DAKOTA REPORT: Missouri River Fishing Report

by Justin Larson

5113 - Justin Larson Sunset

Thatching my yard one day and shoveling a foot of snow out of my driveway the next. Yep, South Dakota spring is here! Although the moisture is welcomed with open arms, I wouldn’t mind a little bit of a break from the weather to sneak out and try to catch a spring walleye.  The good news is, it appears warmer temps are on the way and anglers from around the country will be enjoying hot summer days casting for trophy fish in South Dakota. Here is the latest fishing report from the Missouri River Reservoir system:

Above Oahe Dam sits Lake Oahe Reservoir and South Dakota Game Fish and Parks fish biologist, Mark Fincel says, “Lake Oahe is more dependent on reservoir elevation particularly for rainbow smelt, the primary food source for Lake Oahe sport fish. This latest spring snow storm may hopefully help produce a rising reservoir elevation that benefits most species in the Lake.” Lake Oahe has recorded a close to record harvest of walleye the past couple of years and this year should be no different.

The Cabela’s Master Walleye Circuit will be coming back to Lake Oahe this summer. June 7-8 the tournament will be headquartered out of Spring Creek Reservoir. More than $50,000 in cash and prizes were awarded at last year’s event. Don’t miss out on a chance to fish against the pros. You can register here www.masterswalleyecircuit.com

Fincel, says, “Lake Sharpe walleye recruitment is expected to be good as the water levels are the most stable throughout the reservoir system and is coming off the second highest Gizzard Shad reproduction on record.” With plenty of bait fish in the system anglers should expect great fishing all along Lake Sharpe this spring and summer.  I must say the small mouth bass population is booming in Lake Sharpe as well. It was not uncommon to catch multiple 3-4 pound “smallies” last summer.

Lake St. Francis Case is also dependent on water levels and Fincel states, “The spawn outlook is very unpredictable until we know what the water levels will be later this spring.”  However, anglers should experience great fishing this year. Speaking with anglers that participated in The Fishing Crew Team Tournament Trail on Lake St. Francis Case this past weekend was great. Although the weather was well below average the walleye that were caught were healthy and active. All the fish were released back into the reservoir to preserve the spring spawn.

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