Missouri River

The Missouri River has a plentitude of fish. Modern-day anglers seek to catch wily walleyes, ravenous northern pike, big catfish and even paddlefish. Rough fish also abound, including buffalo fish, goldeye, and bullheads.

In former days, Native Americans harvested fish from the mighty Missouri. Some tribes depended heavily upon fish for food, while others did not. One of the tribes, the Hidatsa, used fish traps, drags, or fishhooks.

The North Dakota Game and Fish department is encouraging anglers to keep fish caught in depths over 25 feet, instead of practicing “catch-and-release.”

"When you catch fish from deeper water, as you bring them up, it's like when a diver gets the bends," said Fisheries Management section leader Scott Gangl. "The change in air pressure could really affect those fish."

Gangl said while some fish could survive, many fish won't.

"Anglers need to be aware of that," Gangl said.

The change in pressure will cause a fish’s swim bladder to expand.

Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and the Corps of Discovery weren’t the only outsiders to mingle with the Mandans on the upper Missouri River in what is now North Dakota. Even before the Corps returned downriver in the summer of 1806, another expedition paid the Mandans a visit.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The US Army Corps of Engineers has some concerns about what might happen to the Snake Creek Embankment during times of severe drought.

That embankment separates Lake Sakakawea from Lake Audubon.

The Missouri River south of Garrison Dam continues to rise.

"We're capturing the runoff from the mountain snowpack and recent rains from Montana," said Garrison Dam project operations manager Todd Lindquist. "We're putting that into our exclusive flood control zone, and we've gradually increased releases to help evacuate that flood control zone."

Lindquist said Wednesday, releases from the dam will increase to 52,000 cubic feet per second. He said that water will take some time to get to the Bismarck-Mandan area.

Sanger’s Story

May 18, 2018

Oliver County has always been small. So has its county seat. Sanger was the county seat for fourteen years. It’s on the eastern edge of the county, right on the Missouri River. Two brothers named George and Charles Henry Sanger founded the town in 1879. They made their living selling chopped wood to passing steamboats. A post office came to Sanger in 1881. George Sanger was the first postmaster. Oliver County was established in 1885, when it split off from Mercer County. It was named for a Dakota Territory legislator.

Army Corps of Engineers

The Army Corps of Engineers is proposing an update to the water control plan for Lake Audubon.

The Corps’ concern is the Snake Creek Embankment – on US Highway 83 between Lake Audubon and Lake Sakakawea.

Potential problems with the embankment emerged after the drought in the early 2000s.

"During that time, we saw a record level of difference between the water surfaces of Lake Sakakawea and Lake Audubon," said Corps project manager Matt Nelson. He said the water pressure from Lake Audubon on the embankment was much more than the dam was designed for.

The state Water Commission has approved state money for two dredging projects on the Missouri River in the Bismarck-Mandan area.

The flood of 2011 changed the river, depositing a lot of silt and creating new sandbars. Water Commission staffer Bruce Engelhardt says one of the projects will be the dredging of the area around the Bismarck storm sewer outfall.

Hoeven, Blunt tour Missouri River flood control

May 30, 2012
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven and Missouri Senator Roy Blunt are on a two-day tour of the Missouri River  system. They’re looking at flood damage repairs. And they’re meeting with the Corps of Engineers to talk about river management. More from Prairie Public's Dave Thompson.

Hoeven says this is part of an effort by Missouri Basin Senators to work together.

Preventing future Missouri River floods

May 24, 2012
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

MissouriRiver basingovernors say they’re hoping that increasing the monitoring of the plains snowpack will help prevent future flood damage. Prairie Public's Dave Thompson reports/