Memorial Day weekend in South Dakota typically signals the kickoff of the recreational season for outdoor enthusiasts. And as such a welcome reprieve from the sometimes-troublesome spring weather.
The anticipation level is likely amped up even more so this year with the coronavirus impacting normal day-to-day activities across a wide spectrum of society. Added incentive to mix more with nature: the American Institute of Stress points out that time spent in nature helps to reduce tension and release endorphins that promote happiness.
And for those who wish to incorporate some fishing into an outing, here’s a brief look at spots where success might best enhance the experience.
Angostura Reservoir: An on again, off again pattern continues with some anglers reporting success on minnow and jig offerings. For others, the experience is a couple of fish caught followed by a lengthy dry spell as fish are scattered electronics often a must. Also, some smallmouth bass in the 17-18-inch range have been showing up on minnows.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Despite a multitude of campers at the lake, high winds and rain limited fishing activity last week. A few walleye have been showing up though the majority fall within the 15-17-inch range necessitating release. A few catfish and smallmouth bass are being caught as well.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: High stream flows continue though dryer weather ahead should setup excellent fishing opportunities. Nymphs are the go-to option at present a dry fly floated may spur some action as well.
Curlew Lake: Crappie action reported on small jigs and minnows.
Deerfield Reservoir: Lake trout in the eight to ten-pound range have being showing up on large minnows.
Horsethief Lake: Trout activity reported on powerbait and jigs and minnows.
New Underwood Dam: Some bluegill activity reported on nightcrawlers and slip bobbers worked in six to eight feet of water. And a few catfish are being taken on shrimp and stink bait during evening hours.
Pactola Reservoir: Trout activity continues to be good on powerbait and trout spinners, and a few lake trout in the five to ten-pound range are being caught on chubs and smelt. And shore fishermen are catching bluegill and crappie in bays on the south side.
Shade Hill Reservoir: Reports indicate that walleye action is improving though no additional information is available at this time.
Stockade Lake: Bass action is picking up as the water warms. Lures and large minnows recommended.
Lake Oahe: A combination of low water temps (low 50s) and high winds put the kibosh on fishing activity last week. On a positive note, cleaning stations and bathrooms are now open. as well so a spell of good weather should lead to better days ahead. Do, however, check the SDG&F website to note boat ramp closures in some areas (shore fishermen is allowed). Walleye activity recently has been largely restricted to the shallow waters of bays back in the Cheyenne River on jig and minnow presentations.
Lake Sharpe: Limits of walleye and smallmouth bass are being caught most days. Fish are still in shallows as water temps remain in the low 50s. Bouncer/minnow and flicker shad plugs are working best. West Bend area appears to be the current hotspot.
Lake Francis Case: As elsewhere, high winds kept boaters off the lake last week. Limits have been taken recently most notably in the Crow Creek and Kiowa areas.
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 Resort have contributed to this report
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