A welcome reprieve from recent spell of scorching hot temperatures ahead should contribute to better states of mind for all, and for avid anglers, more pleasant conditions with which to engage in the ancient art of fishing.
While hot weather and recent rains have slowed fishing activity on prairie lakes, Black Hills area streams flows remain fishable, and mountain lakes, though warmer than typically normal, have been producing some fishing activity as well.
Cooler temps ahead will perhaps lessen lethargy on part of both angler and quarry.
With that in mind, here are some locations where an upcoming fishing outing could possibly be best rewarded.
Angostura Reservoir: Hot weather continues to curtail the walleye bite. Fish caught are responding to crawlers and crankbait. Crappies are showing up around the tires near south marina. Midweek excursions are best as recreational boating peaks on weekends.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Despite blisteringly hot weather, the walleye bite remains tolerable though majority of catches are on the small side--slots and unders predominating. Fish are scattered throughout the lake with limits reported both on north end and farther south in Fruitdale area. Spinners with crawlers or leeches seem to be working best. Catfish bite in channel has slowed as has the interest of anglers in parking themselves in areas exposed to the heat.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Stream flows are still in good shape. Optimum fishing can usually found during cooler weather of early mornings. Hatches should improve as water levels drop. Early morning trico hatches have been picking up along Rapid Creek which should contribute to excellent trout activity. Lower temps in the forecast will help considerably as well.
Deerfield Reservoir: Reports remain sparse. Some trout and perch activity reported on a limited basis though action remains on the slow side relative to past years. Not exactly sure why though unsettled weather and heat are likely contributing factors.
Horsethief Lake: The often overlooked lake continues to produce a solid rainbow trout bite.
Legion Lake: Nice trout bite reported, a situation characterizing most mountain lakes at present as most are typically well-stocked.
Pactola Reservoir: Anglers are still finding northern pike action though nothing big with most fish caught in the 5-8 pound range. And a nice rainbow trout bite continues as well with fish size typically in the 14 inch plus category (only one fish over 14-inch may be kept). For the kids, the bluegill bite is on fire everywhere. A small hook with a bit of crawler beneath a bobber in six feet of water will usually provide all the bluegills one would wish to catch.
Prairie Dams and Lakes: Not much happening at present at Curlew, New Underwood Dam and Bear Butte as water temperatures have soared recently.
Sheridan Lake: The trout continues unabated. Trolling in the early evenings with cowbells and a flat fish or piece of nightcrawler at depths of 30-50 feet of water has been the ticket. Also, crappie are being caught along the highway shoreline. And some northern pike are being caught on frozen smelt. Lake temp is already up to 78 degrees so going deep is the key.
Stockade Lake: Bluegill and crappie bites reported — minnows, crawlers, or flies — and a few smallmouth bass as well.
Lake Oahe: Though walleye activity can be unpredictable depending upon weather conditions, the bite has been quite good with fish remaining shallow (inside of 15 feet) and easily accessible. Crawlers, leeches and crankbait are all working well. Mouth of bays and points are usually the most active areas. Some fish in the 25-27 inch category have been showing up though most fall with the 15-17 inch range.
Lake Sharpe: Limits are being taken by working bouncers, spinners and crawlers at depths of 5-10 feet along flats. Farther south fish are typically found deeper (25-30 feet of water). As usual during this time of the year, walleye and catfish are being caught below the dam with the action generally dependent upon volume of water releases.
Lake Francis Case: Walleye activity remains solid all the way from Fort Thompson Dam to Chamberlain area though sorting is often necessary. Bluffs have been the most active with the fish located at depths of 15-20 feet of water and responding spinners and crawlers or by pulling plugs.
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.