Though the weather heated up considerably over the Labor Day weekend, fishing success stayed more in the relatively moderate range. Depending upon one’s preference in terms of locale and species sought that is. Walleye activity in the large prairie lakes in the Black Hills area—Orman, Pactola and Angostura—continues what has been a slow year due to high water conditions that have lasted into mid-summer. Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the spectrum, smaller lakes and area streams continue to produce plenty of trout activity.
The current trend will likely continue this coming week though temperatures will drop into the mid-70’s this weekend and into next week, a situation that should set up nicely for early fall fishing in the area.
Here’s a look at what’s been happening and, with fingers crossed, a peek at what perhaps lies ahead.
Angostura Reservoir: What has been a slow summer continues as very little fishing activity is being reported. A few catfish are showing up in shallow water. And occasional crappie activity—bobber and minnow--reported in bays. Unfortunately, the walleye bite has simply not materialized as clearer waters have likely allowed walleye easier access to baitfish.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Kinda tough best summarized the bite last week, a familiar refrain for the past month. There are some walleye being picked up near the dam though the fish are deep—40 feet or so. Some activity in the canal at night also. And a few catfish are being caught in the channel in early morning or late evening.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Fishing in area streams remains excellent. Rapid Creek in town and elsewhere along with most Black Hills area streams are alive with trout. Nymphing continues to be a winner everywhere though hopper fishing is picking up as well.
Canyon Lake: A nice rainbow trout bite in progress with some specimens in the 3-5-pound range showing up on salmon peach powerbait and spinners.
Custer State Park Lakes: Trout bites reported on all of the lakes (Sylvan, Center, Legion, Stockade) with Legion probably offering best opportunities as present. Powerbait, crawlers, and small flies are working best,
Deerfield Reservoir: Perch are active with most of the fish being caught on nightcrawlers. Fish are suspended two or three foot off the bottom in 25-30 feet of water.
Horsethief Lake: A good trout bite reported on crawlers and powerbait.
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New Underwood Dam: Bluegill are being caught on nightcrawlers in 10-20 feet of water.
New Wall Dam: Crappie bite reported on a slip bobber and minnow worked in 8-10 feet of water.
Pactola Reservoir: Bluegill are quite active in bays responding to small jigs and minnows. Some trout activity as well including a few a lakers on occasion.
Sheridan Lake: Perch bite remains strong with schools suspended a foot or two off the bottom. A few small northern pike were caught on big chubs near the highway docks. And a few nice-sized largemouth bass near Dakota Point.
Stockade Lake: Off the radar for most of the summer, reports indicate that crappie and bluegill bite has improved with small jigs and minnows working best.
Lake Oahe: Warmer weather has made the walleye bite very difficult as present as fish have gone deep--30-40 feet. Vertical jigging with minnows and crawlers remains the best bet. Smallmouth bass activity—minnows and jigging spoons—has been a nice alternative. Walleye bite is probably on hold until water temperatures drop.
Lake Sharpe: The 15-inch minimum goes back into effect on September 1st. Most walleye activity is located around West Bend and Lower Brule area with spinners and crawlers worked in 15-20 foot of water recommended.
Lake Francis Case: Walleye bite remains steady if not spectacular. Jigging raps in 20 foot of water is an effective presentation at present.
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.