The vagaries of Mother Nature that have become commonplace in the Black Hills region this year continue this week with cold and snow midweek juxtaposed with temps in the 60s Friday and Saturday before a cold snap returns on Sunday.
Amid that uncertainty, it is not surprising that fishing in area lakes has entered into the annual period of limbo between soft-water fishing and the more solid variety, the few exceptions being on the area’s large lakes and area streams which for the most part remain amenable to shore fishing.
While prairie ponds are icing over and shorelines doing likewise on the area’s smaller lakes (there is two to three inches of ice on Sylvan Lake and along Highway 385 on Sheridan) trout fishing opportunities at lower elevations of area streams are the best bet for anglers itching for some action.
Rapid Creek, particularly through the city, affords an easily accessible option. And Canyon Lake has been producing trout activity as well.
And as mentioned previously, sportsmen who like their outdoor activities sprinkled with a little “Cast and Blast” action, the Missouri River and Central South Dakota provide a nice mix of hunting and fishing opportunities.
Angostura Reservoir: A summer and fall of discontent continues with little action or success reported.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): A boat was out on Wednesday and a few shore fishermen were plying their craft as well though no reports were received. Some ice along the shore in places though nothing much beyond that.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Excellent trout bite in progress with large nymphs and streamers working best. And with reduced flows coming out of Pactola, wading access along Rapid Creek is much easier.
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Deerfield Reservoir: Perch have been active in Gold Run area — 25-30 feet of water and responding to nightcrawlers — and an active rainbow trout bite as well. Were no reports received this week so conditions on the lake are uncertain.
Pactola Reservoir: Shore fishermen are still catching rainbow trout, and a few northern pike are showing up back in bays.
Sheridan Lake: Ice buildup along Highway 385 reported though access elsewhere remains possible. Anglers have been catching crappie near Dakota Point on small jigs and minnows.
Stockade Lake: Crappie and perch reported on slip bobbers and minnow rigs as well as northern pike on small chubs.
Lake Oahe: Reports of limits of nice sized walleye being caught last week in the Cheyenne River and Akaska areas. Pike and catfish have been active as well. Small salmon are being caught as the fish migrate toward ladders at Whitlock bay.
Lake Sharpe: Walleye are stacked up from downstream from dam. With water releases at Oahe averaging in the high 50,000 cfs range per day, fishing the current breaks is usually a necessity. Also, tailrace has been producing walleye during evening hours. Jigs and minnows or crankbaits worked slowly works best this time of year.
Lake Francis Case: Walleye are being caught near Chamberlain area—spinners and crawlers in 10-20 feet of water, and at locations farther south, anglers are finding success working crankbaits in 25-30 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.