With a reprieve of sorts from the weather disturbances that have beset the area in recent weeks predicted for the coming week, perhaps warming temps and decreasing winds will spark an improvement in fishing conditions throughout the area as well.
Also, the cold temps have kept water temperature on the chilly side as well thereby hampering the walleye spawn in most lakes.
A mix of snow and high winds kept boats ashore for the most part last week though the few shore fishermen who braved the inclement weather did have some success.
Here’s a quick glimpse of what’s been happening in the Black Hills and Western South Dakota.
Angostura Reservoir: A weekend fishing tournament provided proof that walleye remain present and catchable as approximately 220 fish were caught by the 60 teams in action with the winning team weighing in 12 fish at a little over 23 pounds. On a less positive note, 12 boats came up empty.
Bear Butte: Catches of crappie and walleye being caught on jigs and minnows as well as a few northern pike in the two-to-four-pound range on chubs and shiners.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): High winds continued to slowdown fishing activity last week with few anglers willing to test the temps. Most of the action, walleye and catfish in recent weeks, had been limited to the canal and dam area.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: As elsewhere, the weather hampered fishing activity in area creeks last week. Nonetheless, the trout bite in the Hills has been excellent with great dry fly opportunities stemming from midges and blue winged olive hatches. Nymph fishing has been good as well.
Center Lake: Trout bite remains hot and heavy with limits taken daily on a variety of presentations.
Deerfield Lake: No reports have been received during the last couple weeks as anglers are likely biding time until the lake fully transitions from ice to open water fishing.
New Wall Dam: Shore fishermen have been catching crappies on small jigs and small minnows. And, a few northern have been caught on shiners.
Newell Lake: Despite low water level of the lake, some walleye action and a few nice crappie have been showing up on jigs and minnows
Pactola Reservoir: Rainbow trout bite remains excellent with limits of 14–18-inch specimens being caught on powerbait and trout spinners near both north and south marina areas.
Sheridan Lake: Rainbow trout bite reported near Dakota Point and spillway. Some northern pike action as well on occasion with the best of it near Highway 385. South boat ramp is now installed.
Lake Oahe: In addition to keeping boats off the big lake, the high winds in the region coupled with consistently cool temps have kept the water temperature in the lake below the 42–43-degree level needed to spur spawning thus curtailing walleye activity. Shore fishermen, however, are finding an active northern pike bite in back bays.
Lake Sharpe: The walleye bite should start popping soon as the fish are stacked up in pre-spawn mode all the way from the dam to the Ft. George area. Farther downstream, the West Bend and Joe Creek areas where the waters typically warm more quickly should heat us as well. Small jigs and minnows worked slowly via trolling or anchored and casting behind current breaks are likely the best recipes for success.
Lake Francis Case: Excellent walleye bite continues in Chamberlain area.
• Saturday, April 24: 23rd Annual Lake Francis Case Fishing Tournament. Contact Scott Lewis (605-730-0283) for more information. Entry deadline was April 21.
• April 24-25: Walleyes Unlimited Angostura Spring Walleye Classic: $120 per boat with 60 boat limit. Call (605) 381-5300 or (605) 390-0567 for more info or send application to P.O Box 9574, Rapid City, SD 57709.
• April 29-30: National Walleye Tour, Chamberlain. Visit nationalwalleyetour.com for additional information.
• June 5: 5th Annual Jared Roe Memorial Walleye Tournament at Angostura. Info available at jaredroememorial.com or on Facebook.
• June 19: Father’s Day Tournament at Angostura sponsored by Fall River Swim team, 3-person teams ($120). Contact Jeff Reetz (email@example.com or call 605-890-1595.
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; West Prairie Resort, 28354 182nd, Pierre (605-264-5303), Horsecreek Inn and Campground, 23570, and Angostura State Rert have contributed to this report.