As families head to vacation spots throughout the Black Hills this summer, one local fishing guide is hoping they will take advantage of one of the area’s most welcoming opportunities: local lakes filled with fish waiting to be caught.
Ivan Burandt, originally from Minnesota, has more than 30 years of fishing experience. He was a fishing guide in Minnesota on Mille Lacs Lake, a couple hours from the Twin Cities. Having fished in many places, Burandt enjoys bodies of water throughout the Black Hills because they offer a wide variety of fish.
South Dakota is delineated into four regions for fishing, according to the state’s Game, Fish and Parks Department. The Black Hills lies within the Western Division and contains 14 mountain lakes, more than 400 miles of streams and more than 50,000 stock dams. Just as there are many locations for people to fish, there are many varieties of fish to be caught. Bodies of water throughout the area contain different types of trout, bass, walleye and many other species.
As a lifelong outdoorsman, Burandt has always had a love for the Black Hills area. He is recently divorced, but he was excited to move to the area to pursue his dreams of expanding his guided fishing tours.
“I’ve always loved the area, and if my life hadn’t changed recently, I would never have had the opportunity to live out here,” Burandt said.
Having fished in the area for many years, Burandt said he knows the surrounding lakes and rivers well and is able to take guests places where they will have successful fishing trips.
In order to provide the best experience possible, Burandt tells people not to stress about bringing equipment and to only bring a lunch and a valid fishing license on their tours.
“I want to get people into simple situations where they can fish,” he said. “I don’t want them to worry about bringing any of their own equipment, so I supply everything they would need for a successful day of fishing.”
Although Burandt does not want his guests bringing their own equipment, he does want them to come prepared to have a great day. Burandt said he wants to give his guests the best experience by spending as much time as possible on the water. Consequently, he usually departs early in the morning and returns in the afternoon or early evening.
Burandt uses his custom-designed boat to carry out a method of fishing called “trolling,” where baited fishing lines are slowly pulled through the water. Burandt said he enjoys fishing in the surrounding lakes and other bodies of water near Rapid City, but he prefers the Belle Fourche Reservoir near Orman Dam.
In the hopes of maintaining South Dakota’s wide variety of natural wildlife, the state has placed regulations on the size of the fish that people can keep — between 15 inches and 18 inches isn’t allowed — as well as the number of fish kept per day (one fish longer than 18 inches, and three shorter than 15 inches for a limit of four, Burandt said). The numbers can fluctuate by location.
“There are some regulations about which fish people can keep, but we usually don’t have a problem catching them,” Burandt said.
Rapid City native Lisa Berzett went fishing with Burandt recently, and even though she is not an experienced angler, Burandt’s experience and attitude helped make the trip a success.
“I know that he has the experience, and he is well-respected as a fisherman. It was a great experience,” Berzett said.
Using Burandt’s extensive knowledge of the fish in Orman Dam while fishing with Berzett, they were able to catch 11 walleye while on the lake.
“We trolled around different areas based on his knowledge of where the fish were, and within five minutes we had already caught two fish,” Berzett said.
Contrary to many guides, Burandt focuses his tours on inexperienced fishermen. He said he wants to provide a unique experience that showcases the joy of fishing and the surrounding beauty.
Looking to fill a niche, Burandt hopes to cast fishing back to the front of people’s minds and display what the area has to offer.
“I want to take people out and show them how simple fishing really can be,” he said. “Great fishing is all around us, and I want people to be able to see that. That is why I do what I do.”