Tail race -

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mills's picture
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Tail race -

Finally have a free weekend and my son and I are looking to head fishing somewhere - anywhere.  He likes to throw cranks.  Has anyone fished the tail race this time of year from shore?  Shoot me a PM if you if you can. 

Thanks. 

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Night fishing the rocks on the west side should be good now,   Try # 8 Huskyjerks VERY slow.  Probably best time is about 2 hours before sunrise.

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hardly any walleyes being caught, lots of small pike, an extremely rare big brown trout, and some random drum and carp is about all that is being caught.

out of approximately 25 people one day last week, I saw 1 walleye caught.

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 I actually fished from the rocks on Friday for around 3 hours. Not a single bite. It's slow, really slow.

 

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 The G&F said this past week you will be lucky to catch a limit on the river this year outside of the spawning period.   The tailrace will be substantially down because of the flush the past two years knocking out sandbars, weeds/trees, and most of the forage food the walleyes survived on.   

The biggest fish will be hurt the quickest.   The best opportunities for walleye will be Sakakawea & Audubon.  Don't count on much luck for Oahe and the Garrison reach of the river system.

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I have to dissagree with G-man.  There maybe less structure through bismarck as I have not fished that far south but from Washburn to the tailrace there is as much structure if not more than there was before the big flows.  There will always be fish holding in the tailrace due to the smelt coming through the dam. 

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I have noticed in the last 6 months a drastic decline in the ciscoe that were once almost thick enough to walk accross the river on.  anyone seeing any ciscoes further south.  I havn't seen a single one in the last 3 trips to the tailrace.

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Last year at this time, you could see tens of thousands of ciscos in the Honey Hole area.   A G&F Fisheries biologist told me that he didn't think they would survive in the river, and I guess he was right.   If they would have been able to spawn, it may have been a good substitute forage fish for walleyes to make up for the lost smelt.   I have seen a lot of suckers on the bottom, but no ciscos over the winter.   Walleye fishing this winter was the worst it's been in twenty years.   The fish we catch are decent, but no consistent numbers.

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XERO Said:
Last year at this time, you could see tens of thousands of ciscos in the Honey Hole area.   A G&F Fisheries biologist told me that he didn't think they would survive in the river, and I guess he was right.   If they would have been able to spawn, it may have been a good substitute forage fish for walleyes to make up for the lost smelt.   I have seen a lot of suckers on the bottom, but no ciscos over the winter.   Walleye fishing this winter was the worst it's been in twenty years.   The fish we catch are decent, but no consistent numbers.

I think the massive amounts of fishing pressure the tailrace has seen the last couple years took it's toll as it usually does when it gets really hot every decade or so.  The good news is 99% of them will forget all about the tailrace and leave it open to the rest of us looking for salmon, trout, pike, and the dozens of other species in there.

I havn't been really targeting them, but I havn't caught hardly any walleyes down there this winter.

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Riggen&Jiggen Said:
I have to dissagree with G-man.  There maybe less structure through bismarck as I have not fished that far south but from Washburn to the tailrace there is as much structure if not more than there was before the big flows.  There will always be fish holding in the tailrace due to the smelt coming through the dam. 

I'm just relaying what the G&F Biologist out of Riverdale said this past week.  The walleye you do see in the upper area of the river will be deprived of a good food source and be smaller than any average walleye in the same age bracket.  He said the larger they are will be the first to die off because of the 2011 flush.  

He also said the same thing happened to Oahe and that is why that pond will also suffer (flush of the shad downstream).  Oahe fish population will be low and that is how the Bismarck / Hazelton areas will become lower after the spawn catches.


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At least those jackwagons left some water in Sak. Now I just gotta figure out how to justify hauling the boat there with the increased fuel prices...

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 I heard that they are going to really lower the lake this year so they can fix the spillway gate(s)..... like it's not already very low--1827.4 ft.

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They are also going to be re doing the road that was at the south end of the spillway lake 

measure-it Said:
 I heard that they are going to really lower the lake this year so they can fix the spillway gate(s)..... like it's not already very low--1827.4 ft.

 

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Lycanthrope Said:
At least those jackwagons left some water in Sak. Now I just gotta figure out how to justify hauling the boat there with the increased fuel prices...

You haven't been to the big lake lately.....

Its a shame what they've done to it in this short a period of time.

 

"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the American Government take care of him;better take a closer look at the American Indian."
Henry Ford

 

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taylorman_55 Said:
They are also going to be re doing the road that was at the south end of the spillway lake 

measure-it Said:
 I heard that they are going to really lower the lake this year so they can fix the spillway gate(s)..... like it's not already very low--1827.4 ft.

