September typically signals the onset of fall fishing techniques as fish react to cooling water temperatures, though the last week’s daytime temperatures had an early August feel about them. That will change, and when it does walleye and other species will begin to react as bait fish move away from the shallows where summer growth has provided protection. So says conventional wisdom, though predicting early fall fishing can be as unpredictable as picking fantasy football winners. That said, here are some fishing locations where recent results might take some out of the guesswork out of the next fishing outing.
Angostura Reservoir: A few limits of walleye are being picked up by experienced boat fishermen trolling with Lindy rigs and minnows (minnows seem to have replaced nightcrawlers as the bait of choice). Swim beach area and the south flats have been most active. While the walleye bite has slowed somewhat not so crappie and bluegill activity with numerous limits being taken.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Forty percent capacity and 77 degree water temps have kept fishing success to a minimum lately. That coupled with plentiful schools of shad in the lake have kept the walleye well fed. Catfish, carp, and the occasional smallmouth bass are about it at present.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Warmer weather this week continues to promote summer fishing techniques with the best opportunities relegated to early morning or later in the evening. Rapid Creek through town remains steady with early morning activity centered on Trico hatches the best recipe for success. Upstream, lower water levels make terrestrial-dropper rigs the best bet.
Canyon Lake: Some really nice brown and rainbow trout have been showing up near the Rapid Creek inlet with a 33-inch brown trout among the catch last week.
Deerfield Reservoir: Boat fishermen have been catching nice trout on spinners. Also, perch bite remains fairly consistent working for boat fishermen working crawlers on a small jig in 30-40 feet of water.
Lake Waggoner (Philip area): The largemouth bass bite picked up steam last week. Artificial lures, particularly top water frogs, have been working best.
Pactola Reservoir: Boat fishermen have been picking up a few small lake trout on large jigs and white plastics, but otherwise not much fishing activity reported last week.
Roubaix Lake: Early morning and late evening trout bite in progress with fish responding to powerbait or trout spinners.
Shadehill Reservoir: Walleye bite picked up somewhat last week with fish hanging out in 12-18 feet of water and responding to Lindy rigs and bottom bouncers (either minnows or crawlers). Crappie activity continues on small minnows as well.
Sheridan Lake: Some northern pike action reported along the south shore of the marina bay. Working weeds with spinner baits has been the best bet. Perch around buoy lines and bass in the forked bay near the campgrounds have been busy as well.
Lakes Oahe: Walleye action remains extremely slow on the big lake. So much so that Missouri River fishing guides are reportedly taking clients into North Dakota to Lake Sakakawea in search of better action, a situation that will hopefully subside with the onset of autumn and cooler temperatures. For angler so inclined catfish activity can typically found in shallow waters of bays and inlets.
Lake Sharpe: Some walleye limits are being taken though tougher than usual. However, weed growth will start to die off soon bringing bait fish and walleye out into more catchable water. Cooler fall weather ahead should result in walleye beginning to stage in spring spawning areas.
Lake Francis Case: Not a lot of activity reported though some walleye are showing up in the Chamberlain area. Trolling in 10-20 feet of water with crawlers or minnows is producing the action. Some bass activity near rocky points is a possibility as well.
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.