Salmon on the Lake post#6

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I did not make it out this weekend. Did anyone make it out and did anyone have any luck at all. Giong to hopefully hit it this weekend. Anyone know where the thermocline was over the weekend?
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Lake Sakakawea


  1. Trollneyes's Avatar
    I posted this to “Post #5” yesterday but will copy here to keep current. So, if some of the comments below are confusing check out the comments on the previous post...

    Great info Tolldeep. Sounds like we have been playing the salmon game for about the same number of years (’16 was my first year) and I know I learn quite a bit each year. I greatly appreciate the additional info on running depths and thermocline. I too have been struggling this year with numbers but my average size is probably better this year over the past 3 years. I didn’t get to experience the “hay days” as others have so can’t comment on that. I only run 2 riggers and have limited experience running stackers so if I can put a couple in the box each time I am not unhappy. I was on the water all day Saturday (8/24) and got a 9.5# at 108’ (cable out on rigger as I can’t see balls on graph) on a blue crush/glow 11” flasher and blue spatterback needlefish and one 7.5# at 84’ on a green crush/glow 11” flasher and mother of pearl needlefish. Both fish were caught between 10:00-12:00 pretty close to government. I have been running 35” leads behind 11” flashers and 10-12’ behind the balls. I tried everything from 70-130’ down (cable out) and experimented a bit with spoons but defaulted back to my confidence rigs but didn’t get another bump all day anyway. Not sure if the wind was a factor or not as it got pretty rough and may have been bouncing my gear more than they wanted it. I may try pitching my transducer back a bit to see if I can’t see where the balls are running in relation to the fish I am marking as you suggested. For others that are posting depths of fish caught, are you actually graphing physical depth where you hook up like Trolldeep or are you posting rigger cable out? Also, for those that are running stackers, how far back do you run your leads and how much separation between the stacked lines? Further back on top or bottom rig? I know some do it with minimal tangles and would sure love some insight to up my game!!

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  2. Hookin8easy's Avatar
    I have been stacking for about 6 years, the first one was a good knot tying lesson lol. Haven’t had a tangle in a very long time now. I run 8” on bottom and 11” stacked. Bottom is 7-9’ of the ball then stack 10’ up with 12-15’ off the cable. You’re setback on bottom determines your stacker distance(8’ back can’t reach 10’ distances between), now when lowering that is where care is needed, top one free spoils w the clicker on the reel, the bottom one has to have thumb tension to keep blowback down to a minimum or it will blow back into the stacker. Tension em up and go. I can tell you that I verified my blowback w stacker on my 10# balls and at 95’ it is only about 3’ at 1.8-2mph

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  3. Trollneyes's Avatar
    Thanks Hookin! This is very helpful! Are the distances for your setbacks from the cable to the lure (including flasher and leader length) or from the cable to the flasher? I have always measured my setbacks from the cable to the flasher but I may have been doing this incorrectly in which case I would always be off by 3-4’...

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  4. MSA's Avatar
    Oh man, I remember the tangled up messes we'd bring up back in the 90s. 30lb mono so twisted up it was fused into a ball of plastic with flashers & squid sticking out.

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  5. Trolldeep's Avatar
    Trollneyes thanks for the info. I have very little experience stacking, like 3 days worth. I’m not very adventurous, I have only run spoons, or herring on my stackers. I’d like to try a flasher like hookin8easy said. The first time I ran 4 downriggers it was a disaster, so I’m a little hesitant. My other issue is I’m very impatient, after a lure is in the water for 15 minutes I’m staring at the clock, 20 minutes and I already have my next setup ready, 25 minutes and I’m pacing back and forth, 26 minutes and I’m reeling in to switch up. I found out quick that I need more patience if I’m going to stack.

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  6. Hookin8easy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Trollneyes
    Thanks Hookin! This is very helpful! Are the distances for your setbacks from the cable to the lure (including flasher and leader length) or from the cable to the flasher? I have always measured my setbacks from the cable to the flasher but I may have been doing this incorrectly in which case I would always be off by 3-4’...
    I figure set back to front of flasher. Your stackers really can be as long as you want, this is where I’ve been running. After fishing Sakakawea about 7 years with riggers and throwing everything possible at em and trying different lengths, speed, colors, lighted flashers I’ve come to the conclusion that right place right time trumps all. I know there are some that know the ins and outs of what and where but fishing half days for six weekends a year I’ll get some blue some white some pink some green and work the marks til they turn on for that hour and a half per morning in the water temp of 55-58. Covers a majority of what works “most” days, then when something hits switch to it and try to hammer some out.

