business is repeat customers speaking to the great experience's the Pierre area offers as the pictures show. The Hergar group and the Held group had 10 or more smallmouth over 20 inches. Weather is hot, flys are around so lots of liquids and bug spray are necessary but fishing is generally good.
Hot weather is sure part of this report. Temperatures well over 100 for the last 3 days so plenty of water aboard the boat is a must. When on the lake as long as there is a breeze (acts like a water cooled air conditioner blowing over the water) it is not as noticeable but when you hit the bank to clean fish it gets real hot real quick. That being said the bite for eater size walleye is still going on the river (Sharpe) with my bait of choice being spinner/nightcrawler rigs (most presentations work) in anywhere from 5 fow out to 30 fow depending on the area you are fishing. I finished guiding the Watkins group then went out with the Brad Price family catching all of them full possession limits of fish. All great groups and in spite of the heat we had great times. If it is possible leaving a little early in the morning and quitting early afternoon to get out of the main heat is better. Oahe continues to be tougher fishing but still the place for a chance at the bigger fish. There just isn't a lot of bait shallow so the fish are down deep chasing bait. This is the main reason it is harder to find the walleye as they can be anywhere in the water column from 15 fow out to 70 fow. Pulling deep running plugs on lead core, fishing 2 oz. or more bouncer/spinner with gulp or chub/nightcrawlers for bait is probably as good as any to get some bigger fish in the bag. Take care on some of these real hot days. You can get in trouble with dehydration causing heat stroke. Liquids like gator aid or water are just a necessity.
Finished guiding repeat customers the Robinson group then went on to guide the Kruse family of repeat customers for two days on Lake Oahe. Had a decent bite day one getting some quality fish but day 2 was not as good spelling out the over all report on Oahe. It is real spotty. If you get on the right fish you can get some real quality stringers but finding the fish can prove to be challenging. There are fish from 20 fow out to 60 fow making for a tough bite. Nightcrawlers, creek chubs, leeches and pulling plugs are all working. I then started a two day trip with the Watkins party of two staying on Oahe and coming in 2 fish short of a limit but had real nice fish to a 24 incher. Caught this bag in around 40 fow on crawler/spinner/bouncer rigs. Lake Sharpe continues to put out limits of eater size walleye in around 25 fow. Smaller fish here but lots more action if that is what you are looking for. Bouncer crawler or Gulp rigs working the best for me but all presentations are working.
Lots of wind around this week and it effected the catch's both with my customers and the average fishermen along with the Cabela's regional tournament. I fished the Kevin Willis group then the Aune father son group and I am now doing the repeat customer Robinson group. We had limit fishing on Sharpe at West Bend for the above groups and some great times however the wind made for limited results on Oahe. The fish on Sharpe are coming from real shallow to 25 fow or more on ridge lines but limits of eater size walleye along with some occasional over 20 inch fish are the norm. It is still a real good bite here. The fish on Oahe are also scattered from 15 fow out to 60 fow making finding them challenging. Nightcrawler/bouncer rigs along with leeches and minnows are good. Pulling plugs will probably come into play in the upcoming annual Governor's Cup Tournament this weekend. There should be some real nice stringers weighted as there are plenty of 18 to 19 inch walleye around. Lots of bait around also so these guys aren't always hungry making for a spotty bite. Bring plenty of liquids along. Some good bug spray and sun screen make for better trips.
I guided repeat customers the Max Nordeen group from St. Ed Nebraska to full possession limits of nice fish plus some to eat while here. Another of my long time favorite customers. We fished on both Oahe and Sharpe catching numbers on Sharpe and bigger fish on Oahe. We caught the fish on Sharpe in around 10 fow to 25 fow and on Oahe we caught fish in 15 to 20 fow all the way down to 50 fow. Both places we used bouncer/crawler rigs. Because the fish on Oahe are in so many different depths the bite is spotty and many days much harder to find the fish. Sharpe is an easier fish but you will have less chance of the quality 18 to 23 inch fish so take your pick. Lot's of eater fish or stringers with the 18 to 19 inch fish mixed in. Remember that Oahe can be very challenging right now. Bug spray is a good thing to bring in the boat a long with plenty of water/sunscreen.
