A day on the water

by Justin Larson on July 22, 2013 · 0 comments

This past week I was fortunate to spend a day on Lake Oahe with a great friend and local guide, Paul Steffen. The fishing along Lake Oahe has been phenomenal all spring and early summer but within the last two weeks the bite has slowed quite a bit. So I decided I needed to go out and get a fishing report for myself.

We took off from West Shore boat ramp, located just north of Pierre, and headed toward the Peoria Flats area. Peoria is full of underwater trees and exposed tree tops. With bait fish swarming to areas similar to this it is usually a great place to find some nice walleye hanging out. Last year this was maybe the most heavily fished area on the lake but with the water being down a bit this year, it hasn’t had near the fishing pressure from the anglers.

Our first tactic we wanted to try was to pull spinner blades under planer boards, roughly 10ft under water so the spinner blades were running right at the tree tops or just above them. We tipped the spinner blades with a night crawler or leech and trolled anywhere from 1.3 mph to 1.5 mph. It wasn’t long and we had our first bite, unfortunately it was a smallmouth bass. Always fun to catch but on this day we were targeting walleye. We continued on and picked up a handful of walleye and several bass using this tactic.

As we cruised to our next destination I asked Paul why he thought the fishing has slowed so much in the last two weeks, and he noted that “Fortunately, I think our bait fish are recovering from the flood 2 years ago, as I have been marking a ton more bait fish in the last month.” Steffen also mentioned, “It’s awesome for Lake Oahe so some of these fish can put some much needed weight back on.”

After some “graphing” of a few spots we decided to head back into Chantier Creek and put some crank baits out. We used two 14ft rods with lead core out the side of the boat and two rods spooled with power pro line straight out the back. We used drop weights on the two rods in the back to target the suspended fish. For crank baits we mainly used flicker shad #7’s and huskey jerks, but did have some luck with an orange jointed crank bait. This method was by far our most productive of the day as we picked up 10 or so nice walleye in the couple hours we trolled this area.

We fished a few other spots during the day pitching jigs and vertical jigging as well. These tactics didn’t produce many fish so we stayed with the crank baits in deeper water.

The bite has definitely slowed but we still caught plenty of fish, we just had to move around the lake and work at it. Overall, a great time was had spending time with a good friend and I was even able to bring supper home to momma!


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