If Halloween wasn’t scary enough, the arrival of November, and the unpredictable weather that can easily follow, should be a siren call to West River angling enthusiasts to get out and enjoy the excellent fishing opportunities available before ’the witch of November come stealin’ as sung by Gordon Lightfoot in his classic, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. As unpleasant as it may seem (other than to ice fishermen), open water turning to ice may not be that far away. But enough of the negative. While temperatures will drop to near normal levels this week, area fishing should remain quite good particularly in these locations where the slogan, everyday is a holiday, should remain true.
Angostura Reservoir: While the walleye bite is not at the furious level, anglers are still catching nice fish working a jig and minnow and Lindy rigs in 14-18 feet of water, Bigger fish seem to be deeper still. Fish are scattered, however, and barring a very fortunate first cast, some moving may be required. In addition to walleye activity, crappie and/or smallmouth bass action continues in bays.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): The walleye bite dropped off a bit last week as limits caught in previous weeks dropped off to a few fish now and then last week. And the lake is about to turn, a condition that will likely contribute to a slow down as well. The majority of the activity at present is off the dam working minnows in 25-30 feet of water. The same area is turning out the occasional crappie and smallmouth and white bass.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Nymph fishing should predominate this week with some afternoon fly fishing opportunities on tap as well. Also, brown trout are beginning to spawn so leave those areas at rest and concentrate on deeper pools and runs.
Custer State Park Lakes (Center, Legion, Sylvan): Trout activity reported with nightcrawlers the bait of choice.
Deerfield Reservoir: Rainbow trout bite is supposedly hot and heavy with plenty of nice-sized fish included in the catches. Fish are 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.
Horsethief Lake: Trout activity is generally ongoing with minnows and crawlers working well.
Pactola Reservoir: Rainbow trout activity continues with plenty of fish in the 14-inch range and bigger showing up (please keep in mind that only one trout over 14 inches area allowable at present). Trout tastes haven’t been particular as a variety of baits, minnows, powerbait, crawlers, and salmon eggs, have been working. Also, a few lake trout, generally on the small side, are being caught at depths of 70 feet or greater.
Shadehill Reservoir: Fishing activity slowed a bit last week as hunting apparently took precedence in the area over what has been good walleye and crappie bites in recent weeks. And likely still is.
Sheridan Lake: Some trout action but mostly a perch bite in recent days. A piece of nightcrawler and a little jig worked two or three foot off the bottom in 20 feet of water seems to be the ticket. Northern pike bite remains slow with a fish or two occasionally being caught near the creek inlet.
Stockade Lake: Lots of bluegill activity reported last week, and a few crappie on a slower bite. Some trout activity as well. Minnows recommended.
Lake Oahe: Fishing activity has been limited lately, or rather, angler participation likely due to the opening of pheasant hunting season. Recent walleye activity has largely been restricted to back bays of the Cheyenne. The fall Chinook salmon bite has largely run its course though a few fish are still being caught.
Lakes Sharp: Steady walleye activity reported throughout the system with the best fishing likely below the dam in tailrace, or farther south in Ft. George area. Nightcrawler spinner rigs, plain hook nightcrawler or minnow rigs, and pulling shallow running plugs are what’s working.
Lake Francis Case: After weeks of relative calm, the walleye bite in the Chamberlain area has amped up considerably last week with anglers finding success both from boat and shore. Jig and minnows or Lindy rig and minnows are recommended.
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.