Lots of fishermen around over the 4th and on Oahe and even Sharpe the bite got tougher some days. Partially because of wind and tons of bait hatch's around it became necessary to describe the over all bite as spotty. That being said if you found feeding fish limits were still coming in. I finished guiding the repeat customers the Sorenson group fishing west bend on Sharpe along with 3 other guides and we got them limits and full possession limits for their trip and then went on to guide the Cory Leland group of repeat customers for day one real tough fishing on Oahe but full limits of real nice walleye day two. A over all average of 19 inch fish with several over 20 inchers in the bag. We caught most of the walleye deep going down to 50 fow on nightcrawler/bouncer rigs. There are fish scattered from 10 fow out to 70 feet right now so hence the tougher bite. Pulling plugs fishing leeches or minnows along with nightcrawlers all work. Some hot weather around now so bring plenty of water and the fly's are out so insect repellant is great to have along.
I guided Ed Boes and son from Cozad Ne for limits of eater walleye on Sharpe for one day and then Oahe for a real nice limit of walleye averaging 18 inches to give them their full possession limits to take home. I then started a trip with repeat customer Gordy Sorenson catching some real nice avg size walleye on Oahe. We caught most of the walleye around 20 fow to 30 fow using nightcrawler/bouncer rigs .Using gulp, pulling plugs and even minnows/bouncers are all working. I have been catching a lot of walleye in mud lines in 10 fow or less but the fish seem to be staying out deep more often now and not coming up as much. I still make passes through these shallow water spots though to see if the fish are there as usually the bigger fish on feed are easier to catch shallow. They just seem to be feeding deeper now in many area's. Remember that the 15 inch slot limit on Sharpe is now off from July 1 to Sept 1 so you can keep the smaller fish and the lake is full of 14 inchers. Limits of eater size fish will be much easier. Oahe is still the best choice for bigger fish as keeping limits of 18 to 19 inch fish is not uncommon. The weather has been just great and the fishing is good so making a trip to Pierre is sure a good thing now. Bug spray, sunscreen and lots of water make for better trips. Tip for this report: Move as much as necessary until you land on the right fish. Many days most of us guides are moving as many as 10 times or more to get on the right fish. Avoid other boats as much as possible and have fun finding the walleye.
The bite on both Sharpe and Oahe continues to be plenty of numbers of fish but getting thru the smaller walleye on both lakes can be challenging. It can make getting the bigger quality fish much harder as these little guys just seem to bite all the time and they beat the big guys to the bait. I guided Rick Hultunem and his wife to limits of walleye on the big bend of Sharpe catching the fish in around 20 fow on crawler/bouncer rigs then took repeat customers the Pete Hanley group on Oahe for two days of fishing getting numbers of quality walleye along with lots of smaller fish in mostly real nice weather. Then took Mike Rouch and wife out for limits on West Bend and finished the last two days with repeat customer Larry Jansen/wife/granddaughter and husband on Oahe for possession limits and some for eating while here. A great bunch to guide and had great weather so all in all a good trip for them but day two we had to fill the limit out with some bigger fish but also a lot of smaller walleye. We caught the fish on Qahe in depths of 10 fow down to 30 fow on mostly spinner crawler bouncer rigs. I like to target mud lines in shallow water however some days they just don't come up so be versatile and get deep if you have to as we caught a lot of the bigger walleye out to 30 fow. The flys are out so be prepared to deal with them. Sunscreen and lots of water are necessary for safe good trips.
