Looking for a nice sunny day with warm temperatures to add flavor to a day of fishing in the Black Hills area? If you didn’t get a line in the water on Wednesday, put that pipe dream aside as another stretch of very cold weather is predicted for the next week or so.
Perhaps from an ice fisherman’s perspective, one accoutered with an ice shack and all the necessary accessories, perspective, not a bad situation at all as will separate the dedicated ice fishermen from the dilettante simply cluttering up the ice and scaring fish away.
Regardless, there are fish to be found and the cold front and associated low pressure should provide excellent conditions.
With that, be careful out there. While Black Hills higher elevation lakes are for the most part stacked with solid ice, that are areas where the ice is not yet safe--a four-wheeler reportedly went through the ice at Angostura last week. Remember, caution should always be an ice fisherman’s constant companion.
Angostura Reservoir: As indicated above, there is solid ice on the lake particularly in bays though there are patches of thin ice in spots. Reports indicate walleye are being caught at times, primarily early morning or late in the day, with the best action centered in the Horsehead and Shep’s Canyon areas.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Situation remains slow though a few crappie and walleye (overs) were taken below the dam last week.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Cold weather continues to make stream fishing extremely difficult as ice and snow buildup on shorelines makes access problematical. Patience, and a realization that with each passing day spring is but one day closer are the mantra at present.
Custer State Park lakes: Solid trout bite at Center Lake. Also, some panfish activity at times on waxworms and small jigs tipped with minnows.
Deerfield Reservoir: Probably the hottest spot—fishing wise—in the hills, particularly for those equipped with electronics to locate pockets of fish. Perch bite is excellent though fish are typically small. Varieties of trout including lakers are being caught as well. Waxworms and small minnows for panfish, and golden shiners for lake trout.
Pactola Reservoir: Steady bites of northern pike and lake trout—a 38-inch specimen was caught last week on a big sucker chub--reported as well as perch activity in south bays. Ice is solid in bays though caution advised if venturing farther.
Sheridan Lake: As one of the more accessible lakes in the Black Hills, lots of fishing activity reported on the weekends with limits of perch—waxworms and maggots—being taken. And the occasional northern pike on golden shiners.
Stockade Lake: Little change with lots of panfish activity continuing (maggots and waxworms) as well as a fairly active trout bite. Fish are scattered and searching required to find the current hotspot.
Lake Oahe: Most of the activity at present is focused on northern pike activity in bays which are being taken either by hook and line or spearing. Some walleye activity up in Cheyenne though of a limited nature.
Lake Sharpe: Cold temperatures and limited flow over the dam have eliminated open water fishing below the dam at present. There are, however, ice shacks in the stilling basin with some walleye activity reported. Ice fishing is also picking up farther south in West Bend, Joe Creek, and at Hippo Lake areas and catches of walleye reported as well.
Lake Francis Case: There has been some walleye activity reported below the dam at Fort Thompson and near the dredge hole near railroad bridge. Winners in last weekend’s Chamberlain/ Oacoma walleye fishing tournament weighed in 14.91 lbs. including a 2.91 lbs. specimen.
Upcoming Ice Fishing Tournaments (applications and info available at area fishing supply stores):
• Feb. 23: Hooked on Hardwater ice fishing tournament at Deerfield Lake sponsored by The Club for Boys. The annual tournament matches 60 club members with 60 pro fishermen from the around the ice belt for a morning of fishing. The outing is preceded by a Friday night pro and member social. For more information, contact The Club for Boys, (605) 343-3500.
• The Rooster’s annual “Trout Olympics” ends Sunday. Still time to enter, just $5 and all proceeds go to the Hooked On Hardwater Event! Contact The Rooster for contest details. Rooster Ice Fishing Species Contest Update. - Crappie - 1.12lb (Orman)
Northern - 14.3lb (Durkee)- Blue Gill - .90lb (Sheridan)- Perch - 1.3lb (Newell)
Lake Trout - 38" (must be released - Pactola).
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.