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.

The war of the 10’s has moved to 5 for Matt and 3 for me. I’m going to have to get busy.

June 15, 2018

I fished with Sterling West of Miles City, MTand his daughter Missy,  her daughter Hayley and Wyatt Hir and they caught 19 fish. The fish were 4 northern pike, 5 smallmouth bass and 10 walleye.  The big fish were a 18″, 4 pound smallmouth bass, and a 27.5″, 7.5 pound walleye.

June 16, 2018

Carey and Brandon Pope of Billings, MT fished with me.  The rain got the best of them only catching 7 fish that were 2 smallmouth bass, 2 walleye, and 3 northern pike.

June 17, 2018

Fished with Larrel Berg, Mike Humphery and Ron LaCornt of Minot, ND.  They caught 13 fish that were 3 smallmouth bass, 5 northern pike, and 5 walleye.  The big fish was a 26.5″, 6.5 pound walleye and 36″ northern pike.

June 18, 2018

Chase and Krissy Yerger and Phil and Jamie Brewer of Miles City, MT fished with me.  They caught 21 fish that were 5 northern pike, 7 smallmouth bass, and 9 walleye.  The big fish was a 18″, 3.75 pound smallmouth bass.

June 19, 2018

I fished with Warren and Sheri Thompson and Larry Haga of North Bend, OR.  They caught 12 fish that were 3 smallmouth bass, 4 walleye, and 5 northern pike.  The big fish was a 32″, 10 pound northern pike.

June 20, 2018

Guy Fairchild and his daughters Sophie and Morgan fished with me and caught 11 fish that were 5 smallmouth bass and 6 northern pike.  The big fish were three 17″, 3 pound smallmouth bass.

June 21, 22, 23, 2018

I fished with Mark Beasland, Terry Patrick and Dirk Peterson of WI.  In three days of fishing they caught 75 fish that were 18 smallmouth bass, 18 walleye, and 39 northern pike.  The big fish were a 20″, 5 pound smallmouth bass, a 29.5″, 10.25 pound walleye, and a 42″, 22 pound northern pike.

June 24 & 25,2018

Levi and Gunner Ravoy and Larry Holland of Raymond, AB fished with me.  The reason these Canadian’s fished with me is so they could keep the fish. Where they fish they can’t keep walleye under 23″, and can’t keep ANY northern pike.  In two days of fishing they caught 55 fish that were a sauger, 2 perch, 2 crappies, 14 walleyes, 16 smallmouth bass 20 northern pike.  The big fish a 25″, 6 pound walleye and a 36″, 14 pound northern pike. 

The score of the 10’s has changed to 5 for Matt and 4 for me. I need another to catch up!!

6/28/2018

I fished with Dave Hopkins of Kaslof,  AK and Steve Caudill and Don Johnson of Kalispill, MT.  They caught 32 fish that included a drum, 2 northern pike, 6 smallmouth bass, 9 walleyes and 14 perch.  

6/29/2018

Marvin and Kathy Hanson of Kalispill, MT and Ray and Karin Poston of Big Fork, MT fished with me.  It was a poor day fishing in the rain, they caught 10 fish that were 1 northern pike, 2 carp, 3 perch and 4 smallmouth bass.

6/30/2018

Jake Klamm, Mark Wiedeman and Troy Buness all of Miles City fished with me.  They had a good day catching 24 fish that were 2 perch, 4 smallmouth bass, 6 northern pike, and 12 walleye.  The big fish were a 24″, 5 pound, 26″, 7 pound and a 28″, 9 pound walleye.

7/1/2018

I fished with Darrel Pistorius, Hal Hedges of Billings, MT and Deb and Tim Walker of Great Falls, MT.  It was a slow day in the wind and rain showers.  They caught 6 fish that were 2 walleyes and 4 northern pike.  The big fish was a 37″, 16 pound northern pike.

7/2 & 3/2018

Rick and Karen Plagmann and their son Nate fished with me.  In two days of fishing they caught 44 fish that were 3 drum, 7 smallmouth bass, 9 perch, 12 northern pike and 13 walleye.  Their big fish were a 37″, 15 pound; 38″, 17 pound and a 30.25″ , 11 [pound walleye.

Well the battle of the 10’s is tied up and 5 each.  The young guide has made me work which has been good!!

7/6 &7/2018

Monte and Linda Reder  of Miles City, MT fished with me and in two days caught 40 fish.  The fish were 2 perch, 4 crappie, 6 northern pike, 12 smallmouth bass and 16 walleye. The big fish were a 27.25″, 8 pound walleye and a 43″, 25 pound northern pike.