I guided a great bunch of repeat customers the Hansen group (John Wayne and Chuck) for a 3 day outing of some really great walleye fishing. These guys got all of their over 20 inch fish two days in a row ( 23 22 21 20 21 20) along with the rest of the fish we kept for their possession limit all in the 18 to 19 inch range. We caught all of the big fish on Oahe fishing mostly in 15 fow or less. The main presentation was nightcrawler/bouncer rigs fished with little propeller spinners at about 1 mph. The big lake is putting out real quality fish this year but some days getting them requires going thru a lot of little guys bringing to mind cutting hooks off to get the best possible release on these fish. I use a number 2 eagle claw light wire hook that I buy wholesale for around $30 for a thousand so I never have to think twice about cutting and losing a hook. Sometimes maybe tournament fishing might merit buying high dollar hooks but most of the bulk cheaper hooks are more than adequate. The kind of presentation used also has a lot to do with deep hooked little fish and that is one reason why I am pulling spinner rigs now as you get more lip hooked fish. Pulling plugs or fishing with gulp or minnow fishing also has this advantage. None of us want to see floating fish (the future of the fishery) so any way to cut the odds down speak to good sportsmanship. Sharpe is going great guns also and catching 30 to 50 fish a day is not uncommon with releasing little fish a must to get limits of over 15 inch fish. Remember that after the 1st of July the 15 inch slot limit goes off on Sharpe until September so it will even be easier to bring in limits of nice eaters. Hot weather has arrived with the great bite so lots of water is a must. Also fly/bug spray ( I use Bronco horse stable spray) for the inside of the boat makes for a more enjoyable trip. I know that shorts and flopper shoes are cooler but not as practical when around these pests. Sometimes if you aren't into slapping fly's a pair of jeans white socks and tennis shoes help minimize this annoyance. This reports key to catching the bigger fish: Look for mud lines in 10 fow or less with no other boats around. Avoid community spots as they are picked over daily.
I guided repeat customers Don Reed, brother James and Dad Vernon to full possession limits of walleye, and smallmouth bass. We caught fish on Oahe and Sharpe fishing mostly in 10 fow or less with crawler/bouncer rigs using both nightcrawlers and some gulp. I then took repeat customers Dad Keith Lenard son Doug and grandson's Coop and Scott out for two days of fishing both on Oahe. Got into a real nice stringer day one with 3 over 20 fish numerous 17, 18 and 19 inchers for a real quality day. Second day was limits again but size was down somewhat due to storms in the area. This family and I go way back and it is just great to see these boys growing up over the years. I have many groups that come yearly with their family's and I must say these are always really rewarding trips for me. The fishing on both Oahe and Sharpe is in full swing. Most boats that are familiar with the reservoir's are going home with nice limits. Fishing depths of 10 fow or less is still my main choice however fish are coming out of depths out to 30 fow. Nightcrawlers/minnows and gulp are best choices with leeches and pulling plugs producing. Lot's of boat traffic this year so be in the mood to share the water. It is still a 235 mile long lake so you can find plenty of un-fished spots if that is your bag. Bug Spray and lots of water in the boat is a real good idea now. It is great to catch walleyes, it is great to eat them, but the real fun part of the sport is to find them. If you spend the time to improve this skill you will get yourself in the upper echelon of walleye fishermen and understand that the hunt is a great part of the sport. Finding walleyes is an art that all of the best walleye fishermen have and usually is the separating point between average and great.
Just a great bite on both lakes with weather for the most part good so lots of fish limits coming in. I guided repeat customers Scott and Ann Rose from Omaha Ne to full possession limits of walleye and bass with two real big bass (19 incher) for master angler awards. I had a great time fishing these two again and looking forward to a Rose /Owen trip in September. I then guided the Jeff Hubka group from Ne to possession limits of walleye catching also Crappie, catfish northern white bass smallmouth bass and a couple of big carp for bonus fish. These repeat customers had great weather, lots of fish (over 80 walleyes released) for a great time. Both of these groups caught the fish both on Sharpe and Oahe in 10 fow for the most part and the bait of choice was nightcrawlers or gulp on btm. bouncers fished with little propeller spinners. The lake has a lot of traffic this year so expect to experience boat ramp crowds. Once you get on the water you can find plenty of spots to fish without crowds if you like. I have mentioned in the past reports that the key to bigger fish and more numbers is to stay away from crowded community spots and this piece of advice is still true. I try to avoid fishing around other boats as much as possible and find it pays off all the time. The only fish in the lake are not all under that group of 10 boats you see so hunt down the fish. They are all over the lake and to me and guys like me that is the real sport. The hunt and the finding. Sun Screen, Bug repellent and lots of water are in order now. The bite is still numbers at West Bend on Sharpe but bigger average size and more species caught on Oahe. My choice weather permitting Oahe.
