Labor Day weekend typically marks the end of summer activities, and the onset of the fall season. The upcoming forecast would seem to clearly mark the divide. Temps are expected to soar into the high 90s on Saturday and then drop into the 50s for a spell next week.
With the 2020 Central States Fair but a memory and school activities picking up steam despite the covid, a trip to the water this weekend may indeed provide closure to what has been a most unusual summer.
As for fishing prospects, the walleye bite in area’s larger reservoirs remains slow, a condition resulting from lower water levels in Orman related to late summer irrigation, and simply a continuation of what has been a summer long slump in Angostura.
On a positive note for area anglers, or at least for those who like their catches pan size, perch, crappie and bass activity continues in Black Hills lakes at both the higher elevation and prairie varieties. And for those who like to fish more rapidly moving water, area streams are still furnishing plenty of trout activity.
Angostura Reservoir: A decent bass bite reported with poppers a consistent performer. Catfish are active in bays on either crawlers or stink bait. Crappie activity reported in Horsehead bay on occasion and near the tires of south marina.
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Bear Butte Lake: Some nice crappie — 11-13-inch — have been caught by anglers working minnows or spoons along weed lines. Also, a few northern pike (28-32-inch range) have been showing up on chubs.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Walleye activity remains limited with a mix of sizes showing up. Fish are typically located in 20-25 feet of water though depths can vary considerably. Bouncer/crawler jigs are working best. The water level has dropped to 60% capacity and water temps are high as well that when coupled with a shad hatch make the going difficult. Perch are active however and can nibble away lots of bait.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Good trout fishing throughout the hills spurred by plentiful grasshoppers as well as pale morning dun mayfly and caddis hatches. Activity has been an early morning, late afternoon bite but should expand as temps begin to fall.
Curlew Lake: Crappie bite reported on small minnows and jigs. Fish are suspended 8-10 feet down. A slip bobber and small minnow recommended.
Deerfield Lake: Excellent perch bite with fish in progress with fish suspended at depth of 25 feet in 35-40 feet of water. Small jigs with a piece of crawler working best.
Horsethief Lake: Good trout action reported. Late afternoon hours with crawlers or powerbait recommended.
Pactola Reservoir: Not much activity reported last week though trout have been active for most of the summer. And bluegill are showing up off rock formations at mouth of bays and off Veteran’s Point. Trout spinners are working for the trout while nightcrawlers are stirring the bluegill bite.
Sheridan Lake: Trout bite has subsided though perch and crappie are being caught at mouth of bays. Northern pike, including a couple in the 40-inch range were caught last week (chubs) along Highway 385 near the Spring Creek inlet.
Lake Oahe: The walleye bite continues with limits taken most days. Fish are typically located in 25 feet of water and deeper (40 feet). Bouncer/nightcrawler rigs are working well though plus and jigging raps have been doing the job as well. Some salmon action reported near the face of the dam on down riggers set at 75-foot depths. Lake has very busy so prepare for full boat ramps and busy cleaning stations.
Lake Sharpe: Sharpe is producing limits though action is slower than up above. Working current breaks at deeper levels than normal with bouncer/crawler rigs are recommended.
Lake Francis Case: Chamberlain area remains quiet with most anglers working spots north below Fort Thompson, and farther south in the waters around Platte. Bouncer/crawler rigs at depths of 15-25 feet of water are working best.
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.