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    Updated 08-27-2019 at 09:25 PM by Hookin8easy
  7. WLYHNTR's Avatar
    Im gonna give it a go this weekend, just bought some down riggers and mounted em up. Absolutely zero experience with riggers so it will be a big learning curve. I only have 2 downriggers and mounted em to outside and was going to run 2 rods per rigger. Thinking around 15-18' difference between the 2 rods. The videos and info I read showed a lot of guys running bottom line about 20' back from ball and stacked one about 15' higher and running about 10-12' from cable. If im running 20' back with bottom rod on a flasher from ball say 90' down how deep do you think bait is?

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  8. Hookin8easy's Avatar
    I should’ve said the same except for the blowback, mine isn’t much 3-4’ at best on graph at 1.8

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    Updated 08-28-2019 at 08:08 PM by Hookin8easy
  9. Trollneyes's Avatar
    Thanks again for the info guys. There are certainly good arguments for and against stacking and believe it comes down to personal preference and patience as trolldeep mentioned as it is more difficult to swap rigs and raise and lower rigs to simply change depths. Some days it seems I can do just as good as the guys running with more gear down when I just run 2 rods but other days especially when I want to experiment, it’s nice to throw down at least one extra rod with a spoon, herring rig, cut plug or 8” rig as I typically run 11” flashers with needles . As I mentioned before, I have limited experience with stacking and have only stacked 1 rigger when I have. Like Wlyhntr, the first place it turned to was good ol YouTube and found several videos on stacking. I recall one gentlemen stating that chinook typically dive deep when they strike which is most likely why it is recommended to run a shorter lead on the bottom line so a strike on the top rig is more likely to clear a shorter run bottom lead. Over the past 2 years when I have stacked a rigger, my setup has been an 11” flasher with needlefish back 10’ on the bottom rig and a brads cut plug stacked 15’ above and set back 15’. Even though I have only run this a few times, I have logged 5 fish successfully caught without any tangles, 2 on the top rig and 3 on the bottom. I believe Hookin8easy nailed it on the head as the trick is in the letdown. Make sure you keep good tension on the bottom line as if it blows back too far, it will get in the top rig. Been there done that. Good luck!!

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  10. ccbartuska's Avatar
    Hi All, I'll be out all day tomoro (Fri) in a 17' tan/black Sylvan, give me a holler if u see me. I'll be glad to pass along any information (what I'm doing/using and if its working or not i guess). Good luck out there everyone!! See u on the water!

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  11. ccbartuska's Avatar
    Was out from 7 to 4 yesterday, no action. I tried the usual plastic squids, then spoons, then used Brad's bait (tuna) for the first time. Sorry, don't have anything helpful to contribute. I'll be out most of the day tomorrow too so we'll see what happens I guess.

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  12. Trolldeep's Avatar
    I went out Friday all day, didn’t catch any. Tried everything I had in the tackle box. I fished 85’-115’

    For those that are interested. Depths are approximate and were recorded around 5pm on Friday over 150’ of water, near Deadman’s where I finally accepted defeat for the day and packed up. 67 degree water @ 95-98’. Around 98’ temp would drop off quickly. 100’ and temp would be approximately 62-60 degrees. Around 105-108’ I was finding 57-55 degrees.
    Good luck out there.

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  13. WLYHNTR's Avatar
    Was out on Saturday morning and ended up picking up 2 in about 60-65' blue on blue. Had another small one on that came off by the boat and had one other release but no hook up. The first one weighed 9.5# and second was 7#.

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  14. Trollneyes's Avatar
    Fished Sunday (9/1) from 12:30-4:30. Picked up a 6#er at 85’ on silver flasher and pink needlefish at 4:00. Had heard of several others that morning caught in the 85’ range as well as a few caught long lining cranks so there are some fish moving shallow as well. On a side note, I ran stackers all afternoon on Sunday with no mishaps. Our 1 fish hit the bottom line and cleared the top stacker no problem. I was back 10’ on the bottom line and the stacker was 15’ up and 15’ back. Thanks again for the insight on the stackers guys!! If only the fish would have cooperated more!!

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  15. NSSJ's Avatar
    Don't know what to tell you about the salmon bite on Sak. Got one two weeks ago. heard they were getting fish from 12 to 22 lbs at Ft Peck Montana. Went there last monday stayed till friday. Windy , didn't get on the lake till wed fished 17 hrs wed and thur.. windy friday came home. 40 to 50 boats on the lake never saw a fish caught. I was told that with all of the cold water and high water coming into the system the 4 year salmon won't be here till late sept or early oct. Called Pierre SD guide service saturday. Very slow down there also. If any body has any input I'd like to hear it

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  16. NSSJ's Avatar
    P S I started fishing salmon in !982

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