For anglers, the spell of pleasant fall weather upcoming will offer up the chance to enjoy some of the excellent fall fishing opportunities currently present in the area. The trout bite remains on fire in area lakes and streams, and with cooler nights, the pike and walleye activity could heat up as well, a situation greatly enhanced by the cooler temperatures and hard frost that will clear vegetation, draw fish into more open shallow water, and thus more exposable to electronic sightseeing.
With that, working the shallower water along drop-offs, rocky flats and weed lines should be the ticket to finding walleye and pike action.
An added perk with fall fishing is the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Black Hills area during the warmth of midday hours as aggressive species tend to feed throughout the day during the summer to fall transitional period.
So much for optimism and what could happen. Here’s a peek at what has been happening.
Angostura Reservoir: Another dismal “nothing happening” report from the big lake. One can only hope that the walleye bite, rather than nonexistent, is simply very, very late this year.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Catches of large and smallmouth bass reported. And walleye activity has picked up a bit also with limits taken on occasion including a nice mix of overs, unders and slot fish. Bite is quite scattered with activity reported up north and near the dam.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: The current spell of nice fall weather will contribute to a continuation of excellent trout fishing in the area. Recent cold snap, and hard freeze will make nymphs and streamers the best bet for success.
Canyon Lake: Fall trout bite continues with rainbow activity reported on spinners, flies and powerbait.
Deerfield Reservoir: Perch are feeding near dam area. Are suspended in 25-30 feet of water and responding to nightcrawlers, minnows and jigs. Catches of rainbows are also being made on spinner baits or fly presentations.
Keyhole Reservoir: Look for walleye and pike activity to gather steam shortly and continue as long as seasonable autumn weather persists.
New Underwood Dam: Like most prairie lakes, Tisdale and Gardner included, fishing activity is picking up with perch and crappie catches reported.
Pactola Reservoir: A steady rainbow trout bite continues in bays and off points. A variety of presentations are working as fish are actively feeding. Some pike activity reported also near drop-offs and weed edges in 8-10 foot of water.
Shade Hill Reservoir: As elsewhere, walleye activity should improve with lake’s turnover and onset of cooler weather.
Sheridan Lake: Perch are active on small jigs and nightcrawlers and minnows. And pike activity is improving with most of the activity centered off highway 385 near Spring Creek inlet.
Stockade Lake: Crappie and perch are being caught on slip bobbers and minnow rigs. Action is scattered and searching and/or patience required.
Lake Oahe: With hunting activity taking precedence in the area this time of year, fishing traffic is usually quite light this time of the year which can open up possibilities. Walleye activity should pick up as fish shallow out looking to fatten up for winter. Lots of bass activity normally found as well in 10-20 foot of water using bouncer rigs with spinners and crawlers.
Lake Sharpe: As is typically the case this time of year, fishing activity is very much weather dependent but anglers working current breaks—a must since water releases over dam are around 60,000 cubic feet per second—are finding walleye activity from dam to West Bend area. Also, working husky jerks in the tailrace area below the dam during evening hours is producing plenty of walleye action.
Lake Francis Case: Walleye are being caught near Chamberlain area—spinners and crawlers in 10-20 feet of water, and at locations farther south, anglers are finding success working crankbaits in 25-30 feet of water.
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, Hill City, and Angostura State Resort have contributed to this report.