Bernie’s Fort Peck Fishing Report

2018 Fishing reports

 WALLEYE SEASON SUMMARYS

                                                   2017 2016 2015 2014
Walleyes > 1 pound                       564 524 1,255 1,148
Walleyes < 1 pound                       225 265 205 131
Total Pounds                                 1319 1,216 1,991 2,874
Average in Pounds                       2.33 1.82 1.61 2.50
Hours                                              604 664 684 717
Walleye per Hour                          1.31 1.19 1.84 1.60
10 pound plus                                      5 4 4 5

Other year statistics back to 2001 are found on the Bernie’s Catch Statistics Page.

Fort Peck Reservoir in 2017 was good but not as good as 2014.  The number of walleyes over one pound, total pounds walleyes average weight and walleyes per hour, increased while walleyes under a pound decreased.The number of walleyes over 10 pounds increased by one over last year. one of these over 10 was a 33.75″. 15.80 pounder that is the biggest walleye that has ever been caught in any of my boats.

What does all this mean? There is allot of fish available, their size has increased because of a strong age class or two have moved into the catchable sizes, and the amount of effort to catch them is decreasing.   As many of you know you had to sort through allot of walleyes for that nice limit!

The number of bigger smallmouth bass was considerable more compared to 2014 for 3 to 4, 4 to 5, and 5 pound and greater.  Thirty-eight smallmouths between 3 and 4 pounds in 2016 and 34 in 2017 a decrease of 4, eight between 4 and 5 pounds in 2016  with 18 in 2017 an increase of 10  and 3 that were 5 to 6 pounds in 2016 while 2017 had 2, 1 less than previous year.

The number of northern pike 40” and greater was up two from the previous year, which was considerably more than 2014.  Thirteen northern pike that were between 40” and a 43” were caught in 2017.  These pike were 18 to 23 pounds depending on when they were caught.  

The number of ten pound or better walleye was the same as the previous year but is low compared to the early trolling years. The biggest walleye was thebiggest walleye that has ever been caught in my boat it was 3.75″ and 15.80 pounds.   Big fish numbers are mostly a cause of how a person fishes. As I’ve said before vertical jigging is the slowest method while bottom bouncer and pitching jigs is intermediate and trolling crankbaits is the fastest method. At times it is best to cover as much water as you can. 

It has been good fishing for the last 5 years and should continue to be good for at least another two or three years.

GOOD LUCK IN YOUR FISHING ! ! !

FISHING SEASON STARTS

3/5/2018 through 3/24/2018

Fishing season started early in Venice, Louisiana with Monte Reder and myself meeting Tom Childress there.  We fished two days for redfish and caught allot and several were big.  I also caught a 12 pound blue catfish, a new fish to the life list.

We then move to Florida first we went to Everglade City and Chokolokee to try for snook and tarpon.  We saw some tarpon roll but could not get a hook in front and had a snook hit the bait and run hard then drop the hook.  We caught allot sea trout and some redfish and black drum.  Monte caught a pompano which was excellent eating.

After two days there we headed to the jungle West Palm Beach and Little Havana in Miami to chase peacock bass. We did poorly at West Palm Beach one peacock bass and a knife clown fish.  The knife clown fish was very hard to net they can swim backward. We also saw a 4 foot python resting on PVC pipe used to irrigate the yards.  In the Little Havana area of Miami we caught several peacock bass and some largemouth bass.  After this Monte headed to the in-laws and Tom headed home to rest up. 

I headed south to Key Largo to fish with a friend Bob Quick.  The first day out I caught a bluefish new to the life list, and we quit, the wind blew us off.  The second days was something else.  I had 4 baits cut in half by barracudas, 4 or 5 baits run off with and dropped by the sailfish when the bail was closed and watched 3 sailfish slashing with the bills and grabbing the bait but they all threw the bait after jumping out of the water.  Twice we had doubles taking line out and didn’t get a fish hooked.  With all this it still was a great day. 

After Key Largo I headed north and met Tom and fished Oscars and Mayan Cichlids while fishing for these I also caught a warmouth, redeared sunfish “shellcracker”, and a chain pickerel all new for the life list.  It was a great trip and best of all it was WARM!!

May 8 & 9, 2018

I fished with Don Childress of Helena, MT.  He caught 19 fish in 2 days of fishing.  The fish were a catfish, a freshwater drum, 4 walleye, 5 northern pike and 8 smallmouth bass.  The big fish was a 19″, 4.5 pound smallmouth bass.

May 10 & 11, 2018

Roy Morris and Mark Thompson of Butte, MT and Todd Steadman of Miles City, MT fished with me.  In two days they caught 25 fish that included  a drum, a sauger, 2 perch, 6 northern pike, 6 walleye and 9 smallmouth bass.  The big walleyes were Todd’s 29.75″, 10.52 pound and a 26.25″, 7 pound.  The big northern pike were 36″ & 37″, 13 to 15 pounders while the big smallmouth bass were a 18″, 4 pound and 18.5″, 4.5 pound. 

