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Author Topic: Off Topic/Paddlefish  (Read 932 times)

Offline Golden Trout

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Off Topic/Paddlefish
« on: Mar 06, 2019, 06:05 PM »
Hello everyone,

I really didnt want to start this topic on this site being not related to ice fishing, but I dont know who else to ask.   I would like to try to snag Paddlefish this coming season for my first time.  With that being said I know barley anything about it.  I have tried calling FWP offices 4, 5, 6, and 7 and no luck on gaining information.  The biologist in the area are either on vacation for weeks or others not returning my messages.  I would like to try to put in for a white tag on the Missouri River.  From what I understand is people do their snagging at the Fred Robinson bridge.  Would there be a certain time when I would want to go when the water flow is at however many feet per second?  What size hooks should I use and where can they be found?  Do you target shallow/deep water or bends in the river, or just cast where ever and hope for the best? 

Once again I apologize for starting this off-topic post, but I hope someone reading this might be able to help me out. 

Thanks for any help

Offline RuralMT

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #2 on: Mar 06, 2019, 08:51 PM »
I'm jealous, you're in for a good time...a sore day afterward but a good time nonetheless!  As far as equipment goes, we used two 8/0 or 10/0 treble hooks spaced about a foot and a half apart, along with a 2-3 ounce sinker.  As Wenger mentioned, you're hucking it out as far as you can with a rod that belongs on the ocean, setting it under an arm, ripping, reeling, and repeating. 

Timing can be tricky.  I only snagged with a yellow tag on the Yellowstone, so I can't speak for the more controlled flow of the Missouri.  However, on the Stone, we watched the flows like a hawk and waited to see a large spike that indicated runoff was in full swing; then we started checking.  It seemed like they waited on increased flows to begin their run.  My recommendation would be to search for an outfit in North Dakota that posts reports.  Once they start there, it'll only be a matter of time before they move into Montana.

Again, I can't speak for Fred Robinson, but the intake diversion dam out of Glendive serves as one large bottleneck.  There is a substantial current that digs out a deep hole in the riverbed.  The paddlefish congregate in that hole until they work up the energy to run the current/dam.  Maybe folks with experience at Fred Robinson can chime in, but if I were scouting for a spot, I'd be looking for a deep hole they'd be likely to rest in.  Better yet, hop in line with the people that will inevitably be there already.  Intake always drew quite the crowd!

Offline Fishy Fishy

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #3 on: Mar 07, 2019, 08:29 AM »
Timing it is hard. From my time on the Missouri it all has to to with the river flow from melt off.

Offline JusaLilGuy

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #4 on: Mar 07, 2019, 12:29 PM »
Where to go:
You will see people stretched from the Fred Robinson all the way downstream past the rock creek boat ramp and camping area (off the auto trail route).  Most people will be congregated at each camping area and where access roads are close to the river.  Each campground, parking area, and turn off WILL be full of people so having a back up spot to your back up spot is important.  If you plan on making it a multi day trip it will be important to know where each camping area is because they will all be full for multiple weeks during the peak.  When looking at a map: just north of the bridge is one entrance/exit to the self guided Auto Trail Route.  This will be your main access route, but make sure you don't stay on the auto trail the whole time.  The road will fork and the auto trail will continue on away from the river; you will want to stay right and follow the river.  There are multiple camping areas along this route: Slippery Anne, Rock Creek, Last Chance.  Last chance "crapper" is basically the end of the road and there is a camping area and outhouse there, hence the name.  Knowing what the expected weather will be becomes more important the further you get down this road.  If you are at Last Chance and it rains a lot....you may be there for a bit until it dries out.   Fishing from the bridge or anywhere along the Auto Trail Route are good spots.  Paddlefish will seek out the deep holes in the river to hold up in until night before continuing on, but the river changes from year to year.  That's not to say that they dont move at all during the day.

When to go:
Depends on the year and the amount of runnoff.  Keep checking the USGS guages in the area for increases in CFS.  There is one right at the Fred Robinson.  In general, 10,000 CFS is a good number to start getting excited about.  Upper Missouri Paddlefish live in Fort Peck Reservoir and migrate up stream past Loma.

Paddlefish regs state that hooks have to be 8/0 or smaller.  8/0 is what most people run because its the biggest legally.  I like to use 2 hooks spaced about 2-3 feet apart.  The once a hook snags the fish, the fish will roll causing the other hook to sink in.  I use a 5 oz weight, but that part is personal preference and depends on current, at least a 3 oz weight to be effective. 