7/8, 9 & 10/2018

Kip Dean and Dan Tays of Fort Smith, MT and Sheridan, WY respectively fished with me.  In three days of fishing thet caught 79 fish.  The fish were 1 sauger, 2 freshwater drum, 5 crappie, 10 northern pike, 14 smallmouth bass and 27 walleye.  Their big fish were a 23″, 4 pound sauger, a 26″, 7 pound walleye and 19″, a 4.5 pound smallmouth bass.  Kip got his “FORT PECK SLAM” on the last day which is a smallmouth bass, a walleye and a northern pike all on a fly rod in one day.  In the three days Kip caught a crappie, 3 northern pike, 4 smallmouth bass and 5 walleyes.

7/11/2018

Barry Jacobson and David Barbisan of Bozeman, MT fished with me and caught 17.  The fish were 2 smallmouth bass,  5 walleyes and 10 northern pike.  Their big fish was a 43″, 26 or 27 pounds, this was a huge fish.

7/12/2018

I fished with Bucky and Sharon Billing of Broadus, MT.  They caught 20 fish that were 9 walleyes and 11 northern pike.  Their big fish was a 27.5″, 8 pound walleye.

7/13/2018

Bob and Brenda Willekes and their sons Marshall and Shane of Choteau, MT fished with me.  They caught 33 fish that were a perch, 6 smallmouth bass, 11 northern pike and 15 walleye.  Their big fish was a 24″, 5 pound walleye.

7/14/2018

Mark McGurran, Scott Bockman, Rick Henry and Brad Koenig all of Clancy, MT fished with me.  They got 20 fish on a tough days with winds high enough that boat control was hard.  The fish were 1 perch, 4 smallmouth bass, 7 northern pike and 8 walleye.  The big fish was a 29″, 9.6 pound walleye.  

7/16 & 17/2018

Don, Tom and Dick Childress of Helena, MT, Albany, Ga and Lexington, NE respectively, fished with me.  In two days of fishing  they caught 7 perch, 11 northern pike, 16 northern pike, 29 walleye.  The big fish was a 20″, 5 pound smallmouth bass.

7/18 & 19/2018

I fished with Bruce of Fallon, NV, Fred and Nora Taylor of Laurel, MT.  They caught 30 fish in two day.  The fish included a freshwater drum, 2 northern pike, 3 crappies, 3 perch,  7 smallmouth bass and 14 walleye. Their big fish were a 24″, 5.5 pound; 27.5″, 8 pound; 30″, 11 pound walleyes and two 4 pound smallmouth bass.

7/20/2018

Walt Marolf of Miles City, MT and Lloyd Sohl of Rapid City, SD fished with me.  They caught 16 fish that were a smallmouth bass, 2 northern pike, 2 perch, 11 walleye.  Their big fish was a 24″, 5.5 pound and 27.5″, 8 pound walleyes.

7/21/2018

I fished with Ryan and Elodie Rauscher of Conrad, MT and Brent, Della, Devin and Mia Lonner of Fairfield, MT.  They caught 17 fish  that were a freshwater drum, 4 smallmouth bass, 5 northern pike and 7 walleye.

7/22/2018

Jake, John and Blake Klamm and Mark Wiedeman all of Miles City, MT fished with me and caught 15 fish.  The fish were a freshwater drum, 2 smallmouth bass, 6 northern pike and 6 walleye.  The big fish was a 27″, 7.5 pound walleye.

THE BATTLE OF 10’s

With Fred Taylor’s 30″, 11 pound walleye on July 19th I finally pulled ahead of the kid. I started the season down 3 to 0 in the next two months I had 6 walleyes caught while the kid caught 2.  I’m done for awhile, we’ll see if the kid can catch up and or pass.

7/31/2018

I fished a short day with Neil Martin and Dan Gilloy of Miles City, MT and Harold Wentland of Glasgow, MT.  It was more like a reunion than a fishing trip.  Nor much casing, mostly trolling.  They got 6 fish in a short day, the fish were a northern pike, a smallmouth bass, a perch, a sauger and two walleyes.  The big fish was a 31″ northern pike.

8/8 & 9/2018

I fished with Trevor Haddix and Matt Sunderman for King salmon at the dam area.  In two days we caught 3 lake trout and 6 King salmon.  The second day we also lost 3 fish that were on.  The salmon were from 2.5 to 8 pounds.