Fortunately, weather has settled this week, and despite access difficulties in some locations, anglers have been out in force this week enjoying more seasonal weather and much improved ice conditions (caution always remains priority No. 1).
As has been the case since early December, the high country has had the best of it featuring a nice combination of solid ice and generally steady trout and occasional panfish bites. And Rapid Creek has become accessible at lower elevations, particularly below Canyon Lake. With that, the creek should be offering up some good trout action.
Also, the larger lakes in the Black Hills area are seeing an uptick in fishing activity as well with the improvement in weather as more workable ice comes into play. Pactola has frozen over though mid-lake is probably off limits to all but those most prone to crossing the line of maximum safety.
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Up north, Orman has been frozen over for a few weeks now though the weather has discouraged fishing activity. Fishing activity has picked up somewhat this week with more ice fishermen hitting the ice though success has been very limited.
And Angostura does have safe ice, a situation that should allow for increased activity this week and thus contribute to a better read on bites of walleye and other species in the weeks ahead.
Angostura Reservoir: Six to eight inches of ice reported west of north boat ramp and lesser amounts elsewhere, thicknesses vary and caution advised. Reportedly, some walleye action this week though unconfirmed.
Bear Butte Lake: Bluegill, crappies and pike activity reported.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Wind and snow shutdown fishing activity though a few anglers have been out this week though success has been limited. Fish are showing up on electronics but not on baited lines.
Black Hills Stream Fishing: Warming temperatures is contributing to an increase in trout activity in Rapid Creek below Canyon Lake. Nymphs and streamers are the best bet.
Curlew Lake: Access to lake was not possible earlier in the week as snow drifts had blocked county road access.
Custer State Park Lakes: Solid ice and hungry trout at most locations.
Deerfield Reservoir: Lake has good ice particularly in bays and near dam area. Some perch activity reported on wax worms at depths of 45 feet or so. Rainbow trout bite has slowed.
Pactola Reservoir: Lake has good ice particularly in bays and near north boat launch area. Main lake is frozen over but extreme caution advised. Bluegill and pike action reported (Jenney Gulch has had the best of it). Trout are being caught as well. No reports of lake trout activity.
Roubaix Lake: Good ice and some trout activity though concerns about snow buildup on ice have been reported.
Sheridan Lake: A good buildup of ice reported (6-8 inches) in most areas though attention to pressure ridges must be paid. Trout and panfish activity have been steady (waxworms and red spikes) while a few northerns have been caught on chubs and large minnows. Unfortunately, word has it that perch and bluegills can be wormy.
Stockade Lake: Six to eight inches of ice on north and west sides of lake have drawn the most activity. Crappie, bluegill, and pike bites reported.
Tisdale Lake: There has been some pike activity reported. Water level is extremely low, a situation that may result in winter kill.
Lakes Oahe: Last week’s blizzard conditions have curtailed fishing activity. On a positive note, extremely cold temps and high winds should set up some solid ice in locations and allow for some excellent walleye fishing soon.
Lake Sharpe: Same situation as above the dam as ice developed around the bridges and in tailrace. Farm Island however does have some solid ice and some limited activity reported with perch the primary bait biters.
Lake Francis Case: Some walleye activity reported in the Chamberlain area though recent blizzard conditions has largely shutdown activity.
Ice Fishing Tournaments
- Whitney Lake (Nebraska) Ice Fishing Tournament: January 21st. Call Scott Gooder (308-430-4896) for information.
- Walleyes Unlimited Sheridan Lake Ice Fishing Derby: January 29th. Perch and Northern pike divisions with $3,000 in cash and prizes. Pre-registration only. Applications available at area sporting goods locations as well as other locations. Call (605) 381-5300 or (605) 390-0567 for additional information.
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. :