Well, so much for the thought that spring has sprung. A half a foot of snow (or more in places) will do that to even the most optimistic of thinkers.
As for fishermen, a big whoa for a few days until conditions improve, ice dissolves under warming temperatures and melting snow, and open water once more beckons.
On a more favorable note, when temperatures warm and water levels stabilize, the walleye and pike bites should heat up quickly with spawning season right around the corner. And area streams are set up for a nice trout bite when once again easily accessible.
With that in mind, perhaps the best approach is to dig out one more time —fingers crossed — and prepare for better days ahead.
Angostura Reservoir: Lake is open though walleye bite has been slow with most catches few in number and largely the bounty of experienced anglers who know their spots.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Rains last weekend cleared the ice. A few boats have been going out with one reported success early on Saturday morning in the with three walleye caught on minnows—two slots and one over.
Black Hill Lakes: Shorelines are quickly opening up in many places and existing ice is slushy and suspect on Sheridan and Stockade lakes.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Rapid Creek has been fishing well from Pactola down through Rapid City. Mayfly hatches upcoming should provide some of the best dry fly fishing of the year throughout the rest of the month. And nymphing remains a reliable bet most days.
Deerfield Reservoir: Deerfield still has workable ice though shorelines are breaking up and a plank required to safely to climb aboard the hard stuff. Lake has been producing perch and trout on wax worms or maggots.
Pactola Reservoir: Shorelines are open though fishing from shore can be a problem. Rainbow trout have been moving into bays, however, and have been susceptible to a variety of nymphs. Northern pike activity should be picking up in bays as soon as conditions allow.
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Prairie Lakes: Most area lakes and ponds are free of ice though levels are high and the water muddy from spring runoff. Activity has been limited and largely unfruitful.
Spearfish Creek: Excellent trout bite throughout system including in town. Nymph fishing has been the ticket early in the day with some dry fly activity available in the afternoon.
Lake Oahe: Though the spring bite remains on hold until conditions stabilize and ice clears, there are a lot of northern pike of various sizes cruising the shallows in bays — Spring Creek area particularly stood out last week.
Lake Sharpe: The muddy flow from the Bad River has decreased last week though the mid-week winter storm in the area will likely create another surge as snows rapidly melt. There were a few boats out working the tailrace area last week though with limited success as the spawning areas from DeGray to the tailrace where walleye activity typically picks up steam in April remain slow at present. Open water conditions prevail from the tailrace downstream for four or five miles.
Lake Francis Case: Not much activity reported in the area likely a combination of unstable weather conditions. A few walleye have been caught from shore along rip-rap south of town reportedly but little else happening.
Upcoming Fishing Tournaments:
• SDWU Angostura Spring Classic: April 27-28, Contact Michael Johnson, (605) 391-5193.
• 21st Annual Lake Francis Case Walleye Tournament: April 20, American Creek Marina. Contact Scott Lewis, (605) 730-0283.
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.