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Fishing Line: Trout fishing remains promising despite the heat

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Fishing activity remains somewhat a captive to the current heat wave in the Black Hills area, most notably on large prairie lakes like Angostura and Orman. Despite the slowdown in those bodies of water, experienced anglers are catching walleye albeit at a sometime slower pace than desired.

On a more positive note, trout fishing aficionados are having no trouble locating activity as the higher elevation lakes continue to produce excellent bites of trout in lake and stream along with a nice mix of perch, bass and crappie action.

And fortunately, the blistering heat of the last few days is predicted to dip a bit over the weekend with midday temps dropping into the 80’s

Otherwise, fishing opportunities remain strong in the Black Hills area and on the Missouri River though the bite has slowed to some extent also, a victim of hot, and occasionally, very windy weather.

Here follows a brief peek at what’s been happening.

Angostura Reservoir:  The walleye bite has slowed as the fish are more scattered and at deeper depths. Nonetheless, limits are being taken by combinations of vertical jigging, and open water trolling with crankbaits or live-bait rigging. And bass and crappie are available in closer to shore weedy areas.

Bear Butte: Walleye and bullhead activity reported.

Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Walleye activity has slowed considerably over the past week or so as fish are scattered and gone deep. Trolling with leeches and worms is working best. Fish are congregated near weed beds where bait fish are more easily located.

Black Hills Area Streams: Warming waters and lowered flows have slowed fishing in smaller streams though Rapid, Castle and Spearfish Creeks all are producing nice trout bites, particularly at higher elevations. Dry fly and nymph fishing remain excellent in those streams as bug hatches continue to setup well for dry dropper rigs.

Curlew Lake: Lake has been producing bass, catfish and the occasional walleye.

Custer State Park Lakes: No change here. Trout activity remains excellent at all locations with Center Lake a particular standout. Bass, perch, crappie and the occasional northern have been showing up at Stockade.

Deerfield Reservoir: With the hot weather, the lake has become a more attractive alternative for anglers seeking large lake activity. Trout and perch bites have been steady. Perch are being located off the bottom in 20-25 feet of water.  Crawlers and powerbait have been working best.

Horsethief, Lacota and Roubaix Lakes: Trout activity remains excellent with fish responding to a variety of presentations including minnows, crawlers and spinner baits.

Pactola Reservoir: Trout and bluegills have been active as well as perch. Crawlers and spinners are working well for both species. A few northern pike are being caught in bays on chubs or smelt.

Sheridan Lake: Perch and bluegill bites are thriving with minnows, crawlers and spinner baits working best.

Lake Oahe: Walleye bite has dropped off somewhat due to hot weather and windy conditions on the lake though limits are being caught (last weekend’s Governor’s Cup saw 179 teams average five or so fish over the two day span). Catches include some nice-sized specimens though a lot of smaller fish may need to be discarded. Minnow and crawler rigs are working as are trolling plugs with leeches. Depths vary considerably (25-35 feet of water).

Lake Sharpe: With the 15-inch requirement dropped after July 1, limits of walleye are mostly a given for the truly dedicated angler(s) willing to withstand heavy river traffic. Bottom bouncers and spinner crawler rigs are working best. Fish are being located in 15-20 feet of water. The bite has slowed somewhat farther south though West Bend area has been producing plenty of walleye and smallmouth bass activity.

Lake Francis Case: Walleye bite remains excellent below the dam at Fort Thompson and in Chamberlain area. Fish, typically small, have been located in 16-18 feet of water and responding to bottom bouncers with crawlers.

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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