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FISHING LINE

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fishing line

The varoom of motorcycle traffic and the very busy traffic resulting has created a bye week of sorts in area fishing as many anglers have elected to bide their time until a degree of normalcy returns to Western South Dakota. And daytime temps drop a bit and cooler nights begin to lower water temps raising fish to more workable depths.

Fortunately, area streams are still producing plenty of trout action for those who wish to hike the fly rod to a spot of water off the beaten path. Water levels are low on secondary streams though, and the best action is thus found on Rapid, Castle and Spearfish creeks.

And for those looking for a temporary reprieve from motorcycle traffic in the area, the walleye bite on the Missouri remains relatively strong.

Here’s a look at what’s been happening in the area. And what might be in store once 700,000 or so people depart the area.

Angostura Reservoir: Water level is low and coupled with warm water temps and fish gone deep has slowed walleye activity. Crappie bite remains fairly strong with Sheps Canyon the busiest area and small jigs with either minnows or plastic worms the baits of choice. Also, a few smallmouth bass in the two-to-three-pound range have been showing up on spinner/crawler presentations.

Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Fishing activity is understandably very slow this week as rally activities have curtailed angler traffic. However, the few walleye fishermen out have been enjoying some success given that the lake is only at 60% capacity at present. Searching may be required as fish are scattered though once found have been responding to orange and yellow spinner/crawler combinations.

Bismarck Lake: Trout bite continues particularly during early morning hours as well as some largemouth bass activity. Spinners and crawlers or minnows recommended.

Black Hills Fly Fishing: With diminishing water levels, Rapid, Castle and Spearfish Creeks are current waters to work. And for anglers who wish to stay close to the city with current volume of road traffic, Rapid Creek has been producing nice catches from Canyon Lake throughout the city. Numerous bug hatches have amped up trout activity. Castle Creek is fishing well below Deerfield Reservoir creating plenty of dry fly-fishing opportunities.

Deerfield Reservoir: Perch, as usual, are activity particularly on small jigs and crawlers worked two or three feet off the bottom in 25 to 30 feet of water. Trout activity remains steady as well with the fish located in deeper water.

New Underwood Dam: A few nice-sized bass were reportedly caught last week. Catfish and bullhead remain active in shallows and near bottom as well.

Pactola Reservoir: Early morning or late afternoon hour activity is producing limits of trout. And perch and bluegill have been feeding on worm presentations. The Veterans Point and south marina have been the most productive locales. Also, a few lakers are showing up on occasion for those anglers willing to take the extra steps to go deep.

Sheridan Lake: Perch have been active. Are typically suspended two to three feet off the bottom in 25-30 feet of water and responding to crawlers and small jigs. Best opportunities for action appear centered at the South end of lake and in vicinity of marina docks.

Lake Oahe: Walleye bite has slowed somewhat though cooler temps on tap for the coming week may spark some activity. Fish are deep (30-50 feet of water) and are often located near underwater trees and other structures. Spinner/crawlers appear to be working best. Smallmouth bass and catfish bites are strong at present. And salmon continue to show up (on herring or squid) not only near dam but farther upstream as well.

Lake Sharpe: Walleye bite remains steady. Fish are scattered at various depths ranging from 10-30 feet of water. Eaters typically available from the dam to West Bend area. Crawlers and leeches are recommended.

Lake Francis Case: Steady though unspectacular walleye bite in Chamberlain area on bouncers with spinners and crawlers. Walley bite reportedly better farther south in the Platte area.

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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