Ice fishing prospects remain positive in area lakes and streams though fluctuations in weather sometime dim the enthusiasm of both fishermen and quarry. A Friday high in the mid-40s will give way to cooler weather though the remainder of next week, a situation that should solidify ice conditions and ensure safety. Fishing low elevation streams is subject to similar patterns with most of the successful activity confined to daylight hours with temperature above freezing. With conditions generally ripe for success, the Black Hills Stock Show winding down this weekend, and football finally closing out the season with Sunday’s Super Bowl, a fishing outing might be just the ticket for the winter time blues. And a reminder to procrastinators, general hunting and fishing licenses expired on Wednesday, so be sure to get legal.
Angostura Reservoir: Not a lot of activity on the lake last week though recent reports have been positive regarding walleye activity as anglers working jigs and minnows at depths of 20-30 feet of water have generally been successful.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): A fishing tournament this past weekend demonstrated that the walleye bite continues to be fairly steady with plenty of fish caught. Though the winning fish was in the eight pound range, a majority of the fish caught were on the small side with every few overs showing up. Off the dam seems to be the current hot spot. Ice depths on the lake are excellent (12-15 inches in most places) though access to the main sheet of ice can be iffy in spots most notably in the Fruitdale area. And, as always, particular attention needs to be given to the buildup of pressure ridges on the lake.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Fishing remains steady depending upon current weather pattern. On days above freezing and not too windy, midges have been hatching bring fish to the surface. Nymph fishing is good as well with smaller midge larva patterns.
Deerfield Reservoir: Lake trout remain active in the dam area and perch bite remains ongoing in the Gold Run area with fish typically located at depths of 30-40 feet and responding to wax worms and red maggots. Sorting, however, is required as smaller fish make up majority of fish caught.
Horsethief Lake: Limits of trout reportedly taken last week on powerbait and red spikes.
Pactola Reservoir: Anglers were finding plenty of lake trout activity last week with a number of fish in the 30 inch range taken on shiners at depths of 50-70 feet of water. Also, over the weekend a 23-pound northern pike was taken by spear. The bluegill bite remains on going on the south end of the lake by anglers using small jigs and wax worms in 10-20 feet of water. And brown trout remain active as well favoring small minnows.
Roubaix Lake: Limits of trout reported with lots of nice rainbow over 14 inches included in the mix. Powerbait and wax worms or jigs tipped with red maggots are working best.
Sheridan Lake: The Walleye’s Unlimited Tournament was conducted over the weekend with 122 teams participating in the northern pike and perch dhivisions. Sizable numbers of perch were caught including some over a pound. The winning team weighing in 25 perch with a total weight of 12.64 pounds. Most of the northern pike caught in the tournament were on the small side with the largest fish weighing in a 11 pounds.
Stockade Lake: Though the lake has been somewhat quiet, a few limits of bluegill were caught last week on small jigs and wax worms.
Lake Oahe: The Spring Creek and Cow Creek areas have been producing some nice northerns both by hook and spear. And the walleye activity has been steady in the Mobridge and Pollock areas. For anglers who like to double-dip, goose hunting in the area is reportedly excellent at present.
Lake Sharpe: Open water below the dam has been producing walleye for boaters willing to embrace the elements. Six to eight boats have been showing up on occasion and catching some decent fish including a 25-inch specimen. West Bend and Joe Creek areas are producing fish though, unfortunately, many of the fish are being caught in the old river channel at depths of 30-40 feet of water and when raised to surface rapidly air bladders rupture reducing size and are frequently discarded.
Lake Francis Case: Not a lot of activity reported last week though the a few walleye have been showing up near Cedar Shores and around the bridges.
Upcoming Fishing Tournaments
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.
The Roosters Annual West River Ice Fishing Tournament: The year-long contest features prizes awarded for largest catch in a variety of species. Contact The Rooster in Rapid City for additional details.
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.