Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lake Sakakawea and the Garrison Dam Campground

Walleye is one of my favorite fish. Any recipe for a white meated firm fish works. You can fry them, grill them, or bake them and its always great. One of my favorites is to make walleye and broccoli cheesy scalloped potatoes. The first step is to catch a walleye!
We left Jamestown and drove to Bismark where we turned north and took Highway 83 to the Lake. The drive was easy and the roads were good. After checking out rvparks review we had found that there was a campground below the dam, the Downstream Campground. Its a COE campground, Corp of Engineers, and as they are usually pretty good we decided to look it over!
A yellow shafted northern flicker landed on a tree as we entered the campground. Goldfinches and a pair of bright orange orioles completed the greeting. It was the best campground we had been in for quite a while. It was so nice that we extended our stay for three nights as we wanted to check out the area for future visits.
The rest of the day was spent in getting set up and exploring the area. We found out that there really isn't much in either Pick City or Riverdale. If you visit here be sure to bring your supplies and fill up with fuel!
We did find a bike path which actually started from our campsite and so we rode the loop, 1.6 miles and rode the other campground loops and the access. The loop north took us along the Missouri river and signs told us of Lewis and Clark's expedition. What a beautiful place, winding through the cottonwoods, and an easy and peacefull ride.
Deciding that I could catch a catfish or maybe even a walleye I bought a fishing license and headed to the river. I fished at the tail race where I walked out on the cement piers and cast out to several likely spots. No bites. Undaunted I drove down to a place on the tail race where the current swirled. No bites. Farther down, at the end of the tail race a pair of pelicans swam so I went down there and cast out. No bites.
So a fish dinner was going to be harder than I thought as I drove to the boat ramp to fish where we had seen some fisherman the night before. No bites. It would have been too easy to just drive some place and catch fish and I realized I was going to have to have a dues day or two just to find some fish.
The next day we drove to the Sakakawea State Park. There we planned on having a picnic and planned to drive the campgrounds and check them out. It took several stops until we found a likely place where i fished for a while before the wind came up and blew us in search of a calmer bay.
After driving around for a bit we found a sheltered spot and set out the poles as we ate lunch and nearly dozed off as we sat in the sun. My pole started to jerk as a fish was definitely on and I grabbed it and set the hook.
After a brief tussle and a couple of runs I got the fish ashore. Thoughts of catfish dinner filled my head as I lifted the fish from the water, only to have it fall off the hook and swim away.
Feeling like a chump, I knew better then to lift a fish, I cast out again and had several more bites but no hookups. Oh well, cornbread tastes pretty good when you don't have any fish to go with it!
Returning to camp we talked of the fine days here and both of us expressed a desire to return again. Whats funny is the trip up here had been a spur of the moment decision, but thats the way good places are usually found. Clear skies

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