While fishing activity remains slow, cooler weather particularly during evening hours which typically accompanies the beginning of the high school football season—or so it seems—should result in an uptick in activity as the summer season tapers into autumn.
Or at least that’s the expectation after the coming Labor Day holiday weekend when temperatures are expected to hover around 90 degrees on Sunday and Monday.
The large lakes in the Black Hills area remained slow this past week, a summer-long condition in 2019 likely brought about by the unusually rainy weather, though some of the smaller lakes did see increased activity. And area streams are fishing well with water levels setting up nicely.
Here’s a look at what awaits over the Labor Day weekend.
Angostura Reservoir: Recreational activity remains the primary activity as the walleye bite remains stagnant to all but the most experienced anglers. Some crappie activity reported in bays off a bobber and minnow presentation.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): A slight improvement in the walleye bite noted last week with a few overs and unders showing up at times. Nonetheless, locating fish can be troublesome as depths of schools vary from 10-30 feet of water. And when done, competing with the numerous shad in the lake for fish’s attention can be a chore as well.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Fishing in area streams is excellent right now. And conditions are setting up for a superior fall season in the Black Hills. Rapid Creek is on fire as hoppers are showing up, a situation that makes for good dry fly fishing. A hopper/dropper rig is a winner almost anywhere at present.
Curlew Lake: Some walleye activity reported with minnows the bait of choice.
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,
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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 foot of water.
New Underwood Dam: Bluegill activity continues on nightcrawlers with fish suspended in 10-20 feet of water. Some catfish activity as well.
New Wall Dam: Crappie action reported slip bobbers and minnows. Fish are suspended in 8-10 feet of water.
Pactola Reservoir: Activity remains slow and will likely remain so until temperatures drop off a bit. A few lake trout are being caught on occasion, and a few bluegills are usually available in bays — small jigs and minnows.
Sheridan Lake: Perch are schooled up and boat fishermen moving around to find schools are having the best luck. Fish are suspended one to two foot off the bottom and responding to crawlers and small jigs. Also, some pike activity last week as anglers utilizing chubs and/or frozen smelt were picking up some specimen’s in the five to eight pound range near the creek inlet off Highway 385.
Lake Oahe: Walleye bite as well as smallmouth bass bites are okay though fish have moved deep (30-40 feet of water) and thus more difficult to locate. Vertical jigging using minnows and crawlers has been working well. Catfish activity continues in shallows.
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 feet of water recommended.
Lake Francis Case: Walleye fishing is fairly steady, an off-and-on situation depending upon location and wind. Spinners and crawlers in 10-20 foot of water seems to work 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.