While Wednesday’s area thunderstorm provided a few hours of relief from what has been brutal heat, the reprieve was very much of short standing as temps are expected to soar back into the 90s in the week ahead.
With that, local anglers have reeled in their efforts to some extent leaving area waters to tourists as the summer doldrums have arrived, a time when rising water temps adversely affecting fishing prospects as fish seek the cooler climes of deeper water and often become more difficult to locate.
Nonetheless, though activity has slowed because of the heat, fish are being caught particularly by anglers capable of coupling an early wakeup call with patience and expertise.
And for families seeking heat relief at the water’s edge, perch, crappie or trout can typically be caught at a Custer State Park lake.
Here follows a brief look at what’s been happening in recent days.
Angostura Reservoir: Walleye activity remains slow at present with most of the fishing activity resulting from catches of catfish (stink bait) and small mouth bass and perch on spinners/crawler presentations.
Bear Butte: Crappie bite continues on spinners and crawlers. Fish have been suspended at six foot depths.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Fishing activity has fallen off due to heat though the anglers that are going out are doing quite well. As an example, a threesome of boaters landed 18 walleyes (all released) though majority were slot fish there were some over and unders in the mix as well. Walleye have largely moved out into deeper water (25–30-foot depths). Mostly Lindy rigs with leeches and worms though crankbaits have been working also. The lake is at about 75% capacity severely limiting shore fishing opportunities.
Bismarck Lake: Limits of trout reported on spinners and crawlers. And some nice sized largemouth bass have been caught recently on minnows and chubs. Early morning, late evening hours are optimum times.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Trout activity in Rapid, Castle and Spearfish Creeks remains excellent. Dropper rigs as well as small hopper patterns. And, as always, nymph patterns of various types are working well.
Center Lake: Trout activity reported on powerbait and spinners.
Deerfield Reservoir: Not much change with small perch there for the taking on jigs and crawlers worked in 30 feet to 40 feet of water. Early morning hours recommended.
Pactola Reservoir: Bluegill are active in bays as are perch. Small jigs with a piece of nightcrawler are working best. Trout bite continues to be steady as well on spinners and powerbait. And a few small lake trout are being caught on smelt and chubs at deeper depths.
Shadehill Reservoir: Limits of walleye reported with the fish located in 15-25-foot of water and responding to nightcrawlers on slow death hooks.
Sheridan Lake: Perch bite has improved with fish suspended off bottom at 30-40 feet of water. Crawlers and small jigs are recommended. And a few rainbow trout are showing up on occasion.
Lake Oahe: Walleye bite is very good at most locations, particularly during early morning hours. Spinner/crawler rigs worked in 10-15 feet of water appear to have the best of it though anglers pulling plugs are also doing well. Plenty of smallmouth (including a state record catch weighing in at 7 lbs., 4.7 ounces) and catfish are being caught as well. Lots of boat traffic at boat ramps and be prepared for delays at times.
Lake Sharpe: Walleye bite is excellent though fish have moved out from shallows into 10-15 feet of water. Bouncers with spinner/crawlers are working well though walleye are not choosy at present. With the plethora of boats on river, getting into water and finding a semi-private spot is often the most difficult obstacle to a successful day on water.
Lake Francis Case: Anglers are catching walleye near Chamberlain working bouncers with spinners and crawlers in 10-25 feet of water near channel edges or along shorelines. With that, shore fishermen have been joining in on the success as well.
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, and West Prairie Resort, 28354 182nd, Pierre (605-264-5303) have contributed to this report.