With continued warm weather on tap, fishing conditions may be a bit more pleasant though sunny skies and a rising barometer aren’t typically advantageous toward bending poles. Not impossible but often requiring ample doses of patience.
On high pressure days, going deep with noise is often a persuasive presentation. Along with a willingness to move about and vary jigging techniques in search of a method that will stir fish out of their lethargy.
And, as always when winter temperatures climb above freezing for a spell, be careful out there as waters collect on surface and pressure ridges become more treacherous.
Here’s a look at what’s been happening recently.
Angostura Reservoir: Main lake is frozen over though ice is thin and unsafe in areas other than bays. And even then, with caution. No fishing activity reported once again.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): A mixed bag in recent days with some fishermen reporting catches of overs — mostly caught below the dam — while others are coming up empty. On a positive note, the shad population does appear to be thinning. Some crappie action reported near the dam. Though the lake is frozen over in most places, there was open water a couple of weeks ago, a condition that will likely return with temps stretching into 40s this week. With that, beware pressure ridges.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Warm weather and easier access to area streams contributed to an excellent trout bite last week. One angler working nymph presentations on Rapid Creek through town caught 20 nice trout. Nymphs will remain the hot ticket for awhile though a winter midge hatch could develop with warmer weather.
Custer Park Lakes: Trout activity reported throughout on red spikes and small jigs.
Deerfield Reservoir: Perch bite remains steady (waxworms and red spikes) with the best activity centered in the Gold Run area. Be prepared to sort, however, as fish are small. Also, lake trout — 8-10 pounders — have been caught near Castle Creek inlet.
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New Underwood Dam: Bluegill bite continues with waxworms and small jigs worked at depths of 12-15 feet of water recommended.
Pactola Reservoir: The main lake has finally near frozen over though ice is not safe in most areas. A few bluegill and trout are being caught the south beach where ice is about five inches in depth. Jenney Gulch does have good ice and has been producing occasional catches of lake trout and northern pike on shiners.
Roubaix Lake: Ten inches of ice on the lake and trout action reported on powerbait.
Sheridan Lake: An active bluegill bite reported in the north marina area with the fish located in 10-15 feet of water and responding to waxworms and red maggots. Also, a few pike have been showing up near Hwy. 385 on chubs at depths of 8-10-feet. Perch bite has slowed over the past few weeks. Sunday’s Walleye’s Unlimited fishing tournament (and perhaps 150 two-man teams) should tell all as far as current activity.
Stockade Lake: Good ice — eight to 12 inches — reported and crappies showing up on small minnows and jigs. Northern pike activity as well with specimens in the 14-22 inches) range showing up on golden shiners.
Lake Oahe: Large areas of the lake are frozen over — back bays are safe though most elsewhere not. And with workable ice, northern pike are being taken with either hook and line or spearing as pike are roaming in search of vegetation for spawning following ice-out. Walleye activity on the lake is farther north toward Mobridge.
Sharpe: There were quite a few boats out below the dam last week with a decent walleye bite in progress near sandbars and current breaks. Activity tapered off midweek due to cold and win, a condition that will prevail into next week. Joe Creek and West Bend area do have workable ice though reports have been sketchy.
Lake Francis Case: Open water conditions prevail below Ft. Thompson Dam and some walleye activity reported. Farther south in the Chamberlain area, the lake is frozen with varying thickness prevailing and little fishing activity at present--only one ice shack visible the I90 bridge.
ICE FISHING TOURNAMENTS
• Walleyes Unlimited Sheridan Lake Fishing Derby: Sunday (8 a.m.-3 p.m.); $3,000 in cash and prizes; perch and northern pike divisions; two-man teams ($30/per team). Visit sdwalleyesunlimited.org or call (605) 381-5300 or (605) 390-0567 for additional info.
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.