Fifteen inches of snow or thereabouts throughout the area this past weekend threw another weather-related snag into fishing activities in the region with area lakes unsafely balanced between open and ice-covered waters. And area streams typically hard to access at elevation though through town the fishing remains excellent.
Most of the smaller Black Hills lakes have ice though generally in the four-inch or so depths at most which makes for tenuous conditions at best. Patience until the ice thickens a bit more or extreme caution is advised which, hopefully, shouldn’t be a problem for that segment of the population that is willing to sit for hours staring at the tip of a fishing pole.
Nonetheless, here are some guidelines for determining safe ice: 2 inches or less - Stay off; 4 inches - ice fishing on foot only; 5 inches - snowmobile or ATV; 8-12 inches- small vehicle.
As might be expected not much happening last week with Thanksgiving and blizzard warnings, but here is a quick peak at what might be possible if colder weather sets in as is predicted for next week.
Angostura Reservoir: No reports received though has been some walleye activity recently.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Remains in a state of limbo with slushy conditions along shore and some ice though not nearly safe at present.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Until snow melts off and allows for easier access to area streams, the best bet at present is to work the trout bite on Rapid Creek through town with brighter streamer patterns or colored nymphs.
Deerfield Reservoir: Five inches of ice though spotty with the Gold Run area likely the safest ice at present.
Horsethief Lake: Four inches of ice with some trout activity reported.
Pactola Reservoir: No reports received this week likely due to snowy conditions creating access difficulties.
Robaiux Lake: Five inches of ice reported with some trout activity in progress.
Sheridan Lake: Four inches or so of ice on the lake though is spotty. Anglers who have located safe ice have been catching some perch and trout supposedly.
Stockade Lake: Four or five inches of ice in spots with some northern pike activity reported.
Missouri River: Blizzard conditions put a stall on fishing activity last week. Most of the activity at present revolves around hunting not fishing, a situation to continue until winter conditions prevail.
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.