Fishing action in terms of both activity and success remained somewhat limited last week as continued warmer temperatures stunted the possibility of an early fall bite. The result: even experienced anglers were finding their quarry quite extremely elusive. Continued unseasonably hot weather in store for the next week or so clearly creates a cup half full scenario. For the optimist, conditions should be nearly idyllic. For naysayers, chances for success remain severely limited. Nonetheless, here are some locations where the cup level has the best chance for peaking.
Angostura Reservoir: A hit and miss situation with the walleye bite with some anglers coming up empty and other groups limiting out. Typically lot of movement and depth changes are required to find schools of feeding fish. Most walleye activity is found on the flats with fish located in 15-20 foot of water. Crappie bite near south marina continues. Water temperature remains on the warm side (70 degrees and warmer).
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): The walleye bite is on the negative side though anglers are picking up some smallmouth bass below the dam and near Gaden’s Point. Unfortunately, majority of catches are on the small side. Low lake capacity (approximately 40 percent), water temps in the high 60s, and oodles of bait fish in the lake all add to the difficulties at present.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Fishing activity has been scarce lately though fly fishing opportunities do continue in the hills particularly on Rapid, Castle, and Spearfish Creeks. Rapid Creek through Rapid City has been producing steady trout activity during morning hours (scuds and jigs with midge patterns have been working best).
Deerfield Reservoir: Trout bite slowed from previous week though boat fishermen were catching plenty of perch in 35-40 feet of water on small jigs and nightcrawlers.
Pactola Reservoir: A few limits of trout are being caught by boat fishermen trolling with flat fish or spinners. Also, a few lake trout are showing up at times, and bluegill activity continues in bays.
Sheridan Lake: Some big northern pike continue to show up (a 35-incher was caught on Monday morning on spinner bait. Lake has turned over so the shiniest lures and spinners are working best. Trout action continues Spring Creek inlet as does perch bite along marina bay buoy line.
Lakes Oahe: Walleye bite remains difficult in Oahe. Some action reported back in bays and in 40-50 feet water off the very end of points though activity varies by day and is greatly influenced by wind and weather. Obviously, at those depths experience and old-fashioned good luck can be the key. Trophy smallmouth bass are being caught at times utilizing live bait in 30-40 water off the tips of points.
Lake Sharpe: Antelope Creek and Fort George areas have been the walleye hotspots recently. Since Oahe continues slow 20-50 boats are typically on the lake at any given time, a situation that can be congested though most boats are fishing current so is doable. Working 10-15 feet of water with crawler/bouncer rigs is working best.
Lake Francis Case: No reports received from the Chamberlain area. That no one is buying bait probably speaks to fishing activity at present.
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.