The fishing is very good at both West Bend on Sharpe to Oahe all up and down the system. I finished guiding the Libel group for the outpost, then guided the Schleusner group and then on to the Darin Davis group of guys. All these groups were great and we caught possession limits for all of them. The fish we caught at the bend were for the most part shallow (under 10 fow) and that is true on Oahe also. The bite is now on both crawlers/bouncers Gulp/bouncers and still minnows if you want. Pulling plugs is also working. Lots of hot weather days around now so take plenty of water along with bug spray. On Oahe the bite is super really from Spring creek right up to Mobridge so take your pick. There is a lot of boat traffic everywhere with weekends being the most. If you are going to fish the popular spots be prepared for lots of other fishermen. Remember to drain your boat before you leave the cleaning areas to comply with the new regulations aimed at invasive species. My bait of choice: Nightcrawlers or Gulp. My area's to fish : West Bend for numbers Oahe for size with Oahe being my number one pick.
Memorial Day weekend has provided great weather and on both Sharpe and Oahe and record crowds of fishermen/boaters.. I fished two groups of repeat customers and am now guiding a group of 4 brothers, brothers in law along with Ne John. Scott Van Lyre helped me guide about a nice of bunch of guys from all over Iowa headed up by Pat Purlick a Harlan Iowa resident. Fished West Bend for full possession limits off walleye/Bass catching the fish in anywhere from 5 fow to 25 fow on mostly bouncer/minnow combos. The bite is in full swing there and catching Limits of 15 to 17 inch fish is the norm. I then took Lee Hammons friends and repeat customers Jim and Steve up on the Cheyenne river for limit's the first day then one short on day two. On Oahe the bite is in full spring/summer mode putting out limits of fish for most experienced anglers. Pulling plugs shallow along with bouncer minnow/crawlers and pitching jigs/gulp shallow are the best presentations. A lot of fish were caught this Memorial week end by a huge amount of boats. I have been guiding here for over 30 years and I have never seen the amount of boats in the main bite area's so if you are coming over expect to see a lot of boat trailers at boat ramps and expect some delays at when trailering your boat. Also remember to drain all live wells and your boat at ramp/cleaning area's due to the new last year law aimed at preventing the spread of invasive species. Bug spray is starting to be useful.
Just finished guiding the Reed Brothers Gary, Bill Lenny and Tim to full possession limits of walleye, smallmouth, and a bunch of catfish/Northern. Just a great family trip with a bunch of real nice guys. We caught most of the walleye and smallmouth at West Bend on Sharpe fishing depths from 5 fow all the way out to 25 fow on a bouncer minnow combination. Lots of limits coming in on Sharpe but also look for plenty of other boats/fishermen as this is a real popular spot. We caught probably 50 fish a day but many were under the 15 inch slot so releasing small fish is necessary to get to limits. Since the Reeds had their limits of walleye /bass to take home we spent day three on Oahe targeting both Northern and catfish and had constant action all day catching as many catfish as they wanted and a couple of Northern. We used slip bobbers/smelt in the back of creeks in less than 5 fow to put around 50 catfish in the boat. Lots of great eating and an under harvested fish that just isn't given the credit it should have. Oahe is a much harder bite right now around Pierre but every warm weather day should improve the overall harvest here.
