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Fishing activity continues to improve throughout the Black Hills area as water temperatures cool and fish follow bait fish into shallow waters and begin more aggressive fall feeding. Despite the extremely windy conditions that have prevailed recently, the bite has been trending upward in area lakes including an uptick in walleye activity at Angostura and Orman. And, as has been the pattern throughout the summer, trout activity in area streams remains particularly strong.

All in all, an excellent time to enjoy outdoor autumn activities up close and personal before temperatures wane and the colder weather in weeks ahead looms more prominently. The only concession perhaps, an adjustment toward warmer clothing as cooler temps are on tap for next week.

With that, here’s a brief look at what was happening on the fishing front last week.

Angostura Reservoir: Walleye action continues to improve as the water temperature continues to drop (10 degrees last week). Anglers reported 18-20-inch walleye caught last week with the fish located at depths of 18-22 feet or water and responding to minnow rigs. Crappie action on minnows continues as well.

Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): An excellent crappie bite highlighted limited activity (high winds continue to hamper) at the lake last week as 10-12-inch specimens were being caught near the dam. Small jigs and minnows are working best. The walleye bite remains slow with but few limits taken. The lake did turnover last week, and that, coupled with the colder weather on tap for next week should produce a better late fall bite.

Black Hills Fly Fishing: Steady trout bite throughout the Black Hills as water flows and temps are excellent at present and coupled with fall hatches allow plenty of presentation options.

Deerfield Lake: Excellent perch bite continues with the fish located a couple of feet off the bottom in 30-35 feet or water and responding to small jigs and crawlers.

Pactola Reservoir: Trout bite (primarily rainbows) continues on spoons and powerbait. The north area of the lake seems the most productive though the fish are widespread. Also, a few lake trout are being picked up in 60-80 feet of water on frozen smelt. The Bear Gulch area has been the most productive.

New Underwood Dam: Bluegill bite continues with fish suspended at depth of 5-6 feet and responding to nightcrawlers and slip bobbers.

Shadehill Reservoir: Walleye bite is improving as water temperatures drop. Boat fishermen were reporting limits of 16-18-inch walleye taken on minnows and jigs. Excellent crappie bite in progress as well on small minnows.

Sheridan Lake: Some northern activity on chubs reported (along highway 385 near Spring Creek inlet). Also, perch bite is strong as perch begin a fall spawning cycle and become more aggressive.

Stockade Lake: Northern pike activity reported on smelt and chubs.

Sylvan Lake: Early morning or late afternoon trout bite reported on powerbait and trout spinners.

Tisdale Lake: Northern activity reported on spinner baits and spoons though fish caught are typically small.

Lake Oahe: Walleye bite remains slow as windy conditions have hampered activity on the big lake. Walleye action can be hard to find as fish are scattered at various depths throughout the system. Smallmouth bass and catfish have been the go-to option lately.

Lake Sharpe: Walleye activity has been good, particularly around bridges in Pierre before water releases speed the current. That said, early hours are best. Fish are typically located in 10-15 feet of water and responding to jig and minnows.

Lake Francis Case: Fishing activity remains slow as hunting activity has taken precedence in the 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; 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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