While theories rank right up there with slight exaggeration among fishermen, evidence would seem to support the contention that fish are more active in semi-dark, overcast conditions. Grey days with ominous skies and a few snowflakes mixed in do seem to offer the setting for a great winter bite more so than warmer days to follow. With that in mind this weekend might be a ice fisherman's delight as cold, windy weather with periods of snow are predicted through the weekend. Here are some spots where recent reports have been trending upward. The toughest part of an ice fishing outing during the next few days may be the accessing ice on ice-packed highways.
Angostura Reservoir: Safe ice reported on much of the lake, though, as always, caution is advised particularly near shorelines where breakups may have occurred. Not much activity reported last week, but a few anglers out were reporting walleye activity.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): A decent if not outstanding walleye bite reported particularly off Gaden’s Point. A concern, however, is that ice has broken away from the edges in places complicating shore access to safer ice beyond. A plank or ladder may be required for safe access.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Trout bite is solid at lower elevations when temperatures climb above 30 degrees. Nymphs have been working best.
Deerfield Reservoir: Perch and lake trout are being caught most days with the best action reported in Gold Run area and on the west end of the lake.
Miami Area: For those so lucky, the sailfish, mahi mahi, kings and wahoo bites have been excellent lately as north/northeast winds have brought fish near reefs and visible on the surface. Live baiting working best in areas below 200 feet depth.
Pactola Reservoir: Lake trout and crappie bites picked up steam last week particularly in Jenney Gulch area. Also, northern pike have begun to show up. Minnows and wax worms for crappie and golden shiners for the larger species are recommended.
New Underwood Dam: Nice panfish bite reported on wax worms, red maggots and small minnows.
Roubaix Lake: The trout remain on the prowl with larger fish providing much of the action and unders infrequently caught. Jigs tipped with red maggots and plastics have been excellent attractants.
Sheridan Lake: Plenty of perch for the taking with wax worms and red spikes worked in 20-25 feet of water providing the action. Area adjacent to Highway 385 remains a hot spot and north and south marina ice have been production as well.
Stockade Lake: Some perch activity reported on small jigs and wax worms with most of the activity confined to afternoon hours.
Tisdale Lake: Crappie are usually to be had during mid-day hours with minnows and jigs the presentations of choice.
Lake Oahe: No recent activity reported,while ice should be forming up in back bays, although ice remains iffy north of Pierre. Action this weekend will be centered in Mobridge at the annual ice fishing tournament.
Lake Sharpe: Some walleye activity reported in stilling basin as ice builds up throughout the system. West Bends and areas south of Pierre are seeing some activity and producing catches of walleye, a situation which should improve as weather allows.
Lake Francis Case: No reports received.
Upcoming Fishing Tournaments
Whitney Dock Club Ice Fishing Tournament: Jan. 13 on Whitney Lake (Between Chadron and Crawford, Nebraska), $25 per ticket with 100 spots available. Call Scott Gooder (308) 430-4896 for additional info.
Sheridan Lake Fishing Derby sponsored by Walleye Unlimited: Jan. 28, perch and northern pike, one-day tournament with a $30 entry fee per team. Call (605) 348-1470 or 381-9457 for additional information.
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.