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Walleye Improving In Missouri River

MOBRIDGE, SD -  As we enter the summer travel season, state officials are saying it could be a good year for visitors to the Missouri River.

Pickups with trailers were lined up at a Corson County boat ramp just across the river from Mobridge Tuesday. The river could be a popular place this year.

"We'd expect to get a lot of visitors. It's a pretty popular area. If we can ever get the weather and conditions to warm up it should be an outstanding season," Jason Jungwirth said.

Jungwirth is a biologist with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks. After some down years with fewer bait fish in the river system, he says conditions continue to improve.

"Anglers will even see a drastic change over last year. Fish are starting to look like footballs again kind of what they talk about when they've got the football look, real fat and healthy and we've got that going on again," Jungwirth said.

Walt Bieniewski took his first South Dakota fishing trip this week. The central Wisconsin man will spend a few days in the state.

"Well we just heard it was supposed to be a good spot to fish, got four of us together and just come out to enjoy the weather and the fishing," Bieniewski said.

As Bieniewski and his friends enjoy Lake Oahe, Jungwirth says there aren't as many larger walleye in the Missiouri River system as there were before the 2011 flood. It takes longer to see their numbers rebound, Jungwirth said. Still, the biologist is pleased with the outlook up and down the river.

"I think it will be good throughout. We've heard reports last year all the way up and down the river system the walleyes are really improving. Numbers might be down a little bit in some areas that are still rebounding from those tough years but overall things are looking really, really good," Jungwirth said.

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