Cooler weather predicted for the weekend could possibly tamp down the turbulence of the constant barrage of nightly thunderstorms that have visited the area this summer. And in addition to contributing to pleasant fishing conditions, allow the water levels on area lakes and streams to descend to normal depths.
Nonetheless, fishing activity in the area has been steady this summer despite high levels and murkiness resulting from frequent runoffs with the notable exceptions of Pactola and Angostura, two popular spots for both fishermen and outdoor recreational enthusiasts, where the unusual conditions have slowed fishing activities.
Elsewhere, Orman continues to be the bright spot in the area large lake category as an excellent walleye bite continues. Smaller lakes, hill and prairie, are fishing quite well at present for a variety of species including perch, crappie and bass.
With the rumble of motorcycles in the not too distant future, the next week or two might be an excellent time to get out and enjoy some time on or near the water.
Here is a look at what has been transpiring on lakes and streams recently.
Angostura Reservoir: The walleye bite on the lake remains on the slow side though fishermen who know the lake and have electronics are finding some activity. Fish are currently located in 25-30 foot of water and responding to minnow/Lindy rigs. And anglers are finding some crappie action in bays.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Anglers continue to report limits of walleye including fish in the 18 inch and plus category. Nightcrawlers on Lindy rigs are recommended. The bite is widespread with no particular area standing out at present.
Bear Butte: Walleyes are showing up on crappie rigs and minnows. And, an occasional northern pike on a similar setup.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Water levels remain high though spots in area streams are fishable particularly at lower elevations. Rapid Creek (below Pactola), Box Elder, Spearfish, Castle and Spring Creeks are producing trout with streamers and nymphs typically the best options though caddis should bring late day activity and provide dry fly options.
Custer State Park: Water levels remain high in park lakes though there is trout activity to be found with dropper rigs working best in some areas and nymphs and streamers elsewhere. Grace Coolidge has been busy lately. Fish are typically showing up in clearer water near shore--three to five-foot depths seem to be the busiest.
Deerfield Reservoir: Trout bite on spinners and power bait reported as well as perch activity continuing in bays on crawlers worked in 20-30 foot of water.
New Underwood Dam: Bluegill action on nightcrawlers is picking up and the catfish bite continues with stink bait attracting nice sized catfish up to 10 pounds.
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New Wall Dam: Bass and bluegill activity reported on minnows and spinner rigs.
Pactola Reservoir: High volume of flowing into the lake from runoffs continues to plague outdoor activities on the lake. Boat docks were closed at last report, and murky water conditions are limiting activity. Some rainbow trout activity reported on trout spinners near the Veteran’s Point area when conditions allow.
Prairie Lakes: Water levels have receded to fishable depths and become more accessible with catches of bass, perch and bluegill reported. Minnow presentations are a popular choice as well as poppers or other top-waters in early morning hours.
Sheridan Lake: Water levels are returning to normal levels though recent runoffs have muddied up the waters. Despite that, trout are being caught on cowbells near Dakota Point, and good-sized perch are showing up near the marina buoy line. Crappie bite remains pretty steady as well with the best action occurring along the north shore docks.
Sylvan Lake: A good trout bite on nightcrawlers reported.
Tisdale Lake: Northern pike activity reported with minnows the bait of choice.
Lake Oahe: Walleye fishing reminiscent of the late 90’s continues on Oahe as anglers continue to limit out daily including numerous fish in the 18-20-inch range. Fish remain shallow at present with the bulk of fish showing up in 5-10 foot of water and responding to spinner/crawler rigs. An excellent catfish bite as well providing a nice change of pace when desired.
On a negative note for the coming weekend, the Governor’s Cup fishing tournament will be taking place resulting in very busy docks and lots of boat traffic.
Lake Sharpe: High water releases often laden with baitfish have attracted schools of catfish and the bite is reportedly on fire. Also, the walleye bite remains steady--West Bend, Farm Island, Antelope Joe Creek areas have been busy—though catches are typically loaded with smaller fish than on Oahe. Despite that, with the 15-inch minimum off until September, good eaters can be found.
Lake Francis Case: With large amounts of water being released at Fort Thompson, fishermen re reporting an excellent walleyes bite as fish are congregating below the dam. In the Chamberlain area, the same effect has contributed to a good walleye bite between the Interstate and Railroad bridges while shore fishermen continue to find action along the rip-rap particularly during evening hours.
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.