Find a spot that is clear of branches and shrubs. Just cast across the river and rip it back, reeling in slack between rips.  once you get close to the bank.  Do it again.  When ripping back, if you feel some resistance, set the hook and hold on.  Once you are hooked up try to keep the fish out of the main current.  If the fish has any size to it and get into the main current it will probably run all of you line out and eventually break off.



Offline Golden Trout

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #5 on: Mar 07, 2019, 04:13 PM »
Thank you all for the help.  I would like to camp and stay multiple days coming from Kalispell.  Its good to know the camps at the bridge will be full.  I am excited to learn and pass on info if I am lucky enough to draw a tag.   ;D

Offline Fishy Fishy

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #6 on: Mar 07, 2019, 07:24 PM »
Since the Missouri River went to the draw system I have not seen the Fred Robinson camps full.  At least not until the holiday weekend.

Offline mtoutdoorsman

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #7 on: Mar 08, 2019, 09:36 PM »
Since the Missouri River went to the draw system I have not seen the Fred Robinson camps full.  At least not until the holiday weekend.
I went to Fred Robinson couple years ago on memorial weekend... had to spend the first two nights camped on the side of the road.
But even the last few years going 2 and even three weekends before memorial weekend i have had to ask strangers to pull my camper in with them...
most were people in "camper" spots with tents and most are pretty nice people who understood. My luck the last few years has always been full at least on the weekends   
Formerly youngoutdoorsmans but wouldn't you know, I got older

Offline JH57

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #8 on: Mar 09, 2019, 12:04 AM »
My first trip was to the Fred Robinson area 2 years ago with a catch and release tag only.  Landed 2 fish, one we estimated at 65 lbs, the other was a large male (1/2 the size of a large female).  I was using 4 - 6 ozs weight, 65 lb braid, and a 12' surf spinning rod, 2 #8-0 trebles on a masonary string leader.  Its not difficult to rig, but I'd tie some up before you go.  Google up you tube vid on how to rig it up. Most use spinning gear - I'm tempted to try a conventional casting setup one of these trips.

Last year, also with a catch and release tag and also at Fred Robinson, I landed 7 fish in 2 days.  Much higher water than the year before and much harder to carve out a place to fish.

Friend I was with was using 50 lb braid and had a lot more problems with breakoffs (usually involving rocks, or debris moreso than fish).  With the 65 lb braid I was able to free my gear most of the time.

Remember, any thing else you catch while snagging has to be released - we caught a couple different kinds of sturgeon, someone caught a catfish, and we saw a large buffalo carp hauled in.

Offline mountana

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #9 on: Mar 09, 2019, 04:58 AM »
Jusalilguy has got you covered, spot on. The only thing I'd add is to bring extra line and a bunch more weights and hooks than you think you need.

Offline oldschoolben

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #10 on: Mar 09, 2019, 07:47 PM »
Sounds like salmon fishing, shoulder to shoulder  combat fishing

Offline deadstick81

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #11 on: Mar 09, 2019, 09:02 PM »
I always go barbless on catch and release days. Smaller ones are better to eat also if u have to.

Offline mtoutdoorsman

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #12 on: Mar 10, 2019, 01:54 AM »
Sounds like salmon fishing, shoulder to shoulder  combat fishing
But with 12 foot surf rods, 8/0 hooks and 6 oz sinkers
My first time paddlefishing when I was a kid my grandma had come along and decided to give it a shot. She would have made one hell of cast if it hadn't been for launching it  straight down the beach over the top of about 4 people...
Formerly youngoutdoorsmans but wouldn't you know, I got older

Offline oldschoolben

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #13 on: Mar 10, 2019, 09:26 AM »
Im not sure how fun fishing with rhat many people would be,  with my luck I would get a hook buried in my back lol

Offline mtoutdoorsman

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #14 on: Mar 10, 2019, 01:22 PM »
Just like most fishing if you put some thought in to it you can find quite places away from the masses
For me it's all worthwhile when you finally hook in to one
Formerly youngoutdoorsmans but wouldn't you know, I got older

Offline Golden Trout

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #15 on: Mar 10, 2019, 09:39 PM »
Thanks for help on what to use @).  I hope I can draw a white tag 

Offline Fishy Fishy

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #16 on: Mar 10, 2019, 10:19 PM »
Good luck to you drawing. I'm hoping to draw a white tag also. 

Offline Golden Trout

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Re: Off Topic/Paddlefish
« Reply #17 on: Mar 11, 2019, 04:03 PM »
Thank you, good luck to you as well

 



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