May 16 & 17, 2018

A. Dood and Keith Anne of Bozeman of Bozeman, MT fished with me.  In the two days they caught 61 fish that were 13 northern pike, 20 smallmouth bass and 28 walleye.  The big fish a 27.5″, 8 pound walleye, three smallmouth bass 18.5″, 4 to 4.5 pound and a 39″, 18 pound northern pike.

The walleye bite has been surprising good for this early in the season and the big smallmouth bass are also biting well.  Between Matt and me we have four 10 pound walleyes.

5/22/2018

I fished with Jim Wilson of Livingston, MT.  It was a slow day he caught 13 fish that included a drum, 2 northern pike, 2 smallmouth bass and 8 walleyes.  Big fish was a 17″, 3 pound smallmouth bass.

5/23/2018

Guy Fairchild of Jordan, MT fished with me, we had a good day.  We caught 35 fish that were a crappie, 6 northern pike, 9 smallmouth bass and 19 walleye.  The big fish were a 18.5″, 4.5 pound smallmouth bass and a 37″, 15 pound northern pike.

May 25, 2018

I fished with Cliff Mitchell and Ty Linger both of Miles City, MT.  This was a free trip that the Miles City Walleyes Unlimited sponsor’s and give to a past Military serviceman, Cliff served in the US Navy.  THANKS Cliff!!  These guys caught 27 fish that were a perch, 4 northern pike, 6 smallmouth bass, and 16 walleye.  The big fish were a 18″, 4 pound and 18.5″, 4.5 pound smallmouth bass, and a 23.5″, 5 pound, 24.5″, 6 pound and a 30.25″, 11 pound walleyes.

Well the race is on Matt and I have caught 6, 10 pound or better walleyes and Matt has caught 4, he’s making me work!

May 29, 2018

I fished with Mike Bricco, Sterling West and Kevin Sept all of Miles City, MT.  They had a great day of fishing catching 38 fish that were a crappie, 7 northern pike, 8 smallmouth bass and 22 walleye.  The big fish were three 18.5″, 4.5 pound smallmouth bass, a 38″, 18 pound northern pike, and a 28.5″, 9 pound walleye, this fish probably weighted more, she still had the eggs and probably was 10 pounds.  They also had 27″, 7.5 pound, and a 24″, 5 pound walleyes along with several over 20″.

May 30, 31, June 1, 2018

I fished with Willard Patrick of Helena, MT and R. J. Van Den Mallie of Jacksonville, FL.  In three days of fishing they caught 57 fish which were a 12 pound catfish, a crappie, 12 smallmouth bass 13 northern pike and 20 walleye.  The big were a 18″ and 18.5″, 4 and 4.5 pound smallmouth bass and a 26″, 6.75 pound, two 27″, 7.5 pound and a 28.5″, 9 pound walleyes.  In 24 years of guiding no one had ever fallen out of the boat however a person from Helena had to be the first to take the plunge.

June 2, 2018 

Scot and Vickie Brown of Circle, MT fished with me. It was a poor  day except for two fish.  They only caught 10 fish that were 2 smallmouth bass, 3 walleye and 5 northern pike.  The big fish were a 17.5″, 4 pound, and a 29.5″, 10.25 pound walleye.

June 3, 2018

My client didn’t come on the right days so I fished with a friend, Vic Riggs of Miles City, MT.  We caught 27 fish that were that were 4 smallmouth bass, 6 northern pike and 17 walleyes.  The big fish were two 24″, 5 pound and two 25″, 6 pound walleyes.

The war of the 10 pounder plus walleyes is getting closer. I got 1 during the week, so Matt has 4 and I have 3.

June 6 & 7, 2018

Mike Bricco and Sterling West of Miles City, MT fished with me.  In two days of fishing they got 95 fish that were a perch, 13 northern pike, 17 smallmouth bass and 64 walleye.  Their big fish were a 41″, 20 pound northern pike and a 26″, 6.5 pound, 27″, 7.5 pound, 28″, 8.5 pound and a 29″, 9.5 pound walleyes.

June 8, 2018

Charle Bocock and Cheryl Reichart of Great Fall, MT fished with me and caught 16 fish that were 2 crappie, 3 northern pike, 5 walleye and 6 smallmouth bass.  The big fish was a 17″, 3 pound bass.

June 9, 10 & 11, 2018

I fished with Bob Correa and Jerry Awe for three days.  Their catch was 48 fish that were 15 northern pike, 18 walleyes and 24 smallmouth bass.  The big fish were two 18″, 4 pound and a 18.5″, 4.5 pound smallmouth bass, a 29″, 9.5 pound walleye and a 39″, 19 pound northern pike,