Birds know it, bees know it, even the least practiced anglers know it. One of the best ways to enjoy social distancing is to seek solace in a cozy spot along a lakeshore or stream bank and enjoy the quiet solitude of South Dakota’s great outdoors while at the same time leaving the cares of a world pandemic behind.
And, while there, might as well cast a line in the water and see what bites.
Plenty of area anglers were enjoying the warming spring weather to test the waters last week. There was a catch, however. Fish were often practicing their own form of distancing and often difficult to locate.
Not a shutout week though as there were some spots where the nature’s benefits did include an active fish bite. Here’s a brief look at where some of those locations may be found.
Angostura Reservoir: Though walleye activity remains slow a few specimens were showing up last week as well as some decent sized bass. The action was slow mostly but for the most experienced anglers. And those indifferent to long periods of idle time.
Bear Butte: Crappie have become active again on minnows and lures.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Walley activity picked up a bit last week as waters warmed though limits taken were the exception as the fish are scattered. Most catches were either slots or unders though a few walleye in the 18 inch range were caught. A few catfish have been showing up in the channel as well.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Water flows have begun to recede in area streams. And with it, the already erisen on area creeks—particularly on Rapid Creek—though fishing activity remains excellent trout bite gained steam. Nymphs and streamers remain the go-to options
New Underwood Dam: Bluegill bite continues on minnows and jigs.
Pactola Reservoir: Trout action was the primary bite last week as shore fishermen were finding plenty of activity utilizing spinners. Some perch activity in south bays as well.
Shadehill Reservoir: The docks are in though fishing activity has been light and the walleye bite is sketchy at best.
Sheridan Lake: Lake is wide open now though hasn’t been producing much fishing action with the exception of a few northern pike being picked on chubs along Highway 385.
Lake Oahe: Walleye bite is improving as fish move into shallow waters off points or back bays seeking warmer waters. Two to five feet of water seems the ideal depths at present for both walleye and northern pike. Minnows and smelt are suggested. Also, Bush’s Landing area is closed as the access road is currently closed.
Lake Sharpe: Good weather resulted in an increase in fishing activity below the dam with lots of boats, though not yet bumper boat activity, working areas near the bridges. Limits of walleye reported in those areas though the bluffs and Farm Island area were seeing the best of it. Jig and a minnow is working best.
Lake Francis Case: Quiet last week due to weather though walleye activity has been excellent in the Chamberlain area.
Dakota Angler & Outfitter, 513 Seventh St., Rapid City; The Rooster, 1441 W. Main St., Rapid City; Wheel and Bait, 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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