The current fires in the area — approximately 40-50 percent contained as of Wednesday — have restricted fishing activity in the Black Hills. Fishing activity, needless to say, is of little importance given the possible damage to people and property.
In terms of fishing, many of the Black Hills higher elevation lakes have opened to varying extents preventing access to remaining ice along shorelines though not yet boat accessible.
However, Black Hills area plains lakes are clear of lake and reports indicate that the walleye bite has picked up in Angostura—not so much in Orman—and the Missouri River late spring walleye bite is heating up considerably on Sharpe and Francis Case.
And trout activity in Black Hills area streams is excellent as well.
Here follows, a quick recap of recent fishing activity in the hills and Western South Dakota.
Angostura Reservoir: The walleye bite has improved recently with some limits reportedly being taken on jigs and minnows. Fish are scattered throughout the reservoir thus searching is generally required. However, once located the fish are active with nice fat specimens the norm.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Though free of the fires that are plaguing the Black Hills area, the bite on the prairie lake has been slow with but the walleye bite still in slowdown mode. The dam area and Gadens Point have been the most productive with a few limits reported on jigs and minnows. And a few catfish are showing up in the channel.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Fishing has been excellent throughout the Black Hills. Rapid Creek, including through the city, Spearfish and Spring creeks are active as well. Nymph fishing remains the best option. Dry fly opportunities are improving as well with bug hatches and fish moving out of winter holes.
Canyon Lake: Trout bite on nightcrawlers continues.
Deerfield Lake: The Black Hills area lake with the thickest remaining ice though access is iffy. Perch bite continues though majority of fish caught are small.
Pactola Reservoir: Bluegill active near north marina on waxworms and small minnows. And a few lake trout have been caught — 20-22 inch range — are being caught on chubs and shiners at depths of 60-80 feet of water.
Sheridan Lake: The lake is open near highway 385 and widening. Remaining ice is unsafe. Some northern pike activity — chubs and shiners — near the Spring Creek inlet and there has been rainbow trout action near Dakota Point.
Lake Oahe: The best walleye activity is likely in the Mobridge area as fish are somewhat scattered farther south. Northern pike is picking up in bays with a solid bite reportedly in Spring and Cow Creek areas.
Lake Sharpe: Walleye bite continues to improve throughout the system. Hotspots vary depending upon water release and currents. Jigs and minnows remain the bait of choice.
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 is 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.