A bit on the cold side is the operative phrase this week in terms of both the weather forecast and as a prognostication of the week’s fishing prospects. At least through the weekend as next week promises more seasonal temperatures with the the chance to enjoy some good fishing sans heavy parka, thick mittens and mugs of steaming, hot, coffee.
Trout bite has been excellent in recent weeks prior to the arrival of current cold spell. Warmer temperatures predicted to return the middle of next week will hopefully lead to a late fall, trout feeding frenzy.
And on an even more positive note, conditions are setting up perfectly for a late fall northern pike bite in area lakes. Working weedy flats near drop-offs with spinnerbait, jerkbait or shallow running crankbait may very well shake out some nice-sized pike this time of year.
Angostura Reservoir: As elsewhere last week, fishermen opted for a week off given the combination of colder temperatures and brisk winds. Despite that, the lake was still spitting out some walleyes on jig and minnow and Lindy rig combinations for the few anglers venturing out. Fifteen feet of water and scattered was the word from anglers boasting of fish caught.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Due to high winds most days last week, very few fishermen, make that virtually none, were out last week. The docks are still in, however, and with warmer temperatures slated for next week, the walleye bite, including catches in the 20 plus range, could resume. Also, some crappie and bass activity reported off the dam.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Best activity with colder temps will occur during warmer midday hours. Still a few Baetis but mostly midge hatches remaining. Attractor nymph patterns and streamers will remain go-to options.
Custer State Park Lakes (Center, Legion, Sylvan): Trout activity on a variety of baits and flies continues.
Deerfield Reservoir: Rainbow trout bite has been on fire recently with plenty of large fish chasing bugger-sized streamers or leeches. Fish are also responding to crawlers and minnows and are suspended at deeper depths. Also, perch are suspended two or three foot off bottom and responding to minnows.
Pactola Reservoir: Excellent trout bite reported with some nice, healthy, fish among the catches (keep in mind that only one trout over 14 inches area is keepable at present). Spinners and small jigs are recommended. An occasional lake trout is being taken on smelt at deeper depths. Also northern pike activity is building in bays with Jenney Gulch likely at the top of the list. Working weeds and structures should be the ticket this time of year.
Rapid Creek: Excellent flows right now are providing a solid trout bite both above and below Pactola. Nymphing has been the ticket above Pactola with small flies recommended below. Through the city, nymphing in mid-day hours seems to be working best.
Shadehill Reservoir: Walleye and crappie remain active including nice-sized fish of both species.
Sheridan Lake: Very little fishing activity reported though anglers have been catching trout and perch on a piece of nightcrawler and a little jig worked in 20 foot of water. Also, though northern pike action has been slow, the next couple of weeks should be an optimum time to test one’s luck in near creek inlet.
Stockade Lake: No activity reported last week though warmer weather scheduled for next week could once again prime bluegill, crappie, and trout activity.
Lake Oahe: Fishing activity remains in limbo due to hunting activity and unpleasant weather with which to be on the water. What walleye activity is ongoing at present is back in protected bays or around the mouth of Cheyenne River.
Lake Sharp: Walleye action available on the lake particularly below the dam in tailrace and farther south near West Bend and Ft. George area. Working 8-15 foot of water with either spinner rigs, nightcrawler or minnow rigs, or pulling shallow running plugs have been the presentations of note.
Lake Francis Case: Lots of walleye activity recently around Chamberlain as anglers have been having success from either boat or shore. Jigs and Lindy rigs with minnows have been working best.
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.