Fish caught or not, a pleasant weather day in the Black Hills usually makes for a good fishing experience. After all, how can one find fault with 70-degree temperatures, gorgeous surroundings, and the beauty of a Western South Dakota blue sky.
And as added treat this week: the past few days (in addition to an influx of summer tourists) have presented a welcome mix of enjoyable weather along with and favorable fishing conditions in the Black Hills area.
Despite high water and murky water in spots fueled by the runoff of daily rain showers, area fishing continues to improve on lakes, large and small, and in area streams.
With the improving conditions both above and below water, a trip to a lake or stream in the area to celebrate Father’s Day might be in order. As an added bonus to those wishing to spend Dad’s day in Custer State Park, park entrance and fishing fees will be waived on Sunday to celebrate the occasion.
Here’s along at what’s happening on the fishing front in recent days.
Angostura Reservoir: The walleye bite appeared to slow a bit last week, a situation likely stemming from murky waters in the lake resulting from Cheyenne River inflow, and runoff from recent rains. On a more positive note, shore fishermen have been catching perch and crappie on minnow presentations.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): The walleye bite tends to vary with the weather on though experienced anglers are finding and catching fish including a mix of overs and unders with slot fish more seldomly taken. Fish are typically situated at depths of 20 feet and responding to minnows. Perch, crappie and white bass (in evenings from shore) are being caught as well. Water release over the dam has muddied the waters on the south end of the lake.
Bear Butte: Walleye bite in progress with minnows working best.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Most area streams are fishable with the notable exception of Rapid Creek at higher elevations where floes remain high and fast moving. Despite that, trout can be caught in Rapid Creek through town by working slower waters. Best bets currently for a nice day of trout fishing are Castle, Spring and Spearfish Creeks with nymph presentations.
Castle Creek: The stream below Deerfield has been fishing well for trout on a variety of fly combinations. As elsewhere, the best action is located in slower water near bends as water level remains quite high.
Custer State Park lakes: Center and Sylvan lake have been producing catches of rainbow trout. Leeches or various size jig and nymph combinations worked in three to five foot of water is recommended.
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Deerfield Reservoir: Reports remain limited though warmer weather will likely attract anglers to improving perch and trout bites — lakers included.
New Underwood Dam: Large catfish — 10-15-pound range — are being caught on stink bait.
Pactola Reservoir: Shore fishing for rainbow trout — leeches, nymphs or wooly buggers — from shore in bays has been production while anglers working the deeper waters of the lake, 50 feet plus, have been catching lakers in the 20-pound range. Northern pike are showing up in bays on smelt or chubs in south bays as well.
Roubaix Lake: Rainbow trout are aggressively feeding with a wide variety of flies proving up to the task.
Sheridan Lake: Water temperature has risen to 65 degrees and has spurred an excellent trout bite on minnows near the mouth of bays. Perch and bluegill activity improving as well particularly near the north shore marina. Pike bite remains steady particularly near the Hiway 385 inlet —smelt or chubs recommended. Rainbow trout activity at times as well. And perch remain busy near the marina.
Lake Oahe: Weather and muddy water remain a factor though walleye bite continues to improve with limits easily taken by experienced anglers working their spots. Fish caught are typically in the 18-20-inch range, a significant improvement over recent year. Walleye are being located in shallow water—six foot or less — though as weather heats up fish will move into 10-20-feet areas. Miniconjou area as well as Spring and Cow Creek are current hot spots. Crawler/bouncer rigs are working best. Excellent smallmouth and catfish bites reported as well.
Lake Sharpe: Walleye bite continues to improve in the Pierre area as water clarity improves. Fish are being caught in 5-20 feet of water on bouncer/spinners and crawlers. Smallmouth, catfish and pike are being caught as well.
Lake Francis Case: Reports indicate that walleye activity has improved considerably in the last week or two though high water does make dock access problematic. Bouncer/spinner and minnow or crawler combinations worked at depth of 5-20 feet recommended. Fish are typically on the small side, however, and sorting often required.
Father’s Day Fishing Tournament: Saturday, Angostura Reservoir. Contact Stacy Reetz for details.
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.