With the onset of typical fall and school related activities, fishing activity has slowed somewhat. And, unfortunately, the walleye bite in the Black Hills area has been on a similar trajectory as activity in the large prairie lakes has cratered due to warmer waters sending fish deep and more difficult to locate. And swarms of baitfish are clouding the waters.
With those situations in play, “head to the high country” would seem to be the appropriate rallying cry for would-be angers at present as trout action in area streams and mountain lakes remains excellent.
Though flows in area trout streams have dropped a bit, a forecast of cooler weather with the chance of rain showers should nicely stir what are now relatively clear waters.
Also, late summer and lowered water levels sets up excellent catfish action in the area particularly in area prairie rivers and lakes.
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Here’s a brief peek at what’s been happening.
Angostura Reservoir: Very much a hit-and-miss walleye bite at present with the “miss” the holding the more dominant occurrence. The few walleyes caught are showing up in 25-35 feet of water and responding to cranks and crawlers. Some bass, catfish and carp activity reported.
Bear Butte: Occasional walleye are being caught though panfish and bullheads are more commonly hooked.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Fishing activity remains slow with but few anglers out as water level drops and bait fish levels rise. Lake is currently at 64% capacity, a situation that effectively curbs shore fishing opportunities.
Black Hills Area Streams: Rapid, Castle and Spearfish Creeks remain trout fishing hotspots as those streams have the best mix of flows and water temps. Rapid Creek is fishing well throughout the system. Hoppers and terrestrials worked in early morning hours is the best bet.
Custer State Park Lakes: Trout activity typically found on most days on a variety of presentations.
Deerfield Reservoir: Not much activity reported though likely trout and perch are quite active. Perch are usually suspended a couple of feet off the bottom. And trout wherever a fly or lure is presented.
Horsethief, Lacota, Mirror and Roubaix Lakes: Trout action typically available with fish responding to a variety of presentations including minnows, crawlers and spinner baits.
Pactola Reservoir: Trout and bluegill bites reported in bays and points on south end of lake.
Sheridan Lake: Fishing activity has slowed as elsewhere though perch, bluegill and trout bites can usually be located. Minnows, crawlers and spinner baits are all working effectively.
Lake Oahe: Walleye bite is scattered up and down the system. Picked up a bit up north though has remained hit-and-miss farther south. Depths vary as well with fish located anywhere from 15-40 feet depths. Mostly a bottom bouncer/crawler bite worked along points and structures where bait fish are more prolific. Smallmouth bass and catfish action continues as well. Some salmon activity continues near dam with squid and riggers or divers at depths of 85 feet or more.
Lake Sharpe: Walleye activity has slowed somewhat largely due to large baitfish populations. Nightcrawler/bouncer rigs worked in 25-40 feet of water has been working best. Excellent catfish action below the dam.
Lake Francis Case: Limits of walleye are the norm particularly for anglers utilizing guide services. Walleye catches have been averaging 13-18 inch in size. Are showing up in 15 feet of water and responding to spinners and bottom bouncers.
Dakota Angler & Outfittter, 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.