Another weekend of nasty weather kept many anglers off the ice this past weekend. Though snow and cold doesn’t much affect the dedicated ice fishermen on the ice given the state of the art accoutrements currently available, getting to and from the lake on slippery roads can easily skid the pleasure out such an adventure.
The roller coaster weather continues for the week ahead as mid-30 degree days will alternate with temps near single digits and periods of snow. On a positive note, some of the best winter fishing occurs during cloudy days in advance of changing weather fronts. With that in mind, drive safely.
As for those preferring warmer weather as part of their fishing experience, a message to warm the heart. South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks recently announced that this Saturday is the first day to make campsite and cabin reservations at South Dakota State Parks. A nice reminder that even the coldest most wintry days are but “one day closer to spring”.
In the meantime, here are some locations where ice fishermen have been finding the action (for the most part) hot and heavy.
Angostura Reservoir: The walleye bite was fair last week with a 6.3 pound specimen included among limits caught. Walleye jigs and minnows worked at depths of 20-30 feet of water are working best.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Numbers were down last week: anglers because of nasty weather conditions and fishing interest on the other end of the line since fish didn’t seem to have much of an appetite. There were a few walleye and perch caught, limited numbers with the action quite widespread. The dam and Gadens Point were probably the busiest areas.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Most of the best fly fishing action has been taking place on Rapid Creek in town, Spearfish Creek in town, and on Sand and Castle Creeks where some of the warmest waters in the Black Hills are currently present. Warmer days — temps above freezing — with good midge hatches are best this time of the year. And with fish on surface, a dry-dropper should stir the waters.
Deerfield Reservoir: Perch bite remains steady in the Gold Run area and around the boat ramp. Fish are typically located in 30-40 feet of water and responding to wax worms and red maggots on tungsten ice jigs. A few rainbow trout are being caught though laker action has slowed.
Durkee Lake: Northern pike bite remains excellent with golden shiners on pike rigs working best. Some perch activity also reported with small minnows the bait of choice.
Pactola Reservoir: Lake trout action continues to be hot with nice-sized fish showing up as well including a 33-inch laker caught and released last week. Judging by accounts of fish so large on the line that anglers could not prevent reel from spooling, super big fish are down there. Leech flutter spoons are best for jigging while golden shiners remain the best bet otherwise. Bluegill action continues in south bays on wax worms and small teardrop jigs.
Roubaix Lake: No reports received last week though rainbow trout have been active lately on powerbait and wax worms or jigs tipped with red maggots.
Sheridan Lake: Fishing success at Sheridan remains slow with catches limited to a few perch and an occasional northern pike and that’s about it. Beautiful location and scenery helps to offset disappointment however.
Lake Oahe: Most of the walleye action on the lake is at points north including a 15 ½ pound specimen caught in the Pollock area last week. Farther south, there has been some northern pike activity near Spring and Cow Creeks.
Lake Sharpe: Weather dictates interest and on days when winds aren’t whipping, the West Bend and Joe Creek areas have been producing walleye in deeper waters near the old channel. Unfortunately, most of the fish are under 15 inches. Closer to Pierre, Farm Island has been producing some catches of walleye and panfish.
Lake Francis Case: Other than a few diehards, very little fishing activity reported recently. Weather has kept fishermen close to home with most of the outings near Cedar Shores.
Upcoming Fishing Tournaments and Other Fish Related Items
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 ongoing, The Rooster is conducting a “Laker Olympics at Pactola” contest with a $1,000 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.