Anglers have adopted a wait and see approach to fishing area lakes at present, a period of limbo hinged upon the capriciousness of the weather in transitioning from soft to hard water fishing. Many smaller lakes at elevation have ice buildups — 3-4 inches at Roubaix as an example — though larger lakes in the area remain generally remain fishable from shore. Unfortunately for anglers, fish seem to be in a wait and see mode as well. Activity on Angostura and Orman has been very slow to non-existent tough Pactola is producing a fairly steady trout bite.
Area streams at lower elevations, however, remain excellent choices for trout fishing action. Chief among them is Rapid Creek which, in addition to being easily accessible, continues to produce plenty of trout activity as are most other Black Hills streams.
And for sportsmen with a little more time on their hands, the Missouri River offers the possibility of merging hunting and fishing into a one-trip experience.
Angostura Reservoir: Characterized by one angler as the “Dead Sea,” the lake, if not fatally inflicted as yet, is certainly comatose.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Snow and cold chased away the few who even thought of trying their luck over the weekend. With warmer weather in the forecast for the next week, perhaps a few angles will make a last-ditch effort to get out despite few reports of success recently.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Trout activity continued in lower elevation streams as snow buildup has curtailed activity at high elevations. Nymphs and streamers continue to be working best. For those looking for a little late fall lake action, Pactola has been producing nice-sized rainbows particularly off bays and points.
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. On a cautionary note, ice has been forming and may hamper access.
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Keyhole Reservoir: A pike bite reported.
Pactola Reservoir: Shore fishermen are catching rainbow trout in bays and near points. And a few northern pike have been caught in bays. Access is becoming a problem to backroad areas.
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 and some pike activity reported as well.
Stockade Lake: Crappie and perch reported on slip bobbers and minnow rigs as well as northern pike on small chubs.
Lake Oahe: Some limits of walleye are being taken on bouncer/spinner and crawler presentations near mouth of Cheyenne River and bite has been picking up a bit near Spring and Cow Creeks. Pike and catfish have been active as well. Salmon bite is picking up as water temperatures subside.
Lake Sharpe: Walleye activity is steady when conditions allow with anglers using a variety of bail combinations near current breaks faring best. Evening hours have been producing walleye activity in tailrace area.
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.