I made it out to my hometown of Fort Pierre over the weekend and got to spend some time on the water with some family.
Sunday evening I went out with my dad and niece Taran. We were pulling plugs near Farm Island and had just boated a little walleye when the lightning siren went off at the nearby golf course. So we scooted to shore and spent some quality time in the bathroom avoiding the rain. When the rain let up we ran up the river north of the bridges to avoid some dark clouds south of town. I started to run the cranks back out when I felt a zap of static on the rod I was holding. That was a little scary so we headed in for the evening.
The next morning I went out on my own and headed to Farm Island again. I was pulling cranks in about 13 FOW right along the sand bar and weed beds and caught two walleyes and a smallie. I fished for about an hour and then headed back to the Bad River to pick up my youngest brother Clay, his wife Kris, and daughter Taran.
We started drifting the bluffs below the fairgrounds with bottom bouncers, crawlers, and leeches. We picked up a few in 6-10 FOW but when we moved out to 12-14 the fish really started going. We boated about a dozen shorties but were getting beat up by the wind and wake of pleasure boaters so headed down stream to Farm Island again. Within a minute of dropping our lines we had two fish on and then proceeded to catch one every 2-3 minutes. We found fish everywhere but had the most success right at the first 8-13 foot drop.
Leeches had been working real well earlier in the week, but for some reason crawlers were the ticket on this trip. We were dragging half crawlers on a 6 foot leader with a 1.5 or 2 oz bottom bouncer. With so many lines hanging out of the boat the heavier weights kept tangles with one another to a minimum. Later in the day I started using Gulp 6″ nightcrawlers (natural earthworm color) and found that they worked just as well and actually caught bigger fish. Plus, it was nice to not have to re-bait so often. I’m guessing that we caught 30 fish between 10 and 2 p.m. with 6 of them being over 15″. We caught a lot of 13-15″ fish.
Taran (age 9) had a great time and she is quite the angler. She needed a little help baiting her hook, but other than that, she was on her own and cranked in a lot of our fish. She did catch the biggest one of the day (about 18.5).
I went back out later that evening with Pops to pull some cranks off Beaver Island and we caught a few decent fish (17″ or so). Fire-craw and hot perch JSR’s were the successful cranks.
It was a great day on the water. Catching fish is a lot of fun, but doing it with family members certainly is a big bonus. After we got off the water we headed home to a great meal of some fat grilled porkchops, burgers, baked beans, potato salad, twice baked taters, and some cold Bud Light. Nothing like home cooking from Mom!
This time of the year, Oahe often gets all of the attention for walleyes. Don’t overlook Sharpe! You can catch a lot of fish (perfect eating size) and avoid a lot of the traffic found on Oahe.