Apparently visions of turkey in the oven blotted out thoughts of fish frying in the pan as very few anglers chose to indulge in their craft this week. And with a cold weather pattern predicted to dominate the region for the next few weeks, anglers will likely have plenty of time to clean up Thanksgiving Day leftovers as fishing activity enters a period of limbo during the annual transitional between open and ice water fishing.
Or, as an ice fishing aficionado might say, “the coming of heaven on earth.”
With that, a reminder to all that the pathway to an enjoyable ice fishing season always routes through thoughts of patience and safety, and being cognizant of the fact that while ice has formed, particularly on higher elevation lakes, current conditions are nowhere near safe.
That said, here are a few locations where open water conditions yet prevail, and where a bundled up, die-hard angler might be treated to some worthwhile action.
Angostura Reservoir: The lake has been producing walleye on slowly trolled Lindy rigs and minnows. Most of the action has been centered on the north side of the lake.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): A virtual standstill in fishing activity at present. At least, in terms of anglers at work. The walleye bite has been quite good recently with lots of overs available for those willing to brave the elements.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Perhaps the best bet in the area at the moment as stream flows at lower elevations are excellent, and the warm weather earlier in the week produced plenty of bug activity. Even with colder weather ahead, dry fly fishing opportunities should continue during mid-day hours while nymphs and streamers are recommended early and late.
Deerfield Reservoir: No activity reported at present, a situation likely to continue until safe ice conditions appear.
Pactola Reservoir: Where open water allows, rainbow trout bite has been excellent with plenty of larger specimens included in catches taken on spinners and small jigs. Pike activity reported as well.
Rapid Creek: Excellent time, given the weather, to work the creek through town as the fishing has been excellent. A dry-dropper worked in currents has been a fish catcher while heavier lead flies have been working best in deeper water. Best bet: deeper waters and edges of fast water during mid-day hours.
Sheridan Lake: As elsewhere in the hills, wait and see situation at the moment awaiting safe ice conditions.
Lakes Oahe, Sharp, and Francis Case: Other than isolated activity near the mouth of Cheyenne on Oahe, stilling basin at Pierre on Sharpe, and easy accessible locations near Chamberlain, very little fishing activity ongoing at present.
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.