Kit’s Tackle, of Helena, MT had a couple great days fishing Fort Peck Reservoir. Here is their report:
I have been home for a couple days now from Fort Peck and am still waking up at night setting the hook in huge walleyes and Northern Pike. My friend, Jim Muscat, and I traveled to the Nelson Creek recreational area on the Big Dry Arm section of Fort Peck to chase the post spawn walleye bite. This being an early spring, we didn’t have to go far from the ramp to find water temps in the mid-fifties. With the song of the meadowlark resonating though the air, we found our sea legs and started to hit fish.
Fort Peck is such a unique lake in that the walleye make a huge migration back to the main lake after the spawn. This migration is set in place by the Cisco which are a pelagic baitfish (meaning they fluctuate throughout the water column.) Most walleye this time of year are headed for the deep main lake basins to forage heavily on Cisco. As many of you know, the water levels on Fort Peck have raised drastically over the last few years creating an estuary spawning ground for its inhabitants including baitfish. With the increased number of baitfish and flooded structure we focused our jigging around the McGuire Creek area of the dry arm. This was a great bonus for us only having to run a couple miles from the Nelson Creek ramp…especially with the cost of fuel!!!
The first thing I want to point out is that getting bit by any species of fish is just plain fun. The northern pike population in the section of the lake has exploded making a SUPER fun day of fishing in my book!
We landed close to forty northern pike a day with a few surpassing ten pounds and a whopper 40 inch eighteen pound gator. We caught some great smallmouth bass and let me tell you, there is millions of nice Yellow Perch EVERYWHERE (bring lots of extra bait.) Along with the other species, we had a true day of “JIGGIN’ THE DREAM” for monster walleye. In one day, we boated three walleye over 30 inches and another half dozen between 22-28 inches. Its days like this that makes up for the tough days with no fish and nasty weather. Speaking of weather, we planned our trip for four days of fishing and only got to fish a day and a half. This is typical spring Fort Peck conditions so be prepared for the worst. I would highly recommend taking at least three days if making the trip to Fort Peck due to the DAMN wind!!!
Kit’s Tackle’s Tips and Techniques for Post Spawn Fort Peck Walleye:
1.) Jigging: With the overwhelming number of yellow perch live baiting (rigging) was almost impossible. We had ten inch perch engulfing five inch shiner minnows. If your presentation got any deeper than 12 feet you were getting nailed by Perch. This actually worked out great for us being jig fisherman. With the warming water temps we found the fish (walleye and pike) VERY shallow so pitch your jig right up on shore. I would say most of our quality fish came from 2-12 feet of water. We were jigging aggressively and they were hitting like a freight train which is unorthodox of the typical walleye.
2.) Catch and Release: Just too mentally prepare yourself; there is a great shot at a world class fish this time of year in the Dry Arm of Fort Peck. If you do catch a giant please think about preserving the fishery and letting her back into the blue waters of Fort Peck. The primary spawning fish are 20+ inches so if you want to keep a few for the table the 16-20 inchers make great fare.
Kit’s Tackle Recommendations:
The Glass Minnow Series “Yellow Perch” out fished everything and everyone!!! The Yellow Perch Colored Glass Minnow is such a realistic representation of natural forage they were smashing it. Every fish we caught on the Glass Minnows were hooked inside the mouth with nothing but line coming out. To purchase the glass minnows please visit our website:
We were tipping the Glass Minnows with a 2.5 inch smelt colored Berkley Gulp Minnow. The photo shows how realistic the Yellow Perch Glass Minnows really are.
Watch us release some huge walleye and pike from our trip. Below are a videos from Kit’s Tackle’s YouTube channel from the trip: