SD0620133 Fabulous Fishing

The sun is just starting to pop over the horizon line. There’s breakfast to be made, gear to organize, a boat to get into, and fish to catch.  The group of guys is up as well.  They have a couple nice boats along. Early fishing is usually pretty good. We are all darting about to get to the launch as soon as possible.

JimmyK motions me to get in to the truck.  The dogs are fed, peed, and all set for a relaxing day in the Toy Hauler, and we’re off.

There was a big fishing tournament here a few weeks ago.  One of the interesting things about the Mobridge area is how it can flux from desolate and barren to hopping with action in a matter of a day.  I prefer the desolate version, and we are basically back to that now.

The only access to Lake Oahe here is via the Indian Reservation. Virtually all of the land along the lake is comprised of huge acreages owned by private ranchers and farmers, or it’s Reservation Land. Occasionally a herd of cows or horses can be seen along the water’s edge, or atop the high cliffs along the water.  Even the most creative architect would be hard pressed to find a way around the current access situation. We pull into the Reservation gas station and bait store, fill the gas tanks, secure the required daily parking permit, then get across the road to drop boats in the water.

The wind can get whipping, but it’s fairly still now.  That could be another story once we get to our destination.  The boat ride to our hot spot is about 30 minutes.  We pass under the main highway bridge, and the cross street that heads to the launch.  There are a few cars parked close to the water’s edge; a few people already set up in their lawn chairs, shore fishing.  No doubt locals that have found ways to meander down to the shoreline; which some say is just as good fishing. 

Once we come around the corner past the last of the bridges, we get the full story.  Wind.  Waves.  Whitecaps.  The view is one of desolate beauty.  Open country, deadwood, sand ledges, green patches and prairie as far as the eye can see.  The countryside seems to be all ours.  No other life is visible. The water seems to be all ours.  No other boats are visible. It’s mighty wavy out here.

But I’ve seen worse…..we press on, slapping against waves hard as rock, and soon, we are into a better, calmer spot.  We slow to a troll.  Lines in!  Let’s fish!

In a matter of minutes it’s ‘roll up the sleeves and work’; fish after fish after fish on line, worm after worm after worm.  Everyone fishes two poles.  Four people to a boat. Skipper Jacks are hitting hard.  Drum fish, too.  A few Walleyes here and there.  Six hours of constant action, just not exactly the most preferred action.  But hey, catching fish is fun no matter what kind they are, right?  Everyone is having a blast. Then we hit a Walleye hot spot.  Eater after eater is pulled in. Now where’s that trophy Walleye?  Not today, but many fish to be caught! Walleye limits are easily filled in these great waters, with plenty of fish to spare for dinner.  We reel fish to the boat until our arms are sore.

The sun is telling us it’s time to pack it up and turn back.  Again as we come around the corner we hit the “full story”, only we are against the wind this time.  Hanging on is somewhat challenging as we pound across the whitecaps like a mallet beating a drum.  “Slap! Slap! Slap!” we hit the water hard with each wave.  It vibrates into our core, every slap.  But as we are bouncing along, hanging on for dear life, we laugh with reckless abandon. 

It’s been a good day of fishing.

As for the next day?  An exciting repeat of first day!

And the next day?  Heck, yes, another repeat!

And the next day?  Hmmmm, not so much of a repeat.

The wind has finally left the area.  The water is flat as glass.  There is not even one cloud in the sky.  The fish have disappeared.  Sunscreen, water and patience, not necessarily in that order, are pivotal for getting through a day like this. 

“What’s the deal?  Where are the fish?” All eyes seem to automatically turn to the guide for every less than perfect moment.  JimmyK is the best there is.  But even he cannot guarantee 100% action 100% of the time.  It’s a long bunch of hot sweaty hours sitting in the boat.  A bite here, a bite there, but nothing is making it to the boat. Sandwiches are gone, water is going fast, and our baking bodies are drenched with SPF 70. 

Where are the fish?

We buzz up another couple miles north and try there.  Same situation–nothing.  We fish shallow.  We fish deep, go back and forth in all of the best spots, then, suddenly on the next pass through, it’s fish on!

Again, Skipper Jacks start hitting hard.  Drum fish, too.  Then we hit the Walleye hot spot.  Eater after eater is pulled in. Still no trophy.  Two hours of action, forgetting all about the last five hours of nada.  Once again, we bait hooks and reel fish to the boat until our arms are sore, and fill angler limits with fish to spare for dinner. Once again, JimmyK is amazing.

The sun has passed over the top and is halfway to the horizon; our signal it’s time to head back to shore.

The ride back is a comfortable trip minus back breaking waves for a change. Not a bad day of fishing after all.  Nothing beats a fishing trip with fresh Walleye dinners, limits of fish to bring home, and great stories to tell.  Everyone agrees it’s been an awesome experience.  Cheers!  We pull into camp to find the new group eagerly waiting to hear about our day on the great Lake Oahe. 

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