Though trout anglers can rejoice in the abundance of excellent fishing opportunities in area lakes and streams, walleye aficionados continue to be flummoxed by what has been clearly a down year for walleye fishing in Angostura and Orman Reservoirs. Abnormally wet weather in spring and summer has undoubtedly contributed to the slow bite there and it is a given that the two lakes do get a lot of pressure because of the proximity for Black Hills area anglers to typically good walleye fishing.
Nonetheless, a perplexing year. And hopefully not one of greater concern for the future. Perhaps cooler fall weather will help initiate a nice fall bite and thus alleviate concerns.
As for the fall bite, a chance to check out the possibilities will arrive this weekend as temperature drop into the 50s and carry over into the high 40s early next week.
With that thought in mind, here is a look at what’s been happening in the area recently.
Angostura Reservoir: Very little change from what has been a summer season long problem: high and often muddy water, and limited walleye activity. Other than some crappie action in bays (small jigs and minnows), not much happening.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Walleye activity limited here as well. What action there is has been generally below the dam. A few catfish are being caught in the channel either early in the morning or late at night.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Fly fishing remains excellent on Rapid Creek as grasshoppers and crane flies are bring trout to the surface. Streamers remain a reliable option and nymphing is a solid bet most any day.
Canyon Lake: Rainbow trout bite continues on spinners and powerbait with catches in the 3-5-pound range reported.
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Deerfield Reservoir: Perch and trout activity reported with perch currently suspended at depths of 25-30 feet of water and responding to nightcrawlers.
Pactola Reservoir: Limits or rainbow trout are being caught on spinners and crawlers, or small jigs and minnows. Also, pike bite should be picking up shortly as well.
Shade Hill Reservoir: Walleye bite has been improving with some limits of walleye being reported. High water can be a problem, however, particularly in locating fish as areas that were once 8-10 feet in depth are now deeper.
Sheridan Lake: Not a lot of anglers recently though some northerns are still being caught near the Spring Creek inlet. And a few rainbow and crappie have been showing up near Dakota Point on small jigs and minnows. Also, though sometimes difficult to locate, perch are starting to school up at depths of 30-40 feet of water.
Lake Oahe: As has often been the case this summer, weather conditions remain a factor on a day to day basis though conditions did improve last week. Experienced anglers, or those with guides, are still finding limits of walleye, catfish and smallmouth including some nice-sized specimens. Walleye are typically being caught at various depths anywhere from 20-40 feet on spinner/bouncer/nightcrawler rigs.
Lake Sharpe: Anglers working current breaks in 5-10 feet of water have been limiting out including fish measuring out at 17 inches and up. Lower Brule and Iron Nation areas are currently recommended, and spinner/crawlers the bait of choice though minnow rigs have been working as well.
Lake Francis Case: The walleye bite remains steady though somewhat hit and miss. Kiowa area north of Chamberlain and the area around the railroad bridges are the reported hotspots. And smallmouth bass are being caught as well on presentations of spinners and crawlers or minnows worked at depths of 10-20 feet.
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.