With snow cover melted to some extent and with relatively decent temperatures — around 40 and sunny — next week could provide an opportunity to set aside the Christmas shopping for a time and get a line in the water. Prospects are quite varied at present with both open water and ice fishing opportunities available in the region.
Among the larger lakes, Angostura and Pactola have open water, at least for the most part, and Deerfield has solid ice. Only Orman remains in a state of transition.
On an even more positive note, fishing success has picked up a bit lately with a fair lake bite in some locations and in area streams as well, particularly as lower elevations where accessibility and icy shorelines are a minor problem.
Here is a brief look-see at what has been and could be happening. And as always, this time of year, be safe out there.
Angostura Reservoir: Open water except for some buildup in back bays. A few boat fishermen were out earlier in the week and reported some walleye action, somewhat of a surprise given the slow summer and fall.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): The lake has frozen over with a thin layer of two-inch ice and remains unsafe.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: With snow melt of last week, area streams are more easily accessible as are trout as the bite has been excellent particularly in Rapid, Spearfish and Spring Creeks. Nymph fishing remains the go-to option under present conditions. And best worked in deeper water this time of the year.
Deerfield Reservoir: The lake has ice at depths of 5-15 inches depending upon location and there are reports of a good lake trout bite on fathead minnows and golden shiners near the inlet. Also, perch (mostly small) activity reported in the Gold Run area on red spikes.
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Horsethief Lake: Four inches of ice with some trout activity reported.
Pactola Reservoir: The lake is still wide open apart from Jenney Gulch which reportedly has 4-5 inches of ice. The excellent trout bite that has been in progress for some weeks continues with flies and lures the presentations of choice.
Robaiux Lake: Ten inches of ice on the like along with a steady trout bite on powerbait.
Sheridan Lake: Six inches of ice reported along highway 385 though there is open water near the dam requiring extreme caution if venturing into the center portion of the lake. Some northern pike are being caught on golden shiners and perch on red spikes.
Stockade Lake: Good ice varying anywhere from anywhere from six to ten inches reported. Some bluegill and crappie are being picked up as well as a few northerns.
Lake Oahe: Not much activity at present due to weather issues. The lake is open though access is a problem due to cold, windy conditions.
Lake Sharp: Weather permitting, a few boats have been out recently near the bridges and up around the stilling basin as well as a few downstream. No reports of success though the walleye are still stacked up due to the high water releases at the dam.
Lake Francis Case: Chamberlain area was largely at a standstill as the area recovered from recent storm. Further activity will be conditioned upon the weather.
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.