Midweek snow, warmer weather on Thursday, a chance of snow on Friday, another warm day on Saturday with cold, chilly weather to follow.
Welcome to early April fishing weather in the Black Hills, a time when the hard-core, stalwart anglers are separated from their fair-weather brethren.
Fishing activity in the region has followed a somewhat similar pattern with bites, often affected by weather patterns, are on again, off again.
Nonetheless, Black Hills lakes are clear, or rapidly clearing, of ice which hopefully is a precursor to improved activity while area streams and prairie ponds are very active at present for a variety of species. And the walleye bite on the Missouri is on fire on Oahe, Sharp and Francis Case.
Here follows, a quick recap of recent fishing activity in the hills and Western South Dakota.
Angostura Reservoir: Unfortunately, a familiar pattern is quickly developing as the walleye bite remains slow with little indication of better days ahead. Walleye are preparing to spawn, and though a few are being caught at times, the majority of whatever quantity appear hunkered down in cover and thus tough to locate. And even tougher to entice to bait.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Walleye are in pre-spawn stage and activity is slowly picking up with the promise of even better days in the next few weeks. Action is currently at the face of the dam where fish are stacking up and beginning to move into canal. Jigs and minnows recommended. Also, a few catfish are being caught in the channel as well, a combination of larger fish and good eaters.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Fishing has been excellent throughout the Black Hills, particularly at lower elevation streams. Rapid Creek, Spearfish and Spring creeks are all fishing well with nymph options the go-to options though dry fly fishing is excellent as well. Castle Creek below Deerfield has been providing some rainbow activity.
Center Lake: Trout activity reported on a variety of presentations.
Deerfield Lake: Lake still has ice though likely unsafe. Perch are still active along open shorelines.
Horsethief Lake: Lake is largely ice free and trout bite is picking up.
New Wall Dam: Some nice crappie action reported on small jigs and minnows. And a few largemouth bass as well.
Newell Lake: A few walleye are being taken on jigs and minnows.
New Underwood Dam: Bluegill activity in progress with nightcrawlers the bait of choice.
Pactola Reservoir: Rainbow trout activity has been steady with 14-18 inch specimens being taken on powerbait. North boat ramp area seems to be the busiest spot. Some bluegill action reported as well near north marina both from boat and shore on waxworms and small minnows.
Sheridan Lake: The lake is largely open. Some northern pike activity—chubs and shiners—reported near Highway 385 as well as come rainbow trout action near Dakota Point.
Lake Oahe: Northern pike bite — smelt the bait of choice — remains the most active on the south end of the lake with the Spring and Cow Creek areas reportedly fishing very well. Walleye action is a bit better at points north from Gettysburg upstream.
Lake Sharpe: Good weather days result in lots of boats working popular spots creating a tough go for many. Limits are being taken with nice fish showing up on jigs/minnow rigs worked in 20 foot of water. Catches include females full of eggs and good sportsmanship suggests releasing a majority of those catches.
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 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.
• 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org 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.