About the only tracks visible on area lakes over the weekend were of the four-legged variety as pre-storm preparations and the heavy snows to follow kept anglers mostly tucked away safely at home. Access to lakes and streams will remain troublesome for a few days most likely discouraging all but the die-hards and the fool-hardy. And, yes, even in fishing circles, there is a distinction between the two.
Despite the snow cover, temperatures hovering around 30 for the next week would seem favorable for a successful ice fishing outing as area lakes have been producing walleye, lake trout, perch and northern pike. However, even with sub-freezing temps, the depths of snow cover can make for cumbersome slogs to a suitable fishing location, a situation exacerbated by a slushy build up beneath the snowpack.
Here are some area locations where activity can best be found. And, as always, be safe out there.
Angostura Reservoir: No reports received last week. Despite lack of updates, the walleye bite had been fair at times through the winter with jigs and minnows worked at depths of 20-30 feet of water generally the best bet for some fishing action.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Not many fishermen out last week though the few that did so were generally successful. Among walleye caught late in the week was a 26 ¾ inch inch specimen caught on a fathead minnow. Unfortunately, the snowstorm has limited access to the lake to the main dock area only as access roads elsewhere were drifted shut as of mid-week. And, because of drifts, moving around on the lake is a real chore even for four-wheelers
Black Hills Fly Fishing: While heavy snow make access to area streams very difficult, the below freezing temps at present most likely make the effort a fruitless endeavor. Stay warm, fashion some flies, and dream of the better days ahead.
Deerfield Reservoir: Perch activity had made up most of the fishing activity on the lake recently. Wax worms and red maggots worked in 30-40 foot of water have been the ticket. Occasional rainbow and lake trout action on occasion as well.
Durkee Lake: Pike and perch bites have been strong with the northerns hitting on golden shiners and the perch directing their attention to small minnows.
Pactola Reservoir: Prior to the snowstorm, lake trout action remained strong. Shiners and smelt worked at depths of 60-80 feet were the baits of choice. And on a prize winning note, Sunday will conclude The Rooster’s “Laker Olympics” (see below). Judging by recent activity, bluegill are likely active in south bays with wax worms and small teardrop jigs working best.
Roubaix Lake: No reports received last week though rainbow trout have been on the prowl lately. Powerbait and wax worms or jigs tipped with red maggots are suggested.
Sheridan Lake: Very little activity reported last week. Other than an occasional perch or pike, there hasn’t been a lot of fishing activity this winter.
Lake Oahe: Finally received some favorable reports on the south end of the lake as ice fishermen are finding some walleye and northern pike action at the mouth of the Cheyenne River.
Lake Sharpe: Seven to eight inches of snow in the Pierre area slowed down fishing activity the last few days but ice fishermen have been catching walleye around the bridges down toward Antelope Creek. Farther south, West Bend and Joe Creek areas have been producing walleye as well though most of the fish caught are on the small side.
Lake Francis Case: Not a lot of activity reported with less than ideal weather conditions hampering the fishing activity.
Upcoming Fishing Tournaments and Other Events
The 5th Annual Hooked on Hardware fishing tournament is scheduled for Feb. 24. The annual event sponsored by Scull Construction matches experienced fishermen with youngsters in a day long fishing experience followed by a banquet in the evening. All proceeds go to The Club for Boys Outdoor Program. Donations or additional information is available at theclubforboys.org or by calling (605) 343-3500.
“Laker Olympics at Pactola:" With the Winter Olympics kicking off on Friday (February 9-25), The Rooster is conducting a “Laker Olympics at Pactola” contest with a $1,000 dollars of Rooster gift certificates available to anyone who catches a 42 inch plus lake trout during the Winter Olympics. Fish must be weighed, measured, and undeniably documented if released to qualify. Contact or visit The Rooster for additional details.
Fly Fishing Film Tour hosted by Dakota Angler and Outfitter: Feb. 28 (7 p.m.) at the Elks Theatre.
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.