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Missouri River Fishing Report

by Jon Mitzel

  (Photo Caption: Ryan Ehrmantraut with a jumbo walleye taken on the Missouri River near Bismarck this spring.)

The chilly waters of the Missouri River have been open for a few weeks now and anglers are taking advantage of nice weather days and getting on the water.

  However, it’s the number of anglers that is astonishing. Hazelton and the Rifle Range boat ramps are popular fishing locations especially during this stage of the season and are seeing plenty of activity right now.

  And it seems there are no secret spots on the river either. You can travel up and down the river and see boats to your right and boats to your left. If you’re not familiar with navigating or locating fishing spots on the Missouri River you can do so now and basically follow the boats and slide into spots where other boats are fishing.

  Although angler pressure is heavy right now... the walleye bite remains slow for most anglers. However, some anglers are reporting good succes from time to time. Right now, you can expect to catch a couple fish here and there, but some guys are catching big females and some are bringing in solid limits... so there’s good potential right now.

  As far as tactics go... a jig and a minnow are tough to beat this time of the year. In fact, right now, the two tactics you may want to focus on are jigging and cranking. There’s a lot of anglers working the shallow sandbars for fish, but it seems those anglers are not having as much success as the guys fishing a bit deeper in that 8 to 12 foot range.

  Jig colors that seem to be producing right now are pink and white. The water color is good and visibility is just about two feet. The water level is slightly lower than last fall with many sandbars and tree stumps exposed throughout the system. Some areas of the river north of Bismarck/Mandan are completely un-navigatable.