Fishing activity will undoubtedly slow this week as the rumble of motorcycles and the roar of thunderstorms will curb enthusiasm. In addition to the increased decibel level resounding in the area, campgrounds will fill to the brim with hundreds of Sturgis motorcycle rally visitors whose thoughts will be focused on activities other than fishing.
Anglers, keep in mind also, that some area bait shots will be closed or working reduced hours during Sturgis week.
With the Black Hills teeming with visitors, it might be a good week to check out a plains pond for some bass, crappie or perch fishing. Or perhaps for walleye fishermen, to venture up to Orman. Despite what will likely be cramped camp grounds, the walleye bite remains quite good.
With that thought in mind, here’s a look at current fishing conditions in the area for anglers forever undeterred.
Angostura Reservoir: The walleye bite remains on the slow side though there were limits of decent-sized crappie being caught last week in bays with a slip bobber and a small minnow doing the trick.
Bear Butte Lake: The walleye stocked in the lake a few years back continue to feed though the fish are on the small side. Crappie activity reported as well with minnows the bait of choice for both species.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Though the walleye activity has slowed down a bit, the bite remains fairly steady with lots of slots and unders showing up as well as an occasional over. Despite water temperatures creeping close to 80 degrees, fish are being caught in shallow water for the most part with the bulk of the activity taking place around the islands on the north side of the lake. Nightcrawlers and leeches on Lindy rigs remain the presentations of choice.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Though unseasonably high flows limit activity on Rapid Creek, Spearfish, Castle and Spring creeks are fishing well. Primarily nymph fishing with tungsten jig nymphs at present though caddis hatches in evenings provide dry fly-fishing opportunities.
Canyon Lake: Anglers are finding a nice trout bite on powerbait and spinners.
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Deerfield Reservoir: A nice trout bite on spinners and power bait continues, and occasional perch activity on nightcrawlers reported in the 20-30-foot waters of bays.
New Underwood Dam: Good bluegill reported on nightcrawlers and nice-sized catfish are still being caught on frozen smelt.
Pactola Reservoir: A summer of disappointing results on the lake continues as constant rainfall has the water level high and fishing activity low, a situation that will likely persist given another gulley-washer on Tuesday night. Boat docks are open however.
Sheridan Lake: Fishing activity has slowed a bit though a few perch are showing up on occasion along the marina buoy line. And a few small walleye are being caught along the north shore.
Sylvan Lake: Trout activity continues with either nightcrawler presentations or Powerbait on trout spinners recommended.
Lake Oahe: Recent storms and high winds have stirred up waters and slowed the walleye bite to some extent because of the unclear waters. Walleye are still available though and limits being caught by experienced fishermen including plenty of fish in the 18-20-inch range. Fish are being caught on bouncer/crawler rigs at various depths though fish will soon begin to go deep as hot weather persists. Limits of northers, smallmouth bass and catfish are being taken as well as small salmon in the Spring and Chantier Creek areas.
Lake Sharpe: High water releases, 55,000 cubic feet per second, continues to slow activity on Sharpe as well as littering the banks in places with dead herring odor included. Though most of the activity at present remains on Oahe — a situation that will likely change when walleye go deep on Oahe —anglers are catching some in the West Bend area working current breaks with spinner/crawler rigs.
Lake Francis Case: High water releases at Fort Thompson is contributing to a nice run of walleye activity near the dam. In the Chamberlain area, a fair bite reported on spinner/crawler setups worked in10-20 foot of water.
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.