Taylor,

What do you know about the lake level are they lowering it to work on the dam?

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I have "heard" they are planning on lowering it slightly more . Of course this is rumor mill, but coming from multiple sources in the Pick City/Riverdale area that work at the powerplant on the dam. Seems to me that the way it sits now they could probably work on a few spillway gates! The lake seems pretty damn low right now.    

BAW Said:

taylorman_55 Said:
They are also going to be re doing the road that was at the south end of the spillway lake 

measure-it Said:
 I heard that they are going to really lower the lake this year so they can fix the spillway gate(s)..... like it's not already very low--1827.4 ft.

Taylor,

What do you know about the lake level are they lowering it to work on the dam?

 

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forgive me but I really dont know much about this dam so this might be a dumb question. I havent been across the dam since 2008 and everyone was saying how low the water was. Then in 2011(???) it fills up with the flood (wish I would have drove out to actually see the lake full) but now it is already really low again? This thing fluctuates that fast? Is it as low as it was a few years ago?

Where's my bobber?

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well it was at around 1804 feet above sea level, then filled to around 1854, and now its down in the 1820s.  Pretty crazy fluctuations huh?

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Garrison releases are being reduced from the current 23,000 cfs to 21,000 cfs tomorrow.  They are scheduled to go to 19,000 cfs on Friday, and 17,000 cfs on Sunday, and finally to 15,500 cfs on Tuesday.   That should help stop the bleeding from Sakakawea, and lower the river by a couple of feet.  It remains to be seen if the fishing will improve with the lower releases.

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Reading through this thread, watching Mitchell's vid on Ft Peck lakers and reading this:

http://www.ontariofishing.net/news/feb2007-2.html

--has me wondering if a concerted effort should be made to replace the smelt base with ciscoes in the lake.  I'm sure I'm behind the power curve but still enjoy discussions such as these and additional education.

 

 Nuke the Whales

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"They have an extensive range, they're prolific spawners, and there's even evidence suggesting that ciscoe can and will alter their spawning behaviour to offset factors like shoreline development and dropping water levels. Research on big, Minnesota lakes like Mille Lacs has documented spawners dropping eggs over open water, away from their traditional sandy or gravel shoreline spots."

 Nuke the Whales

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 I remember in other threads how I got blasted about this by others.  Snap!

Dakota G-man Said:
 The G&F said this past week you will be lucky to catch a limit on the river this year outside of the spawning period.   The tailrace will be substantially down because of the flush the past two years knocking out sandbars, weeds/trees, and most of the forage food the walleyes survived on.   

The biggest fish will be hurt the quickest.   The best opportunities for walleye will be Sakakawea & Audubon.  Don't count on much luck for Oahe and the Garrison reach of the river system.


 

 

Kirsch's Outdoor Products | Fargo, ND | 701-261-9017 Garmin GPS Hunting Maps
Liebel's Guide Service | Williston, ND | 701-770-6746 liebelsguideservice.com
Jig-em-Up Guide Service | Grand Forks, ND | 701-739-9198 jig-em-up-guide-service.com

 

 
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To me they seem to grow so dang fast and then not too much will be able to feed on them. I've heard everything else in you're paragraph below so that may offset my question above ,but to me if they load the lake with those things then I want my sucker minnows for bait back 

svnmag Said:
"They have an extensive range, they're prolific spawners, and there's even evidence suggesting that ciscoe can and will alter their spawning behaviour to offset factors like shoreline development and dropping water levels. Research on big, Minnesota lakes like Mille Lacs has documented spawners dropping eggs over open water, away from their traditional sandy or gravel shoreline spots."

Twitch

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I am on twitch's side.  

twitch Said:
To me they seem to grow so dang fast and then not too much will be able to feed on them. I've heard everything else in you're paragraph below so that may offset my question above ,but to me if they load the lake with those things then I want my sucker minnows for bait back 
svnmag Said:
"They have an extensive range, they're prolific spawners, and there's even evidence suggesting that ciscoe can and will alter their spawning behaviour to offset factors like shoreline development and dropping water levels. Research on big, Minnesota lakes like Mille Lacs has documented spawners dropping eggs over open water, away from their traditional sandy or gravel shoreline spots."


 

 

Kirsch's Outdoor Products | Fargo, ND | 701-261-9017 Garmin GPS Hunting Maps
Liebel's Guide Service | Williston, ND | 701-770-6746 liebelsguideservice.com
Jig-em-Up Guide Service | Grand Forks, ND | 701-739-9198 jig-em-up-guide-service.com

 

 
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svnmag Said:
Reading through this thread, watching Mitchell's vid on Ft Peck lakers and reading this:

http://www.ontariofishing.net/news/feb2007-2.html

--has me wondering if a concerted effort should be made to replace the smelt base with ciscoes in the lake.  I'm sure I'm behind the power curve but still enjoy discussions such as these and additional education.

