The Fourth of July holiday and the long holiday weekend should keep area lakes quite busy despite a weather forecast pf temperatures in low 70s that will favor anglers over recreational visitors. Also working for the fishing set is reports of solid fishing throughout the area particularly during early morning hours in advance of the usual afternoon thunderstorm.
With that being said, here are some locations where a long weekend of camping and fishing, or simply a day or two between other holiday festivities, offers the best chance to produce fresh fish for the barbecue.
Angostura Reservoir: Walleye activity remains somewhat spotty though some limits are being taken though catches are typically on the small side with sorting required. The larger fish are typically located in deeper water —25-30 feet. Anglers are catching smallmouth bass in bays on with nightcrawlers the bait of choice.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Despite the steady diet of thunderstorms besieging the area, the walleye bite remains quite good with anglers typically limiting out. Bite seems to be lake-wide and the catches a nice mix of overs and unders. The walleye are loaded with leeches and thus it naturally follows that leeches and worms are the best baits. The overs are generally located in 25-30 foot of water while the unders are in shallower water — 15-18-feet depths.
Bear Butte: Walleye and crappie bites on minnows reported. Also, an occasional pike being landed as well.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Water levels in Black Hills area streams remain and up-and-down proposition though most streams are fishable with plenty of trout action reported. Mostly nymph and streamer fishing at present though when streams return to normal levels a nice caddis hatch in the evenings should expand the possibilities. And while the persistent afternoon rains are a nuisance now, they should setup an excellent late summer and fall bite on area streams.
Custer State Park lakes: All of the lakes in the park are producing trout activity on an assortment of baits ranging from leeches to various size jigs and nymph combinations. Fish are typically showing up in clearer water near shore--three to five-foot depths seem to be the busiest.
Deerfield Reservoir: The perch bite remains excellent with crawlers recommended and 20-30 feet of water the ideal depth. Also, limits of trout reported as well with small jigs and lures working best.
New Underwood Dam: Catfish, including nice eaters and others in the 10-15 pound range are being caught during late afternoon or evening hours. Stink bait recommended.
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Pactola Reservoir: Docks are open though fishing activity and plenty of trout activity reported in bays. Sinking lines with intermediate lines are recommended. Though pike activity has been rather limited lately, the bite should pick up soon in bays and off points.
Prairie Lakes: Water levels have receded to fishable depths and the s well as becoming more accessible and many ponds are producing largemouth bass and bluegills. Poppers or other top-waters in early morning hours seem to be the ticket.
Shadehill Reservoir: Walleye activity remains limited with mostly small fish showing up. However, anglers are catching limits of crappie on minnows and lures.
Sheridan Lake: The perch bite seems to have dropped off though reportedly some large bass have been showing up near Dakota Point and along weed lines on flies. And the trout bite remains steady with the best of it located near the Spring Creek inlet, a location that has also seen some pike activity.
Tisdale Lake: Catches of pike reported recently.
Lake Oahe: An excellent walleye bite continues — including some 18-20 inch fish — with the Cheyenne and Miniconjou areas perhaps having the best of it though with high water on the lake there are plenty of fishable locations that are producing fish. Fish are being located at a variety of depths and responding to nightcrawler rigs as well as leeches, minnows and plugs.
Lake Sharpe: With the 15-inch minimum off as of July 1, the walleye fishing on Sharpe will become considerably easier. The West Bend and Joe Creek areas are beginning to see larger numbers of anglers as the walleye bite has taken off in those locations with most boats working the ledges in 10-20 feet of water with spinners and crawlers. With the Fourth of July week in progress, expect considerable company on the lake and a possible lengthy wait at docks.
Lake Francis Case: The walleye bite gathered steam again last week with plenty of limits reported. Bouncer/spinners worked at depths of 10-20 feet of water is working best.
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.