• Updated

Though fishing and other outdoor activities do necessarily take a backseat to the health crisis afflicting the nation, a trip to the outdoors does provide an excellent opportunity to take a breather from concerns while enjoying a beautiful setting and practicing social distancing to the max.

And so dress warmly and employ healthy practices to prevent the onset of cold or flu symptoms that might create unnecessary complications relating to the coronavirus.

While higher elevation Black Hills area lakes do have some ice (generally unsafe with the exception of Deerfield and some back bays on Pactola) other lakes do have open water, and South Dakota State Parks are open and docks in place. Additional information relating to park visits can be located at the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks website (

With that in mind, here’s a quick peek at what’s been happening recently in area lakes and streams. Stay healthy and enjoy South Dakota’s great outdoors.

Angostura Reservoir: The ice has melted and fishing activity has picked up in the last week. Some walleye activity reported though the bite is slow and fish caught generally on the small side.

Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): The boat docks are in and a few boats have been out this week though no reports have been received.

Black Hills Fly Fishing: Area streams continue to provide excellent trout fishing opportunities both in high country and at lower elevations. Rapid Creek continues to be a hot spot with nymph presentations attracting rainbow in the 14-18-inch range. Also, excellent dry fly-fishing opportunities abound through the city, and on Spring Creek courtesy of midge and blue-winged olive hatches.

Custer State Park: Park is open though very little fishing activity in progress at present.

Deerfield Reservoir: Ice fishing continues (caution advised as shorelines are breaking up and can be treacherous). Active perch bite continues with fish typically located 5-14 feet of water and responding to waxworms and red spikes.

Pactola Reservoir: The lake remains in transition with a mix of ice and open water fishing in progress particularly along the south ramp earlier in the week. Anglers were catching bluegills and shore fishermen were working the edges seeking northern pike with limited success).

Sheridan Lake: Not much fishing activity last week likely resulting from a wait-and-see approach as lake opens up.

Lake Oahe: The lake is open from the face of the dam to some 10 miles distant. Ice floes remain at points farther north though shore fishermen have been working shorelines in creek fed bays. Spring Creek did have some ice at inlet though Cow Creek is totally open so weather permitting fishing opportunities do exist to seek out some pike and catfish while awaiting the walleye bite to take off.

Lake Sharpe: Weather permitting, boaters are enjoying a steady walleye bite from below the dam to the Joe Creek and West Bend areas. Weather and water releases do affect degrees of success though anglers working current breaks and sandbars with light jigs (1/16-1/8-ounce jig with 4-6 pound test) and minnows are limiting out.

Lake Francis Case: Steady walleye activity reported in the Chamberlain area with plenty of 15-17-inch fish in the mix.

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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