A couple of very warm days leading into the weekend may help set the table and temps in the high 70s predicted through the Fourth of July week should provide plenty of incentive for anglers (and angler families) to celebrate Independence Day at or on an area lake or perhaps alongside a Black Hills area stream.
And fortunately for fishermen who consider a few fish caught to be a necessary ingredient to a successful outing, area fishing continues to improve despite persistent thunderstorms and resultant higher than normal waters.
Here are some locations where fishing activity has been steady and continues on the upswing.
Angostura Reservoir: Walleye bite remains on the iffy side with mostly small fish taken at present. A continuation of a murky water situation likely adds to the difficulty of locating and enticing fish. On a more positive note, there is an excellent smallmouth bass bite reported with nightcrawlers the bait of choice.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Walleye bite continues to improve with limits the norm. Nice mixes of sizes are being taken as well. And the though the slot fish — 15-18 inchers — must be returned, they provide good sport until keepers are located. Bite is lake-wide though Gadens and Fruitdale areas may have the best of it. Crawlers seem to be the ticket though minnows and jigs are working well for some also.
Bear Butte: A steady walleye bite continues — including some overs though slot fish are probably more prevalent. A nice crappie bite has taken off recently as well. Minnows remain the popular choice for both species.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Most area streams are fishable though Rapid Creek is still high in certain areas. Nymph fishing in slack water is the way to go in high water areas. remains the best alternative at present though fly-fishing possibilities should come into play soon. Sand Creek—with terrestrial patterns—and Spring creek is producing trout on nymphs.
Custer State Park lakes: All of the lakes in the park are producing trout activity on an assortment of baits ranging from leeches to various size jigs and nymph combinations. Fish are typically showing up in clearer water near shore--three to five-foot depths seem to be the busiest.
Deerfield Reservoir: Anglers continue to find plenty of perch activity working crawlers at depth of 20-30 foot. And limits of trout are being caught on small jigs and lures.
New Underwood Dam: Catfish, including nice eaters and others in the 10-15 lb. range have been caught recently on an assortment of stink baits, liver, or crawlers.
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Pactola Reservoir: Northern pike are showing up in bays as are trout including lakers depending upon preference and depth.
Prairie Ponds: Water levels have receded to fishable depths as well as becoming more accessible. And with that perch, crappie and bass activity is picking up.
Shadehill Reservoir: Walleye bit remains on the slow side recently though anglers have been limiting out on crappies. Minnows and lures are suggested.
Sheridan Lake: Uncertainty caused by afternoon thunder showers continues to limit angler interest on the lake. Nonetheless, the fish are there with bass activity reported near the mouth of the forked bay, trout action near the Spring Creek inlet and perch continue to be taken around the marina buoy line.
Stockade Lake: Reports of large and smallmouth bass activity near drop-offs and sheltered areas.
Lake Oahe: What is shaping up to be an excellent summer fishing season on Oahe continued last week with limit of walleye typically reported as well as nice catches of catfish and smallmouth bass. Walleye are still in shallow water — 10 feet or less — and responding to crawler rigs though leeches and minnows are working as well. The mouth of Cheyenne and Miniconjou areas are on fire at present. And the temperatures are beginning to soar as well so come prepared with plenty of liquids and bug repellent.
Lake Sharpe: The West Bend and Joe Creek areas are beginning to see larger numbers of anglers as the walleye bite has taken off in those locations. Still a nice walleye bite in Pierre area with fish located in 5-20 foot of water and responding to bouncer/spinners and crawlers. As above the dam, catfish bite is excellent as well on stink bait and crawlers.
Lake Francis Case: Walleye bite slowed a bit last week as though walleye are being caught on bouncer/minnow or crawler presentations with fish located at depths of anywhere from 5-20 feet 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.