Fish communities in these reservoirs have changed dramatically in the past 10 years.
Walleye are one of the more controversial species in the state, and one of the more difficult species to manage.
It is pretty neat in the spring to catch nothing but small males in trap nets for a couple of weeks, then over the course of one or two nights see the big females come in to spawn. After that, it’s all little males again. I’ve always believed that walleye during the spawn behave just like people: the males arrive too early and stay too late.
Then there are the northern pike, they definitely don’t get much love around here. For years they would occasionally show up in Canyon Ferry, and catching one was a pretty unique experience. But now their numbers seem to be growing in a system that is already forage limited. If pike numbers were to continue to climb, it is difficult to see how a viable walleye, pike, perch, and trout fishery can be maintained.
Other sport fish that we’ll pick up on occasion include the largemouth or smallmouth bass, or the bluegill.
It’s undoubtedly a challenge to manage the balance of fish species in the upper Missouri River reservoir fisheries, but it’s sure nice to have such a unique sport fishing opportunity.