Dakota Country Magazine October 2016 Edition - Page 25

forage fish, including spot-tailed shiners, cisco, young perch and whitefish. The latter, stocked only a couple of times several years ago, has suddenly seen a surge in reproduction, and it has some biologists scratching their heads for answers. Nevertheless, they’re happy with it. For the first time in several years, anglers are actually catching perch in Lake Sakakawea, some measuring more than 10-11 inches in length. However, high populations of smaller fish are evident, having spawned successfully at least one year with the rising water. Perch, officials are quick to point out, are a very attractive forage base for predator fish. In addition to that, rainbow smelt, longtime mainstay forage in Sakakawea, have had no known problems for a couple of years and officials are hoping they pulled off a successful spawn last spring. They’ll know for sure when they conduct young-of-the-year test-netting operations during September. A rainbow smelt will grow about three inches its first year, with an average life spawn of about four years. Fisheries biologist Greg Power expressed amazement at the number of young fish in both Sakakawea and Audubon this summer, citing the flooded vegetation as nearly perfect habitat for spawning fish. In fact, Power says, in seine net testing near Williston earlier this summer, they captured 17 species of fish, and 14 of those were young-of-the-year. “There’s lots of those little fish in the system right now,” he says. “They’re just everywhere.” That, of course, speaks well for the future of the big lake and officials continue to remain optimistic about growth of predator fish, especially walleyes, in the next few years. Actually, good growth rates have begun already this year, with frequent catches of 3-4 lb. walleyes noted in the Van Hook Arm this summer. Fisheries biologists are gearing up to begin netting operations in September to determine the reproductive success (of lack of) forage fish in lakes Sakakawea and Audubon, among others. Those results will go a long way in telling them what direction the lake is headed. • www.dakotacountrymagazine.com Enjoy the Finest Lodging in the Area! Built Specifically for Hunters & Fishermen! Bayside Property Rentals Awesome Views of Lake Sakakawea! Fantastic Hunting & Fishing Opportunities outside your front door! Very Clean Lodging! • Exceptionally Large Kitchens • Laundry, A/C & Heat, Dishwasher & Stove, Coffee • Bathrooms, Living Rooms, Bedrooms, Flat Screen TVs! • Door Front Parking, Boat Parking, Outside Electric Plug-ins & Dog Kennels! South of Garrison, North Dakota on County Road 15 (701) 337-5169 Daily & Weekly Rates Call for Reservations Centrally located on Lake Sakakawea's North Side! Head For The HILLS! We Offer... GREAT HUNTING ON GREAT LAND! Open thru December 2016! Excellent Hunting Opportunities on Excellent Land for Upland and Waterfowl! WE OFFER SOME OF THE BEST LODGING ON LAKE SAKAKAWEA! • Quiet, Beautiful Campgrounds • Rural Water Sites • Many Primitive Sites • Large, Drive-thru Sites 30/50amp • Shower House & Picinic Shelters Open thru Fall offering Fantastic Hunting! 6 miles of hiking/biking trails • Fishing Guide Service View Availability & Book On-line! Call Kelly at (701) 743-4122. Subscribe to Weekly Fishing Reports & On-Line Reservations: www.FishIndianHills.com Dakota Country, October 2016, Page 25