Well, if you’ve been watching the weather, you know most of the country’s midsection is experiencing a deluge. Here in Bismarck we ducked the brunt of it, but still got (and continue to get) some good rain.
But last night I thought I was smart. South of Mandan at a place called Graner Bottoms on the Missouri River, it looked like it was going to be clear enough until roughly 9:00pm, and I’ve found the websites I check overforecast: If they say 40% chance of rain, it usually doesn’t rain at all, and if one checks the hourly forecast as the day progresses the forecast for a given hour gets ever better.
So grabbed a friend, two of his sons, and hit the water about 6:30. Clouds, thunder, rain, and some lightning north and east, but just partly cloudy where we were. Drove the boat to one of our three not-so-secret spots, and started fishing. Not much happening. Then three hits within five minutes, landed (boated? netted?) two.
And then: A cold, cold wind came up, and the storm east of us seems suddenly above us, dark, heavy, deep purple sky. Sprinted some minutes back to the dock, dodging sand bars (the Missouri River at most places has a channel 6-30 feet deep, and either side of it can be a foot or two at best, so you have to know where the channel is lest you beach in the middle of the river many meters from either shore), watching rain and lightning here and there with a cautious eye.
Got to the dock just as the heavens opened. (Could have sworn the Ark floated by, Noah and a random giraffe giving us a quizzical look of the incredulous, Jackie-Chan-facepalm variety.) Got the boys in the truck while my friend and I loaded the boat on the trailer and secured everything. Drenched, we hit Pizza Ranch in Mandan for a hot greasy meal, a way of saving the evening for the boys.
Two small walleyes, but I think it was worth it. I feel like we cheated Mother Nature. Her son Zeus may throw some lightning bolts at us, but we escaped with the fish.
Update: Here’s my recipe for walleye tacos, one of the best things to do with the smaller river ‘eyes.