The criteria for an angler taking to the waters this week are pretty simple. Is impervious to the rumble of motorcycles, and the heavy volume of traffic resulting therefrom. Or has a pleasant hideaway spot in the area where echoes of the Sturgis motorcycle rally are seldom heard.
Yes, it is that time of year when area campgrounds fill with non-fishermen and bait shops close. And in 2019, a brief period when even the roar of the nightly thunderstorms will play second fiddle to the clamor about.
Nonetheless, fishermen working the waters there will be. And with that in mind, here’s a quick look at what’s been happening in the area recently.
Angostura Reservoir: The walleye bite has been slow most of the summer due to muddy waters from inflow from Cheyenne and runoffs elsewhere. Best activity recently has been a fair-to-middling crappie bite in some of the bays. A slip bobber and a small minnow have been working best.
Bear Butte Lake: A few walleye are being caught, mostly on the small side, and some crappie activity reported as well. Minnows are recommended.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): The lake has been the consistent bright spot in terms of walleye activity this summer. Anglers have been catching a nice mix of sizes on crawlers and Lindy rigs. Warmer weather is slowly moving the fish out into deeper water. Success is fairly widespread on the lake though the islands on the north side of the lake have been the hotspot recently.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: High waters fueled by nightly rainstorms have limited accessibility and success, particularly on higher elevations of Rapid Creek, though Spearfish, Castle and Spring creeks have been fishing well. Mostly nymph fishing with tungsten jig nymphs during the day with caddis hatches in evenings providing some dry fly-fishing opportunities.
Canyon Lake: Anglers are finding a nice trout bite on powerbait and spinners.
Deerfield Reservoir: A nice trout bite on spinners and power bait continues, and occasional perch activity on nightcrawlers reported in the 20-30-foot waters of bays.
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New Underwood Dam: A nice bluegill bite continues with nightcrawlers the bait of choice as well as some catfish action on frozen smelt.
Pactola Reservoir: A summer of disappointing results on the lake continues as constant rainfall has the water level high and fishing activity low. High water and persistent rainfall have limited numbers of anglers on the lake this summer.
Sheridan Lake: Road traffic will likely make up most of the activity in the vicinity this. Otherwise, perch have been active near the marina buoy line, and a few small walleye are being caught on the north side of the lake.
Sylvan Lake: Trout activity continues with either nightcrawler presentations or Powerbait on trout spinners recommended.
Lake Oahe: Though walleye activity on the lake and the size of fish caught has been excellent this summer, the going can be tough on certain days as the lake does have a lot of bait fish available. Some days good and some days not so much has been the recent pattern. Fish have moved out into deeper water— 15-35 feet of water typically — with bouncer/crawler rigs working best. On the plus side, limits of northers, smallmouth bass and catfish are generally available as well.
Lake Sharpe: High water throughout the summer has created a slowdown in fishing activity this summer. The West Bend area has been turning out limits for anglers slowly working current breaks with spinner/crawler rigs.
Lake Francis Case: High water releases at Fort Thompson is contributing to a nice run of walleye activity near the dam. In the Chamberlain area, a fair bite reported on spinner/crawler setups worked in 10-20 feet of water.
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.