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Fishing Line: Stabilizing water levels in creeks should allow easier access to trout

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The inconsistent weather that has plagued the Black Hills area recently is predicted to give way to a stretch of pleasant temperatures and sunny skies heading into the weekend and through next week. And, from a fishing perspective, the balmy weather should allow water temps in area lakes to climb back into levels more receptive to an active fish bite.

In area creeks, the stretch of good weather should allow water levels to stabilize, and clear up some of the stained water created by runoff from recent rains allowing for easier access to the hungry trout in Black Hills streams.

Though the recent weather negatively affected fishing to some extent, reports have remained fairly positive, with walleye activity continuing at Orman and Angostura, trout and a mix of other species in higher elevation lakes and trout action staying on the busy side in area streams.

All in all, at least for the moment, the month of June appears to be settling into a nice pattern conducive to fishing and other outdoor activities.

With that very positive perspective in mind, here’s a brief review at what’s been happening on the fishing front in recent days.

Angostura Reservoir: Walleye activity is reportedly steady, a much welcome situation considering the dismal bite of the last few years. Fish are situated shallow, 10-15 feet, and responding to a variety of presentations from jigs and minnows to spinner baits and bottom bouncers with crawlers. Smallmouth bass activity reported as well.  

Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): The weather continues to exert a considerable influence on the walleye bite in the lake. Anglers have been finding action — plenty of overs, some slots, and much fewer unders— when water temps climb to acceptable levels. And then cooler, rainy weather intrudes, drops temps, and the bite falls as well. Walleye are typically located in 12-15 feet of water and responding to bottom bouncers and minnows or worms. White bass have also been active.

Black Hills Area Streams: Water levels have improved as recent rains have raised levels, though waters can be stained which has impacted dry fly-fishing opportunities. Rapid, Spearfish and Castle Creeks are all fishing well. Nymph fishing remains excellent and streamer fishing has improved as well.

Curlew Lake: Depending upon recent reports, either a “dead sea” or a source for occasional nice catches of bass and panfish. Make your own history.

Custer State Park Lakes: Catches of trout reported in most locations with fish receptive to a variety of presentations. Center lake reportedly stands out as an active source.

Deerfield Reservoir: More of the same. Reports are few and far between. Likely, the perch action is probably a go-to option, particularly for boaters with electronics able to locate fish and work proper depths.   

Lakota Lake: Excellent trout bite in progress, including a mix of nice-sized specimens. Also, bluegill and perch are active as well. Nightcrawlers worked near the bottom has been working best.

Pactola Reservoir: Perch bite has picked up recently, and trout action continue to be steady. Action is scattered though Veterans Point and south marina area have been consistent producers. Occasional pike activity (chubs and smelt) as well as lake trout at depths.

Roubaix Lake: Trout activity most days.

Shadehill Reservoir: Reports of walleye activity remain positive though preponderance of fish caught are on the small side. Crawlers recommended.

Sheridan Lake: Trout and panfish activity has been steady, particularly from boats. Perch and largemouth bass bites are normal. Minnows, crawlers and spinner baits are all producing action.

Tisdale Lake: Pike activity reported though bite has been inconsistent as fish are scattered.

Lake Oahe: Walleye bite on the upper stretches of the Missouri remains excellent with limits the rule rather than exception. Activity is picking up at locations farther south particularly in the mouth of the Cheyenne and Spring and Cow Creeks. Fish remain shallow for the most part (10 feet or less) and minnows remain the best option though crawlers are starting to work as water temps climb. Also, salmon have been showing up at depths — 60-70 feet — on down riggers.

Lake Sharpe: Excellent walleye action throughout the system. Fish are shallow (10-12 feet of water) and responding to minnows and nightcrawlers. With temps warming, the docks can be busy particularly on the weekends, an encouragement to perhaps plan midweek excursions if possible.

Lake Francis Case: Walleye activity has improved in Chamberlain area as water temps improve. Fish are shallow (10-15 feet of water) and have been responding to minnows, small spinners and crankbaits. Small mouth bass action reported as well. Platte area has been busier with plentiful walleye activity as well as smallmouth bass. Similar action at points south on crankbaits and bottom bouncers.

Area Fishing Tournaments

  • 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.
  • First Annual Wild Walleye Outfitters Fall Brawl: October 8-9, Belle Fourche Reservoir: 60 team limit; registration form available on Wild Walleye Outfitters website or call Kevin Vaughn (605-519-4286) for more information.
  • 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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