With the Memorial Day weekend in the books for 2020, the prospect of vacation trips and assorted outdoor activities typically associated with the lazy, hazy days of summer typically beckon. Or did in past years before the new normal beset upon us by the Covid-19 disrupted activities this spring.
Fortunately, there is one activity that provides plenty of sunshine and recreational activity while at the same time affording the benefits of social distancing.
That, of course, would be the sport of fishing. And what better place to grab angling accoutrement, pack a picnic lunch, beverages and plenty of suntan lotion and venture out to a lake or stream than the Black Hills area.
Even better, the prospect of warmer weather next week, and a fishing population increasingly on the prowl, improves the chances of frying up some fresh filets as well. Here’s a brief look at where those chances may best be optimized.
Angostura Reservoir: Hit and miss, thy name is Angostura as walleye remain elusive. Most schools seem to be hanging out in flats where slow as she goes is the desired method of stirring interest. Apparently, being anchored and casting small jigs with minnows is the best method at present. Also. some nice sized smallmouth bass are being caught on spinner baits.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): A very busy location with lots of campers on hand and enjoying an excellent walleye bite with a nice mix of overs, slots and unders showing up. Nightcrawlers seem to be the fashion currently though minnows are working also. Fruitdale area around the mouth of the canal has been a productive area. Shore fishermen are enjoying a steady white bass bite during evening hours. Catfish and smallmouth bass (15-18-inch range) noted as well.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Recent rains have kept Black Hills streams on the high side (particularly Rapid Creek) though remain fishable. Spring Creek is at a more moderate level and fishing well as late spring hatches begin — Caddis and some Blue-Winged Olive Mayflies. Working surface with nymphs and streams is recommended.
Curlew Lake: Walleye in the 15-17-inch range are being caught, and some 10-12-inch crappie have been showing up small jigs and minnows.
Deerfield Reservoir: The perch bite has taken off with limits being taken on nightcrawlers. Also, plenty of trout activity reported on a variety of presentations.
New Underwood Dam: Some bluegill activity reported on nightcrawlers and slip bobbers worked in six to eight feet of water. And a few catfish are being taken on shrimp and stink bait during evening hours.
Pactola Reservoir: A steady trout bite continues on trout spinners and powerbait, and lakers — typically small — are active on chubs and smelt. Also, northern pike action is picking up in south bays on smelt and chubs as well.
Sheridan Lake: Trout activity has been reported in the dam vicinity, and perch activity is improving.
Lake Oahe: When weather allows, the walleye bite has been picking up in the Akaska and Gettysburg areas. Fish are being located in 15-20 feet of water and responding to minnows. Farther south in Spring and Cow Creeks, fish are in shallower waters where anglers are also finding bass and northern action.
Lake Sharpe: Limits of walleye and smallmouth bass reported on bouncer/minnow rigs. Fish are still in shallows (8-10 feet) seeking warmer waters until weather grows warmer. West Bend and Joe Creek areas appear to have the best of it.
Lake Francis Case: Winds and wet weather curbed fishing activity last week. Limits of walleye reportedly taken in the Crow Creek and Kiowa areas recently.
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.