I got behind on these reports, however I will try to keep current from now on. Did a bunch of guiding with a lot of repeat customers from the Nat Luhrs group from Ne. to the Steve Anderson Group from Az and lastly Doug Hays and Doug Kellering from Kc Mo all repeat customers and just great customers and friends. The bite down at West Bend on Sharpe is great for both walleye and smallmouth in 10 fow or less with bouncer/minnow, jigs gulp, plug pulling and now even nightcrawler rigs. I sent all of the above customers home with limits of walleye bass and lots of catfish with some northern pike. Oahe is going when the weather allows access. Most of the fish on the big lake are being caught in shallow water with jigs/gulp minnows/bouncers in shallow stained water in the back of rivers/creeks. The main bite is on at Lake Sharpe and starting to go on Oahe with weather still being the key to great trips both lakes. Look for the warmer wind blown stained water for the best success.
The spawn on both Oahe and Sharpe is for the most part done with male walleye's hanging around spawning area's. These are the fish that are providing the best action/catch's on both lake's. I finished guiding Zach and friend Roger from down Kansas way catching catfish /northern to round out there trip as they had full possession limits of smallmouth and walleye. Roger got a real nice northern in the 16 lb. class along with 20 catfish. We caught these fish on dead smelt in the back of creeks/bays on Oahe in very shallow warmer water fishing slip bobbers/smelt. A real nice trip for a couple of great guys. Then fished the Jerry Fennel party of repeat customers from Ne KS Colorado and Wisconsin to great smallmouth and walleye fishing at West Bend on Sharpe and northern /catfish on Oahe. We caught all of the different species in warmer shallow stained water with the walleye/ bass hitting either jigs/gulp or bottom bouncer/minnow. Smelt for the cats and northern. Overall most nice days are producing limits however bad weather days can make for more work to come in with limits. The open water fishing is good and should get better every day as water temps move up. I have heard of a few salmon being caught around the dam.
Finally the weather has turned to spring /summer like days. I spent two days fishing repeat customers the Kaslen brother's and friends to day one 20 fish walleye limits down at west bend and day two went to the Cheyenne river for limited results. Both days were great weather days and we found the fish at the bend in 5 fow or less catching them mostly on gulp/bouncers/minnows. There is a good bite around Pierre some days but most of the fish are concentrated from the bad river north to the dam in the cleaner water. Expect to be fishing with a lot of other boats as the boat traffic is big time. The Lake is on the edge of a good bite and these warmer weather days should get things going. I spent the next two days with friends Larry Myrers (Sports Writer editor Sioux City Journal) and pal Gary Howe (Howe Outdoor/TV productions) getting day one and two some great Smallmouth film/article along with some nice walleye action. I have just started a three day trip with Zach Sheldon from down Kansas way and friend Roger. We put limits of nice walleye and bass in the boat making a great start for their trip. Caught all these fish in 10 fow or less on either Gulp/Jigs or Minnow/bouncer rigs. The Season is in full swing now.
Weather is the sum it up word. Lots of rain/wind made almost all week a real earn your fish bite. The water around Pierre from below the bad river down to the FT George area is muddy but that being said catches are coming out of this dirty water for those fishermen pitching jigs along the bluffs or fishing the clean water from the bad north to the dam. Jigs minnows/Gulp are the baits of choice but plug pulling can work. West Bend is going also but because of the weather boat traffic was down all week. Most of the walleye fishing is centered around know spawning areas. The northern bite on Oahe is still good with smelt pike rigs but water temps still cold so walleye continue to be harder to come by. It is looking much better weather wise this next week so I look for improving catches by most fishermen. The season is here.
