FOXHOLM -- Fishermen have been experiencing success fishing in the river below Lake Darling Dam for several weeks running.
Although the catch rate has slowed somewhat in recent days, the fishing has been excellent for both northern pike and walleyes. There were reports of large walleyes being caught, usually considered a bonus in what is known as the "picnic area" below Lake Darling. Pike of 12 pounds or better have been pulled in as well.
This past Thursday, Erik Wheeler of Minot Air Force Base was enjoying a few hours at the water's edge, working crankbaits in the hopes of enticing hungry or curious fish. His best recently was a pike in the 14-pound range. However, that was topped by a 9-1/2-pound walleye pulled in by his wife.
Kim Fundingsland/MDN - - The fun of fishing is obvious for Erik Wheeler, Minot Air Force Base, who is attempting to remove a crankbait from the mouth of a nice-sized northern pike. Wheeler says he prefers fishing with artificial lures.
Kim Fundingsland/MDN - - Darnell Dobson, Minot Air Force Base, displays a northern pike he caught during a recent fishing trip to what is known as the “picnic area” on the Souris River below Lake Darling Dam.
Kim Fundingsland/MDN - - Shore fishing has been very good at times this year below Lake Darling. Here a fishermen enjoys what might be one of the final days prior to the onset of winter weather. The photo was taken this past Thursday. Note the matted vegetation left over from flooding earlier this year.
"I love eating fish and I can't stand buying it from the store. I'd rather be out here doing this," said Wheeler while preparing for another cast into the Souris.
The fisherman explained he had some unexpected time to go fishing, although that was not what he had intended.
"I had a day off. It was a nice day and I was going bowhunting but people were in my area," said Wheeler. "Instead of bowhunting, I just decided to go fishing."
It paid off too. Wheeler had one walleye and one northern pike after about an hour's work.
"Actually, I can't wait for the ice to get out here so I can do some ice fishing," laughed Wheeler. "It's another type of fishing that I love to do. It's been a while because I've been overseas in places where they don't have ice. I can't wait to do it."
Enjoying open water
Others are more than happy to wait for frozen water, knowing it will come soon enough.
Getting in some final casts in open water is a prescription for shortening the winter months. That was on the mind of Darnell Dobson, Minot AFB, who was fishing below Lake Darling Dam this past week.
"I've been here four years and I know the cold is about to hit us," said Dobson while showing off a northern pike he caught using a live minnow as bait.
Dobson said he was scheduled to go to Florida for training in January prior to being shipped out for duty in Korea.
"I'm trying to get out here and fish all I can," he said.