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Fishing Line, Nov. 17

Fishing Line pic

Judging by the chatter on fishing websites these days, the focus of anglers is not on today or tomorrow but a few weeks down the road as many of the postings are focused on the expectation of the ice fishing season (a list of upcoming ice fishing tournaments and related new is listed at bottom).

Probably understandable as a combination of a slow bite at many locations coupled with very windy conditions and widely varying temperatures has limited active participation. Toss in fall hunting seasons, and rods and reels are often swapped for a 12-gauge or a deer hunting rifle, and some of the smaller ponds in the area have developed an icy sheen.

Anticipation aside, however, fishable ice is likely weeks away, and for anglers seeking a chance to make a splash before the water hardens up, the weekend forecast appears promising.

And here’s a few locations where the fishing has been moderately successful.

Angostura Reservoir: Recent activity has mostly centered on a very active crappie bite near the south marina or in bays. Limited walleye activity reported, the few keepers caught lately have responded to jigs and minnows.

Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Very little activity last week due as windy conditions limited angler interest. Prior to that, anglers were occasionally catching a nice mix of walleyes while a nice crappie bite was in progress below the dam.

Black Hills Fly Fishing: Area streams continue to produce some of the best fishing action in the Black Hills area as Rapid, Spearfish and Spring Creeks have been producing plenty of trout action. Typical of this time of the year, the activity is a midday exercise for the most part best accomplished by going subsurface with either nymphs or streamers.

Deerfield Lake: No action reported as most anglers are apparently postponing the lengthy drive until ice fishing season.

Pactola Reservoir: Northern pike bite has improved lately, including some nice-sized specimens taken on creek chubs. Rainbow trout action has been persistently good throughout the summer.

Sheridan Lake: A few anglers out last week, though recent perch and trout bites have slowed somewhat though a cast with a small minnow or powerbait may stir up some perch or trout interest.

Lake Oahe: Chilly winds, a better bite on Sharpe and sporting activities directed toward hunting rather than fishing have curtailed fishing activity at present.

Lake Sharpe: Though fishing activity has slowed a bit, the lake remains a hotspot for walleye enthusiasts as limits of walleye ate being caught throughout the system. Spinners and bouncers with minnows or crankbaits have been working best for walleye.

Lake Francis Case: Not much activity reported last week. State football playoffs and too many fall activities in progress coupled with a slow walleye bite.

Ice Fishing Tournaments & News

  • SDGF&P Outdoor Campus Rapid City Ice Fishing Seminar: December 9th, 6:00-7:30 p.m. Conducted by Scott Olson, the event will offer giveaways and door prize drawings. All ages welcome. To Register, visit
  • Wild Walleye Outfitters Ice Fever Tournament: January 8, 2022, Orman Dam; Open to 50 teams ($65/team): Release form available at Call Kevin Vaugh (605-519-4286) for more info.

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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