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Fishing Line, April 27

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Canyon Lake Park 20200325

Archer Varcoe, right, keeps a close watch on his lines, hoping for a catch while he fished at Canyon Lake Park in Rapid City with his stepfather Michael Davis and his dog Arrow on March 25, 2020.

A wit once said: “Fishing: the art of jigging, casting, trolling or spinning while freezing, sweating, swatting or swearing.”

Obviously, a sage with considerable fishing experience. And much of that experience possibly in South Dakota judging by recent weather that continues to play havoc with angling opportunities and success in the western part of the state.

While the week ahead doesn’t appear short-sleeve weather by any means, the forecast does indicate temps in the low to mid-50’s with the prospect of diminishing winds and much needed precipitation in the form of rain rather than snow.

With that the spring spawn, if not yet done, may finally play out and fish may once again put on the feed bag.

Angostura Reservoir: Fishing activity was limited last week for the reasons stated above though a few walleye—including a 24-inch specimen-was caught. Bite remains slow across though board though the occasional bass, catfish and perch have been showing up occasion.

Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Waters are extremely muddy from the combination of rain and wind making finding fish a very tough go. The same mix of weather has contributed to a stop-and-go walleye spawn though should be winding up soon.

Black Hills Area Streams: Spearfish and Rapid Creek—below Pactola--are fishing well. Nymph fishing has the best of it though dry fly fishing opportunities exist as well. Water levels remain low and trout are typically stacked up in deep holes. Nymphs remain the baits of choice.

Custer State Park Lakes: Mostly wait-and-see at present due to weather. Some trout activity reported.

Pactola Reservoir: Rainbow trout remain active responding to a variety of presentations. Veterans Point and south marina have been serving up trout and perch. Some pike activity in bays though remains somewhat limited.

Sheridan Lake: Not much fishing activity reported as yet. Hit-and-miss bites of largemouth bass activity, perch and trout on occasion.

Lake Oahe: When wind allows, pike and catfish are being caught in in creek outlets and bays. Water temps remain in low 40 degrees and continue to hamper a walleye spawn that should be going full tilt in early May. Water levels are extremely low as well and river access can be a muddy affair.

Lake Sharpe: The walleye bite picked up early in the week as winds subsided. Walleye are starting to stack up as weather warms. Some action in stilling basin and below the dam though best bite is perhaps a bit farther downstream where water temps are higher. Jigging remains the recommended option though bottom bouncers will come on line as water warms.

Lake Francis Case: Fishing activity has been somewhat better than farther north as water temps are slightly higher and spawn wrapping up. Some walleye activity below the dam at Ft. Thompson but best bet is farther south in the Platte area.


• Center of the Nation Walleye Tournament: May 7th & 8th, Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman Dam). $7,850 in prize money. 76 two-man teams only ($200/team). Call 605-595-7982 for additional information.

• Angostura Spring Walleye Tournament: May 14th & 15th. Pre-registration only. Call Cal @ 605-484-1391 for additional information.

• Jared Roe Memorial Walleye Tournament: June 4th, Angostura. Call Jerry Roe (605-484-3494) for additional information.

• First Father’s Day Tournament conducted by Fall River Swim Team: Angostura Reservoir, June 17th and 18th. Three-person teams ($120). Registration is 6 p.m., Friday, June 17th at picnic shelter, Call Stacy Reetz (605-890-1484) for additional details.

• For State Wide Fishing Tournaments, visit South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks website:

Dakota Angler & Outfitter, 513 Seventh St., Rapid City; The Rooster, 1441 W. Main St., Rapid City; Wheel in Bait Shop, 18696 Fisherman’s Road, Fruitdale, and West Prairie Resort, 28354 182nd, Pierre (605-264-5303) have contributed to this report.

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