 

There is no effort that can be done by man to improve the current cisco status in that system, they have been in there a long time and have done the best they can.  I don't think they will ever thrive well enough there to become a primary food source and replace the smelt.

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yep oahe will suck this year no fish to be caught.  I hope everyone believes this garbage so i can have the lake to my self

 Adn

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 I'm pretty sure they mean that the walleye will be always feeding this year so great fishing but after they go hungry long enough, there won't be good recruitment in the next year or two class.

KurtR Said:
yep oahe will suck this year no fish to be caught.  I hope everyone believes this garbage so i can have the lake to my self



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I wonder if we could get a G&F guy to explain why Cisco would not make it in Sak.  I know there is some in the lake but not sure of the population.  It is very frustrating to think we have a huge lake like Sak and no one can find a alternative baitfish from smelt.  I would not get to concerned about a baitfish getting too big for fish to eat.  When fishing at Ft. Peck I caught a 13 inch walleye that had a cisco tail hanging out it's mouth.  So I start pulling and the cisco was at least 8 inches.  That is only 5 inches shorter than the walleye.  A few years back up at Grano I was lucky enought to get a 9 1/2 and 11 lb walleye in the same day.  I put them in my live well to take pictures and they both threw up several perch that were 7 to 8 inches.  The 11lber must of threw up at least 6 of them.  I am lucky I weighed it right away because I bet it lost a 1lb throwing up all of those perch.  So for Sak we can't put any shad in it because it ices over in the winter.  The smelt are finicky spawners and can't tollerate warmer temps when the water gets low.  We can't count on perch because of the lack of weed cover and the predators quickly gobble them up.  Is there no baitfish that can make it in Sak?  Seems crazy to me to think that Sak is such a unique body of water that smelt is our only option.  Why not give the excisting cisco population a little help and stock them before they spawn in the fall.  Or at least experiment with other baitfish.  I think our G&F do a pretty good job but when it comes to things like this they are re-active instead of pro-active.  Maybe it is because of all political bull that it takes so long to try something new.  It would be nice to see them grab the bull by the horns and try something innovative for once instead of following the status quo.

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Riggen&Jiggen Said:
I wonder if we could get a G&F guy to explain why Cisco would not make it in Sak.  I know there is some in the lake but not sure of the population.  It is very frustrating to think we have a huge lake like Sak and no one can find a alternative baitfish from smelt.  I would not get to concerned about a baitfish getting too big for fish to eat.  When fishing at Ft. Peck I caught a 13 inch walleye that had a cisco tail hanging out it's mouth.  So I start pulling and the cisco was at least 8 inches.  That is only 5 inches shorter than the walleye.  A few years back up at Grano I was lucky enought to get a 9 1/2 and 11 lb walleye in the same day.  I put them in my live well to take pictures and they both threw up several perch that were 7 to 8 inches.  The 11lber must of threw up at least 6 of them.  I am lucky I weighed it right away because I bet it lost a 1lb throwing up all of those perch.  So for Sak we can't put any shad in it because it ices over in the winter.  The smelt are finicky spawners and can't tollerate warmer temps when the water gets low.  We can't count on perch because of the lack of weed cover and the predators quickly gobble them up.  Is there no baitfish that can make it in Sak?  Seems crazy to me to think that Sak is such a unique body of water that smelt is our only option.  Why not give the excisting cisco population a little help and stock them before they spawn in the fall.  Or at least experiment with other baitfish.  I think our G&F do a pretty good job but when it comes to things like this they are re-active instead of pro-active.  Maybe it is because of all political bull that it takes so long to try something new.  It would be nice to see them grab the bull by the horns and try something innovative for once instead of following the status quo.

just like smelt and shad, cisco have their kryptonite and achilles heels as well.  cisco do pretty good in sakakawea and there are lots of them, but I don't think they are as prolific of a spawner as the smelt.  smelt can go from 10 fish, to 10 million in a shorth amount of time, where as the cisco may only go from 10 to 10 thousand.

another thing you have to remember is we are artificially increasing the biomass of a system beyond what it should be able to support, and compared to how many fish would be available for angling if we simply left the management to mother nature, I think its done pretty good so far. 

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so will  I be able to hammer 20" eyes all day in my boat this spring on the river or not? Thats the only question I have. ha

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only 18-19 inchers. Sorry.  

bowhunter_24 Said:
so will  I be able to hammer 20" eyes all day in my boat this spring on the river or not? Thats the only question I have. ha

 

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