Got out on the water (Sharpe West Bend) with my friend and internet guy Jon Sailer for a great day of fishing down at the bend. We had some equipment fail's with a bow mount that wouldn't work but in spite of that we managed to get nine keepers for supper. The fishing around Pierre has been mostly centered on the river (Sharpe) with rain/weather causing a lot of dirty water below the bad river so most of the traffic has been from the bridges to the dam or down at the bend. Minnows Jigs Gulp are the baits of choice however pulling plugs has been producing some days.10 fow or less in all the key areas that hold spawning fish is where most of the action is. Oahe continues to be great for nice northern and some walleye with less boats out on the big lake however walleye fishing is spotty. Fish are being caught from right on the bank to 35 fow. The season is just getting started and should improve daily with longer warmer days but this time of year if you are coming over watch the weather as much as you can. I will start to do reports on a more frequently now as I will be on the water most days.
Hutch's Guide Service
I hope every one is having a great Easter. This will be the starting report of the 2016 season and thru March I will do around one a week going to every three days in April. For most fishermen it is still real early in the year and most boats that are out (more than normal) are in state anglers that are able to fish when they see the weather is good. The bite has been good on Sharpe with catching a lot of under 15 inch fish needed to fill out limits but most boats going out are producing limits. The ratio of male /female fish is still heavy on female's full of eggs so if that bothers you wait just a couple of weeks until the males start milking. The females go off bite during the spawn for the most part so most of the fish that you catch (Males) are not going to hurt the future fishery as much. Jig fishing with minnows/gulp is the most common method right now however some days pulling plugs is putting fish in the boat. Northern fishing has been very good on Oahe with either going after them with boats or bank fishing using Pike rigs and smelt. Haven't heard much about a walleye bite on Oahe but that is due to not many anglers after them. All in all the over all report is that for the average fisherman it is still to early. April is just around the corner so fishing and weather should start improving daily. Just remember that all of the trips in the next month or so are going to be weather orientated. It looks like another great season coming up with plenty of fish around and the water levels are good.
I will have my BOOTH and be at the OMAHA SPORTS AND TRAVEL SHOW starting this THURSDAY and going thru SUNDAY the 24th to the 28th February so if you are in the area attending the show stop by my booth and visit about the upcoming season.
Now until Sunday. Booth 8 right inside front door to show.
I am doing sports shows so I have not been around the water in Pierre but from what I hear not a lot going on in Pierre with the ice fishing (open water around dam) mostly north of Pierre and only die hard fishermen going out below the dam. Those who are out on the nice weather days are getting walleye to eat for supper jigging or pulling plugs. I also see they have put gravel on the city ramp in Ft. Pierre. I will have my BOOTH and be doing SEMINARS at the RAPID CITY SHOW on the 12th, 13th and 14th of February so if you are in the area or going to the show stop by my booth to visit or come to one of my seminar's to catch any new info I have on Oahe/Sharpe fishing around the Pierre area and any new tactics that seem to be working to catch the fish.
I will have my booth at the RIVER CITY HUNTING AND FISHING EXPO AT THE MID AMERICA CENTER this week end JANUARY 15th 16th and 17th 2016. I will also be doing daily seminars on the up coming season on OAHE/SHARPE WALLEYE FISHING in SOUTH DAKOTA. This is always a great show with free parking and easy access in COUNCIL BLUFFS IOWA. For more info go to their web site www.rivercityexpo.com
Hutch's Guide Service
HAPPY NEW YEAR AND SPORTS SHOW/SEMINAR SCHEDULE FOR 2016
I will be doing SEMINARS about walleye fishing on the Missouri river reservoirs (specifically on Lake's Oahe/Sharpe) and will have my BOOTH at the DES MOINES IOWA BOAT AND TRAVEL SHOW JAN 8TH 9TH AND 10TH. The following weekend I will be doing WALLEYE SEMINARS and have my BOOTH at the MID AMERICAN CENTER IN COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA JAN 15TH 16TH AND 17TH and in FEBRUARY I will be at and have my booth at the OMAHA BOAT SPORTS AND TRAVEL SHOW on the 25th, 26th, 27th and the 28th of February. I haven't finalized plans for the Rapid City Show yet but if I do it I will post that after the 1st. If you are in the area kicking tires (boat) stop in and see me. I hope all of you had a great Christmas and wish all of you a HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Hutch's Guide Service
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