As weather slowly improves, so does area fishing. With spawning largely ended and walleye past the post-spawning lethargy, a nice walleye bite is in progress at both Angostura and Orman. And area streams, prospering from recent rains, are at flows excellent for fishing and the trout bite has been excellent throughout the Black Hills.
As an added incentive to getting a line in the water this weekend, Friay through Sunday, is the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks annual kickoff to summer featuring open house and free fishing at South Dakota State Parks. Entrance fees will be waived this weekend, and free fishing (without a license) will be available to both residents and non-residents.
Health Warning: A high level of mercury has been detected at New Wall Dam and fish caught at the lake should not be eaten.
Angostura Reservoir: Excellent walleye bite continues throughout the lake on bottom bouncers and spinners with minnows and nightcrawlers. Smallmouth bass are starting to show up as well near rocky banks and fallen trees.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Despite the less than ideal weather, quite a few fishermen were on hand tournament over the weekend as campers having previously made reservations chose not to let the conditions spoil a weekend outing. Fortunately, the stick-to-it-ness paid off as limits of walleye were caught at a variety of locations (bottom bouncers and jigs) including Fruitdale and off the dam. Also the catfish continue active in the channel.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Plenty of action for the fly fishermen in area streams. Rapid Creek has been very active in town as flows are nearly ideal and trout have been receptive to a variety of flies. Nymphs and streamers are producing fish in Spearfish, Castle, and Spring creeks as well.
Deerfield Reservoir: Weather continues to curtail activity and reports received have reflected a dearth of activity.
Keyhole Reservoir: A weekend fishing tournament saw plenty of walleye caught. And minnows were attracting smallmouth bass as well.
Pactola Reservoir: Anglers are finding plenty of bluegill activity near the north boat dock with a jig and wax worm or a piece of nightcrawler working best. Some trout activity at times and an occasional northern pike chasing smelt or golden shiners in back bays.
Shadehill Reservoir: Large walleye in the 20 inch plus category are being caught. And some unders as well though few slot fish. Jigging minnows at depths of 20-25 fEEt of water and running rigs with bottom bouncers seems to be the recipe.
Sheridan Lake: Trout bite resulting from recent stocking slowed last week as did perch activity Northern pike bite did pick up a bit though still on the slow side for this time of year. Some crappie action on minnows and white jigs reported as well.
Lake Oahe: The big lake remains pretty quiet as anglers await warmer weather to raise water temps and perhaps spur some walleye activity. A few anglers have been out in the mouth of the Cheyenne (limited action), and a few northern pike and catfish have been harvested in back bays.
Lake Sharpe: Pierre area bluffs continue to produce walleye activity and the West Bend and Joe Creek areas are starting to produce some fish though on the small side. Jig/minnow rigs or pulling shallow plugs are working best.
Lake Francis Case: Anglers are finding a nice walleye bite from the dam south to Chamberlain area. Fish are being located from shoreline out to 30 feet of water and responding to a variety of presentations.
Whopper of the Week: A 108 pound paddlefish was snagged in Francis Case at the mouth of the White River.
Fishing Tournaments Notice
3rd Annual Jared Roe Memorial Walleye Fishing Tournament: June 2 at Angostura. $50 per THREE-person team. Briefing at Shelter No. 3 at 7 a.m. Prizes include money and fishing gear with a portion of the proceeds donated to the South Dakota National Guard Supplemental Mission Fund. Visit jaredroememorial.com for additional info.
Fall River Swim Team Father’s Day fishing tournament: June 16 at Angostura. Contact email@example.com for additional info.
Dakota Angler & Outfitter, 513 Seventh St., Rapid City; The Rooster, 1441 W. Main St., Rapid City; Wheel and Bait, 18696 Fisherman’s Road, Fruitdale; West Prairie Resort, 28354 182nd, Pierre (605-264-5303), and Angostura State Resort have contributed to this report.