In a reaction to the coronavirus, fishermen, women and children, too, continue to show up in record numbers at South Dakota lakes and streams this summer. Fortunately, anglers new and old are finding a fairly hospitable success rate as early summer activity has been pretty steady at most locations.
And serving up a varied menu of specimens as the walleye bite is tipping toward excellent at Belle Fourche Reservoir while most area streams are producing plenty of trout activity.
The only obstacle to an over the top outdoor experience recently has been high wind conditions though gusty to breezy appears to be on tap or much of the coming week.
Here a brief peek at where the action has been the heaviest.
Angostura Reservoir: While walleye are active at present, the majority of the fish being caught are non-keepers in the 13 and 14 inch range. Such results would seem to confirm that poor spawns in recent years contributed to the nearly empty spots in the larger ranges of fish caught. Pulling No. 5 rapalas with planer boards at depths of eight foot or so have been working best. On a positive note, a nice smallmouth bass bite (spinner baits) continues with most of the catches taking place in the flats.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Limits of walleye were showing up along the mouth of the canal in the channel last week as the strong winds must have mucked up the water. Lindy rigs with minnows seem to be working best in the morning followed by worms and leeches in the later hours. Though shore fishermen are finding it a bit slow on walleye activity, they are catching white bass and drums.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Area streams continue to run above normal but are very fishable. Due to a more workable current, Spring Creek has borne the heaviest activity recently though other streams are producing plenty of trout action as well. Excellent time to experiment with a variety of presentations.
Curlew Lake: Excellent crappie action on small jigs and minnows reported with the schools suspended at six-foot depths. Also, an occasional walleye in the 15-17-inch range is being caught as well.
Deerfield Reservoir: The usual reliable perch bite continues along with some trout activity on trout spinners and powerbait.
New Underwood Dam: Three to five-pound catfish are being caught on powerbait or stink baits.
Pactola Reservoir: Rainbow trout in the 18-20-inch range are being caught on trout spinners and powerbait. Lake trout are being caught as well though most are on the smaller side (20-22-inch range). Limited northern pike activity reported with a few fish showing up in south bays on smelt or chubs.
Shade Hill Reservoir: Limits of walleye are being caught on minnows and jigs with fish located in 15-18 feet of water and responding to minnow or crawler presentations.
Sheridan Lake: An active crappie bite including nice-sized specimens continues along the shorelines across from the marina. Trout activity continues as well though fish are becoming more scattered. A slow week in terms of anglers on side due to weather but a pleasant forecast for the weekend should lead to a busy weekend.
Sylvan and Roubaix Lakes: Excellent trout action reported at both locations on powerbait and nightcrawlers.
Lake Oahe: Walleye action continues to build following a lengthy period of cooler waters and a late spawn. Best results are coming around the mouth of the Cheyenne and in Sutton Bay area. Fish are shallow (8 feet or less). Crawler rigs seem to be working better than minnow presentations at this time. Nice bass and perch bites in progress as well.
Lake Sharpe: Limits of walleye and smallmouth bass are showing up jig/minnow rigs. Fish are shallow (5-15 feet). West Bend and Joe Creek areas are particular hot spots at present. Weekend traffic has been intense at loading docks in the Pierre area on weekends though relatively light during weekdays.
Lake Francis Case: Walleye bite is solid in the Chamberlain area (jigs and minnows or bouncers and minnows worked in 5-15 foot of water) though better action may be farther south in the Platte area where similar presentations are working from shore out to 20-foot depths.
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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