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Fishing Line: Walleye and trout becoming steady as waters warm

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A fairly steady walleye bite at the tips and steady trout activity in the Black Hills appears to be the norm in the region despite a spell of cool, occasionally rainy weather hovering over the area.

Angostura, somewhat surprisingly perhaps after a couple of lean years, and Orman have been producing active walleye bites, a situation varying depending upon weather particularly pesky winds.

And trout of all types have been showing up in Black Hills lakes as well as streams where water flows are excellent at present.

Keep in mind that “steady” is a variable, depending upon time and place, as well as the skill of the particular angler at work. However, despite the occasional naysayer, most fishing reports indicate a nice degree of success as waters warm and species typically traffic the warm water spots of lakes and streams.

Though, as mentioned, cooler weather will continue into the first weeks of June, the present is an excellent time to venture out before recreational visitors and summer tourist’s amp up activity in the area.

Regardless, here’s a brief look at what’s been happening. And possibly a portent of what might await.

Angostura Reservoir:  Walleye bite remains steady. Fish are showing up in shallow water, 10-15 feet, seeking warmth until lake temps climb above 60 degrees, and understandably during midday hours. Inlets and points should be hot spots as well. Crawler combinations appear to be working best though trial and error may be needed. Smallmouth bass activity reported as well.  

Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Walleye bite is scattered (Fruitdale area has been active), though should continue to improve as water temps climb into the 60’s (currently 57). Walleye are being located at depths of 12-15 feet of water and responding to bottom bouncers and minnows or worms. Some white bass activity reported as well.

Black Hills Area Streams: Water levels have been excellent and area streams have been fishing well. Rapid Creek had been trout active throughout the system including through the city. Nymphs and streamers remain steady performers, and dry fly-fishing opportunities abound as well. Castle and Spearfish Creeks are producing in similar fashion.

Curlew Lake: Reports have been sketchy. Some bass and panfish action reported while others have been coming up empty. Anglers allowed the opportunity to make their own history.

Custer State Park Lakes: Catches of trout reported in most locations with fish receptive to a variety of presentations. Center lake continues to be a steady producer.

Deerfield Reservoir: Fishing activity remains slow, probably due to somewhat remote locations and cooler weather. Limits of perch likely an easy option particularly for boaters with electronics and easy access to current hot spots.  

Mitchell Lake: The lake keeps coming up on the radar as a trout fishing hot spot at present.

Pactola Reservoir: Rainbow trout bite remains excellent on a variety of presentations. Veterans Point and south marina areas have been hotspots. Some northern pike activity (chubs and smelt) reported in gulches on occasion.

Roubaix Lake: Trout activity is the norm particularly during morning hours. And on a wide variety of presentations. Lake will become busy as soon as campgrounds fill up, which can be a hindrance to easy access fishing.

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

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: Varied opinions galore as to the possibility of finding some northern pike action. A pot luck situation likely it would appear.

Lake Oahe: Walleye bite on the upper stretches of the Missouri River remains excellent, with limits the rule rather than exception. Bite is tougher on the south end though bite is improving at Bush’s, Spring Creek and in mouth of Cheyenne. 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.

Lake Sharpe: Excellent walleye action throughout the system. As above the dam, 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. Platte area has been busier with plentiful walleye activity as well as smallmouth bass.

Area Fishing Tournaments

  • First Father’s Day Tournament conducted by Fall River Swim Team: Angostura Reservoir, June 17 and 18. Three-person teams ($120). Registration is 6 p.m., Friday, June 17 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: gfp.sd.gov/events/.

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 182, Pierre (605-264-5303) have contributed to this report.

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