After the snowstorm of the previous week, ice fishermen were surfacing (figuratively speaking, fortunately) again last week with quite a bit of activity reported. And much of it of the positive variety. Adding to the pleasant outlook ahead, temperatures in the mid 40s to 50s forecast for the next couple of weeks will offer up some very pleasant weather to get out on the ice a few more times before conditions move into the problematical category. Might as well celebrate the switch to Daylight Savings Time this weekend with an ice fishing outing and the dropping of a line through a small hole in the ice. If so inclined, here are some spots where the effort will most likely be rewarded.
Angostura Reservoir: Fishing activity picked up on the lake last week with reports of a decent walleye bite in progress. Minnows and wobble jigs dangled in 20-30 feet of water drew the most attention.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Weather continued to plague fishing activity on the lake as a combination of wind, snow, and resultant mud have made access to/on the lake an almost impossible endeavor. Only the main boat dock area is currently accessible, and with warming temperatures that area, took, could also quickly evolve into a sea of mud. Ahead, warming temperatures and the possibility of unsafe edges. Walleye might be there, but not many fishermen at present.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Though any moisture for the hills is good this time of year, not so accompanying winds as last week’s blustery weather made fly casting a potentially hazardous endeavor. Fortunately winds have subsided and temps are trending up for the next week or so. With that, the usual tactics should apply: take advantage of midge hatches from 10 a.m. to noon and utilize nymph and streamers before and after.
Deerfield Reservoir: Plenty of activity reported last week with lots of nice perch in the 10-13 inch range being caught on red spikes tipped with a small tear-drop jig and worked in 30-40 feet of water. Anglers in the Gold Run and Dutchman areas were sorting through catches of 50-60 perch daily. Also, some nice brook trout in the 14-15 inch range were caught as well.
Lakota Lake: Northern pike in the 2-6 pound range were showing up last week on shiners, and some nice rainbow trout —16 inch plus size — were being caught on powerbait.
Pactola Reservoir: Lake trout remain active on golden shiners and silver spoons worked in 70-80 feet of water. Most of the fish are being caught off the north boat landing, a popular spot for ice fishermen to congregate, and back in the deep water of Bear Gulch. On most days, wax worms or red spikes will likely garner a perch or two as well.
Roubaix Lake: Trout bite resumed on the lake last week with red spikes and wax worms the baits of choice.
Sheridan Lake: Some northern pike — mostly small, were caught last week on golden shiners. However, the perch bite of recent weeks seems to have slowed down moving from a mix of on/off days to mostly off.
Lake Oahe: Most of the walleye and northern pike activity on the big lake is centered in the Mobridge and Akaska areas though before this week’s snowstorm anglers had been catching fish at the mouth of the Cheyenne River. Perhap again when digging out process and melt-off are completed.
Lake Sharpe: Blizzard earlier in the week curtailed fishing activity, a situation that will continue for a few days though hope springs eternal warmer days ahead will promote thoughts of annual spring bite.
Lake Francis Case: No activity reported. Other than lots of people scooping snow that is.
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