Most of the Black Hills lakes, particularly upper elevation, still have safe ice, though access can be sketchy in places. However, some portions of lakes are showing dark ice which can be a cause for concern. Nonetheless, the shaded areas and the ice near shorelines, once safely accessed, are okay.
Prairie lakes, however, are a different story. Larger lakes do not have safe ice for the most part while many of the smaller lakes have opened up and are now fishable though boat docks may not be open or accessible.
On a more positive note, despite the current period of uncertainty, cooler weather with corresponding low pressure may spur better fishing opportunities in the area in coming days.
Angostura Reservoir: The lake is rapidly moving toward ice free conditions. Fishing activity remains limited though some walleye, mostly small, are being caught.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Fishing is pretty much at a standstill right now as shorelines open up and ice on main lake thins to unsafe levels. There have been a few anglers working the canal though with water running, a swiftly moving current is carrying muddy water limiting the chances of success.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Excellent conditions developed due to last week’s warm spell as icy shorelines disappeared along area streams at various elevations affording easier access. Mostly nymph fishing at present, but dry fly-fishing opportunities have improved due to onset of midge hatches.
Center Lake: Trout action remains steady. Powerbait and red spikes are recommended.
Deerfield Lake: The lake will remain a mecca for ice fishermen likely into April as ice remains 30 inches thick in spots though surface can be slushy. And the perch bite remains fast and furious though plenty of sorting required to find keepers as fish are on the small side. Waxworms or red spikes have been the baits of choice and 25-30 feet of water the recommended depths.
Iron Creek Lake: Catches of trout, perch and crappie reported on minnows worked in 6-8 feet of water.
New Underwood Dam: Lake is open and has been producing bluegill on minnows and small jigs.
Pactola Reservoir: Though ice is workable however a pressure ridge that has opened up near the dam area extending west for some distance must be avoided. Lake trout bite remained steady with 2–5-pound specimen showing up in 20-25 feet of water on chubs and shiners. Also, a bluegill bite reported off north marina on waxworms and small minnows.
Sheridan Lake: Ice is reportedly safe though shorelines are breaking up and a plank for access and a spud bar for safety are recommended. Perch bite has picked up steam again with schools suspended a foot or two off the bottom in 30-35 feet of water. Waxworms and red spikes are the bait of choice, and rainbow trout continue to respond to red spikes. Also, due to road work, access to lake is now—and for quite some time — restricted to Hwy. 16 or 385.
Stockade Lake: Solid ice reported for the most part though shorelines can be sketchy. Perch, bass and pike activity reported.
Lake Oahe: Open water reported off points which should be the beckon call for excellent northern pike activity if past experience holds true. A mix of open water and very thin ice on main lake for the most part though the lake is open in the area adjacent to the dam.
Lake Sharpe: With open water stretching from the dam to Antelope Creek area, lots of boats were out over the weekend and limits of walleye were taken. Boat traffic can be intense in certain areas and working areas farther downstream may be advisable. Majority of fish caught this time of the year are pre-spawn females, and anglers should consider throwing a number back to best promote future spawns.
Lake Francis Case: The lake is open in Chamberlain with one boat ramp open—American Creek Campground. Numerous boats were out in recent days though no reports received as to fishing success.
• 23rd Annual Lake Francis Case Fishing Tournament; Saturday, April 24. Contact Scott Lewis (605-730-0283) for more information. Entry deadline is April 21.
• Walleyes Unlimited Angostura Spring Walleye Classic: April 24-25; $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.
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.