What the coronavirus couldn’t do, a spell of bad weather could as anglers and outdoor recreationists tended to button down the hatches and stay home last week, no doubt a response to the cold, blustery and occasionally snowy weather in the region.
But enough with the negative, the fishermen who did try their luck last week enjoyed a productive week as fishing activity continued to build, likely a result of the completion of spawning and slowly warming habitat.
With the bite increasing, and pleasant weather on tap for the coming week, a trip to lake or stream offers one of the more enjoyable methods of practicing social distancing. At the opposite end of the distancing spectrum, here’s a look at some spots where, based upon recent reports, angler and fish seem to be distancing the least.
Angostura Reservoir: Though the weather curtailed fishing activity last week, walleye action does appear to be improving based up the few reports received. Minnows and jigs are working best, and the dam area and flats are the locations of interest.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): The inclement weather led to a drop-off in fishing activity last week. Before the downturn, anglers had been enjoying an increase in walleye action, as well as catching a few catfish (channel on stink bait) and smallmouth bass (minnows or jigs) near the dam.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Recent precipitation continues what has been a high-water situation in area streams. And with it, working shallows and quieter waters for trout is recommended. Nymph and streamers are working well.
Canyon Lake: Trout activity has resumed on powerbait and spinners
Deerfield Reservoir: Lake trout in the eight to ten-pound range are being caught on large minnows.
Horsethief Lake: Trout activity reported on powerbait and jigs and minnows.
New Underwood Dam: Bluegill activity continues on nightcrawlers and slip bobbers worked in six to eight foot of water. Also, a few catfish have been showing up on shrimp presentations.
Pactola Reservoir: Limits of bluegill and crappie are being caught by shore fishermen in bays along the south end of the lake. Also, brown trout in the four to six-pound range are showing up on nightcrawlers.
Sheridan Lake: Not much activity reported as the lake continues a slow start to the season. A few bass have been caught, and a few crappie taken on minnows and jigs near Dakota Point.
Stockade Lake: Bass action is picking up as the water warms. Lures and large minnows recommended.
Sylvan Lake: Trout action is picking up on powerbait and spinners.
Lake Oahe: Walleye action on the big lake remains slow though the situation should change shortly as water temps begin to climb with the onset of warm, windy conditions. At present, the walleye bite is pretty much restricted to the shallows of the back bays on the Cheyenne River. A jig and a minnow is the optimum presentation both for walleye and a smallmouth bass, a bite that is beginning to pick up as well.
Lake Sharpe: Walleye and bass activity remains steady though catches tend to be of smaller fish necessitating throwback due to 15-inch minimum currently in effect. Until a spell of hot weather, shallows remain the hot spot. Minnow/jig and minnow/bouncer rigs are working best for walleye while pulling plugs has been the choice for bass.
Lake Francis Case: No report received last week though the walleye bite has been steady for the last few weeks particularly in the Crow Creek and Kiowa areas.
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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