Weekend snow in the Black Hills area has created troublesome conditions on most area lakes. The mountain lakes that have good ice are snow-covered creating uncertain ice conditions beneath the 6-14 inches of white stuff. And plains lakes that do have open water can be difficult to access.
With that, fishermen have been understandably reluctant to venture out on to ice and fishing activity has largely been at a standstill in recent days.
Warmer weather predicted for the weekend should alleviate some of those problems though unsafe or unpleasant conditions will likely persist until spring weather stabilizes.
On a positive note, northern pike activity has been excellent at a number of lakes, Sheridan and Pactola in particular.
Angostura Reservoir: Open water conditions are in play though fishing activity or reports pertaining thereto are sketchy.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Area did not receive much snow and that received was mostly gone by mid-week. Canal is open as is southwestern portion of the lake though ice (unsafe) remains elsewhere. As for fishing, a few shore fishermen have been out though activity has been slow.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Though much-needed moisture slowed activity earlier in the week, trout fishing should pick up considerably with warmer weather this weekend. Nymph and streamer presentations should abound.
Center Lake: Trout bite continues on powerbait and red spikes.
Deerfield Lake: Good ice reported — 12-24-inch depths — and the perch bite continues with fish schooled up in 30-35 feet of water and responding to waxworms or red spikes.
New Underwood Dam: Lake is open and has been producing bluegill on minnows and small jigs.
Pactola Reservoir: There is workable ice though shorelines are sketchy and a plank is advised for access to safe ice. Northern pike activity — cubs and shiners — is picking up steam, and a bluegill bite has been in progress off north marina on waxworms and small minnows.
Sheridan Lake: An excellent pike bite has been in progress with specimens ranging from seven to 17 pounds being caught on chubs and shiners. Also catches of rainbow trout in the 18–20-inch range.
Lake Oahe: Open water conditions from face of dam north and like Spring and Cow Creek areas are likely opening up as well. Plus, is the time of year for an excellent northern pike bite when weather allows. Also, walleye activity should be picking up soon.
Lake Sharpe: Pierre area received four to six inches of snow over the weekend though is quickly melting. Weather permitting, boaters have been working from the bridges south to Antelope Creek area. And reporting limits taken. A word of caution: many fish being caught at present are pre-spawn females, and anglers should consider throwing a number back to best promote future spawns.
Lake Francis Case: The river is open in Chamberlain and the Cedar Shore Boat ramp is open as is the boat ramp at American Creek Campground. An increasing walleye bite reported in the area as well.
• Saturday, April 24: 23rd Annual Lake Francis Case Fishing Tournament. Contact Scott Lewis (605-730-0283) for more information. Entry deadline is April 21st.
• 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.
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.