With the arrival of spring two days past, the changes typically associated with the calendrical passage of winter to spring are becoming hopefully evident with the forecast of upper 50s temperatures during the next couple of days. A good time for all with the notable exception of ice fishermen who will soon see their wintry playground give way to slush and liquid. Nonetheless, there are a few spots in the area where ice fishing opportunities will exist for a week or so before the 2017-18 fishing winds down. For those who need a last outing before calling it quits, here are a few spots where the endeavor may prove to be successful as well. And remember that a plank or ladder may be required to assure safe access at locations where edges are quickly breaking up.
Angostura Reservoir: Ice conditions are rapidly deteriorating with open water extending out 20-30 feet from shorelines in most places. Best wait a few weeks for the liquid water season before renewing the chase for that trophy walleye.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Lake is open on the edges and and snow-packed elsewhere, a situation that will only worsen with the arrival of warm weather. Best advice: wait until ice dissolves into open water.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Onset of warming temperatures should enhance what has been excellent fishing the last week or two. Rapid Creek through town is fishing well as trout are coming up on midges late mornings. Crow Creek (Nymphs) and Sand Creek (dry flies) are producing plenty of action as well.
Deerfield Reservoir: Perch are being located in 30-40 foot of water and responding to tear-drop jigs and waxworms. Also, a few lakers were showing up in shallow water last week.
Lakota Lake: Anglers are still catching northern pike through the ice on smelt and golden shiners. Majority of the fish taken are in the 2-6 pound range. Some rainbow trout activity reported as well.
Pactola Reservoir: Lakers continue on the prowl particularly near the north boat landing and back in Jenney Gulch. Shiners and smelt are the baits of choice. Also, some nice crappie and perch were showing up last week on the south side of the lake. Shorelines vary and a plank or ladder for access may be required particularly near dock areas.
Prairie Ponds: Unfishable at present due to unsafe ice conditions.
Roubaix Lake: Trout bite resumed last week with red maggots and powerbait the primary attractants.
Sheridan Lake: Perch bite picked up somewhat last week. The fish, mostly small, were located in 30-40 foot of water and seemed to be most responsive to red maggots and wax worms.
Lake Oahe: Very little activity in the Pierre area though a few ice fishermen are working the 20 inch of ice build-ups near Cheyenne River on occasion, and reportedly catching a walleye or two. Open water fishing is still three to four weeks away.
Lake Sharpe: As weather warms, fishing activity should pick up steam as walleyes begin to move into spring spawning areas. And a positive note for future trout fishing enthusiasts, SD GF&P will be stocking rainbow trout at Oahe Marina on March 27, weather permitting.
Lake Francis Case: Open water below Big Bend Dam and in the immediate Chamberlain area have been home to some boat launches recently though no reports of fishing success.
Upcoming Spring Fishing Tournaments
● Walleyes Unlimited: April 28-29 at Lake Angostura, 60 two-man team limit, $120 entry fee per team. Entry forms available at area hunting and fishing merchandise outlets or by contacting Walleyes Unlimited.
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.