The big W’s dominated the area fishing scene this week as wind and white stuff kept would-be anglers off the water for the most part. And with the periods of snow and persistent winds, the transition time between soft and hard surface water fishing has arrived as Black Hills area lakes slowly begin to freeze. Unfortunately, the period of limbo may stretch a bit longer than desired as high winds are impeding ice-making on Black Hills lakes despite cold evenings typically conducive to such efforts. Adding to the complication: a period of warm weather returns over the weekend. On the bright side, maybe, is a brief stretch of weekend warm weather will provide an opportunity to cast a fly or two into an area stream in search of hungry trout.
Angostura Reservoir: Boaters were enjoying steady action through the weekend with nice catches of walleye taken on a jig and minnow.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Though last weekend presented excellent walleye action with boaters catching fish of all sizes — jigging with a minnow — most fishing activity on the lake will be entering a holding pattern after wintry weather struck early in the week. Or at least until safe ice begins to form.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: With temps in the 50s, the trout bite should be on this weekend. Midday hours are obviously the key and Rapid and Spearfish Creeks the spots for best results. Nymph and streamers along with a midge hatch midday are recommended. And don’t forget Crow and Sand Creeks both of which should provide excellent dry fly fishing opportunities during early winter months.
Canyon Lake: Some trout activity in progress with spinners and jigs providing the action.
Deerfield Reservoir: Limited activity lately on the lake as ice has begun to form along shorelines making access problematic, a situation accelerated by spell of colder weather earlier in the week. Fly fishermen have had some success landing brook trout on Castle Creek below the dam.
Mitchell Lake: The Hill City area lake is icing over though ice is as yet unsafe.
Pactola Reservoir: Wind and cold deterred fishing activity this week. Not much ice forming in back bays as yet.
Spearfish Creek: The creek continues to fish well both in the canyon and in town during mid-day hours. Nymphs offerings and lead flies are working best. With colder water, stream edges are generally preferable, and with proper patience, should be rewarded.
Lake Oahe: No reports received on the big lake as winter closes in. Cold, windy, weather adds to the woes of what has been a very slow summer and fall season.
Lake Sharpe: Some walleye activity in the immediate Pierre area, at least for shore fishermen willing to cope with wind and chill therefrom.
Lake Francis Case: The Chamberlain area has been producing a walleye bite with both boaters — around the bridges — and shore fishermen working riprap areas enjoying success on minnows and small chubs.
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.