Ice shacks have been the salvation of ice fishermen the last week or so. Fortunately, Mother Nature will be offering up a brief reprieve during Super Bowl weekend with temperatures expected to soar into the high 40s. With that anglers should be able to enjoy a little sunshine on fishing jaunts this weekend. Nonetheless, despite the recent spell of frigid wind chills, a number of intrepid anglers have been testing the waters in recent days, and had their audacity rewarded as the fishing has remained quite good in the Black Hills area lakes. Ice buildup along shorelines of area streams has hampered trout fishing thereon though warming temperatures forecast for the next few days should free up ice and opportunities.
For anglers looking for an opportunity to catch a fish or two before Sunday’s late afternoon Super Bowl, here are some locations possibly worthy of consideration.
Also, note that general hunting and fishing licenses expire on January 31.
Angostura Reservoir: There is workable ice, particularly along shorelines, though not much fishing activity reported recently. A walleye here or there taken in Horsehead and Shep’s Canyon sums it up at present. As elsewhere, warmer weather over the weekend may shake out some interest.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Weather has virtually shut down fishing activity recently with but a handful of anglers venturing out. Not surprising given that the few walleye caught recently have been taken during evening hours, a very cold and unattractive scenario for most anglers. Rather amazingly, given the recent cold and wind, there is still open water near Gaden’s Point.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Warming weather over the weekend should clear up ice along shorelines on area streams and open up a nice trout bite with the onset of midge hatches, particularly hours from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Nymphs and streamers are recommended during other times of the day.
Custer State Park lakes: Perch, crappie and sunfish activity typically available on Center and Legion lake on waxworms and small jigs tipped with a minnow.
Deerfield Reservoir: Anglers continue to limit out on perch though sorting is required as small fish predominate. And trout bite remains ongoing on waxworms or small shiners. A few lake trout are being taken as well on smelt or shiners.
Pactola Reservoir: An active bite on the south end between the visitor’s center and the boat ramp and in Jenney Gulch with northern pike showing up on golden shiners, and some nice-sized lake trout (30-inch plus) caught as well. Ice conditions are excellent in bays though the area off the northern boat dock out toward Veteran’s Point is iffy and caution advised.
New Wall Lake: Reports of pike, crappie, perch and bass activity last week. bites of the few positive reports from small prairie lakes as ice (carefully probed) appears to be safe and anglers were finding some panfish activity last week.
Sheridan Lake: The weekend fishing tournament produced large numbers of perch, mostly small. And, perhaps surprisingly, large numbers of northern pike (smelt and golden shiners) were caught--reportedly 50-60 pike taken including a 21-pound specimen by the winning team. Perch are located in 15-25 feet of water and responding to waxworms, maggots, and small minnows while smelt and golden shiners have been attracting pike.
Stockade Lake: Perch and crappie bites (maggots and waxworms) continue and trout were active last week responding to a half a crawler. Some pike activity (golden shiners) reported on the west side of the lake.
Lake Oahe: Check wind chill. Enough said.
Lake Sharpe: A brief spell of above freezing weather over the weekend—Friday thru Sunday — will provide a brief window of fishing opportunity for area below the dam and around bridges, boat or otherwise. Otherwise has been much too cold in that area. Farther south, ice should be solid and ice fishermen comfortably situated in shacks able to enjoy walleye bite.
Lake Francis Case: Little to no activity as temperatures have been too cold to venture out.
Upcoming Ice Fishing Tournaments (applications and info available at area fishing supply stores):
• Feb. 23: Hooked on Hardwater ice fishing tournament at Deerfield Lake sponsored by The Club for Boys. The annual tournament matches 60 club members with 60 pro fishermen from the around the ice belt for a morning of fishing. The outing is preceded by a Friday night pro and member social. For more information, contact The Club for Boys, (605) 343-3500.
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), Horsecreek Inn and Campground, 23570, Hill City, and Angostura State Resort have contributed to this report.