YANKTON, S.D. — Federation anglers will discover the Missouri River has a diverse bass fishery when they compete in the CITGO BASS Federation Northern Divisional Sept. 15-17 on Lewis and Clark Reservoir."You can find any type of fishing you like to do at Lewis and Clark," said Allan Hall, a member of the South Dakota state team. "Everybody has a style they like to fish, and Lewis and Clark offers them that opportunity. If they do their scouting, they will find a place where their type of fishing will work."
The 30,000-acre reservoir along the South Dakota-Nebraska border features plenty of bass havens, such as wood cover, vegetation (lily pads, milfoil and coontail), main channel sandbars and sloughs. "The reservoir is on a river system, but it's silted in because of the Niobrara (River) flowing into it," said Hall. "So it has reverted to the old Missouri River with its backwater areas."
Water releases from the Corps of Engineers dams along the river have a major impact on the fishing at Lewis and Clark. "Water fluctuation is probably the biggest key on that body of water," said Hall. "It's probably the most frustrating part about the lake. If they are releasing water, it can turn the bite on in areas to where in 15 minutes, you can have five smallmouth weighing around 12 to 15 pounds. If the water gets cut back the next day, you can go back there and see all the smallmouth, but you can't get a bite."
Both largemouth and smallmouth bass dwell in Lewis and Clark's waters. "The nice thing I like about Lewis and Clark is you can pitch to some stumps and catch a nice smallmouth of 2 to 3 pounds, and on the next pitch, catch a largemouth," claimed Hall. "It usually takes about a 2 1/2-pound average to win a tournament there; however, the range of fish can be from 1 1/2 pounds up to 5 pounds." The state record smallmouth (6-02) was taken from Lewis and Clark in 1999.
Bass usually start their fall feeding binge in September on Lewis and Clark. "That time of year there really isn't a dominant pattern," said Hall. "If somebody wants to go drop shotting, they can find a spot to do that. If they like throwing a jig-and-pig, they can find a place to do that."
White-and-chartreuse spinnerbaits (1/8- to 1/2-ounce models) catch plenty of Lewis and Clark bass in September. Other productive lures include 3/8- to 1/2-ounce jigs and trailers (black-and-chartreuse, black-and-blue or pumpkinseed), tube baits in shad, white, chartreuse or pumpkinseed hues, and topwater lures, such as buzzbaits, Rebel Pop-Rs and Storm Lures Rattlin' Chug Bugs.
The waters above Springfield, S.D., will offer the most consistent action during the tournament. "There are times when you can go down in the reservoir and get on the big smallies, but it is a deal of here today and gone tomorrow," said Hall, a member of the Brandon BASS Club. "Up above Springfield, you can go back to an area and catch fish even if they move, since they won't move as far as they do on the lower end."
Catching a combination of largemouth and smallmouth could be the key to victory in this Divisional. Hall believes the winning weight could be 25 to 30 pounds if the weather slows the fishing. "There is always the opportunity though, that we will see 40-pounds plus."