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Fish 2

Though cooler temperatures are predicted for the weekend, the long-term forecast through next week and into the Fourth of July weekend promises thermometer readings climbing into the low 80s. And perhaps (fingers crossed) for an extended period of time. With the warmer days, an already improving area fishing forecast should become even brighter as area lakes come alive with a variety of species including much prized walleye and area trout streams slowly return to fishable levels.

High water levels do continue to pose a problem particularly for boaters as boat ramps in some locations remain inaccessible (Pactola particularly) though despite the inconvenience angers are finding a better bite throughout the area.

Here are some spots where luck tried is luck best met at present.

Angostura Reservoir: Despite some colored water resulting from recent runoffs, the walleye bite improved last week as water is likely settling at depths. Bouncer rigs with minnows or crawlers recommended. Also, a solid smallmouth bass bite reported in bays with minnows the bait of choice.

Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Orman is probably the hottest spot for walleyes in the area with anglers picking up both overs and unders—slot fish are in the minority. With warmer temps and waters, fish have moved into deeper locations at present the 18-20-foot depths producing the better catches. Bottom bouncers with crawlers seem to be the bait of choice.

Bear Butte: Shore fishermen are finding a nice walleye bite as the fish stocked a few years back have now grown into the 16-18 pound range. Minnows are recommended.

Black Hills Fly Fishing: Most area streams are fishable though Rapid Creek is still high in certain areas. Nymph fishing remains the best alternative at present though fly-fishing possibilities should come into play soon.

Castle Creek: The stream below Deerfield has been fishing well for trout on a variety of fly combinations. As elsewhere, the best action is located in slower water near bends as water level remains quite high.

Custer State Park lakes: All of the lakes in the park are producing trout activity on an assortment of baits ranging from leeches to various size jigs and nymph combinations. Fish are typically showing up in clearer water near shore--three to five-foot depths seem to be the busiest.

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Deerfield Reservoir: Activity has finally perked up on the lake with steady perch bite in progress. Fish are located in 20-30 foot of water and responding to nightcrawlers. Also, a decent trout bite ongoing with spinners and small jigs working best.

New Underwood Dam: The catfish bite, including some fish in the 10-15 pound range, are being taken on stink bait — a dab of Smelly Jelly to enhance the aroma appears to be just the ticket.

Pactola Reservoir: Boat ramps remain inaccessible though some shore fishing is in progress with reports of some rainbow trout activity — leeches, nymphs or wooly buggers — as well as lake trout action in deeper waters on smelt. Some nice northern pike have been showing up back in bays primarily on chubs.

Prairie Ponds: Water levels have receded to fishable depths as well as becoming more accessible. And with that perch, crappie and bass activity is picking up.

Sheridan Lake: Though rainy weather has kept anglers away to some extent, an excellent fish is reported with lots of crappie and bluegills showing up along the north shoreline. Perch activity continues at depths of 15-foot near the marina buoy line, and northerns are still feeding near the creek inlet. Water levels have returned to normal and all boat ramps are open.

Lake Oahe: Walleye bite continues to improve on the big lake—the best in recent years perhaps. As an added incentive, the fish taken, typically small in the past, are generally in the 18-20-inch range, a significant improvement over recent year. Fish are scattered with limits taken in waters ranging from six foot or less out to 25-foot levels. Bouncer/nightcrawler or leech minnow rigs are working best. Miniconjou area as well as Spring and Cow Creek are current hot spots. Crawler/bouncer rigs are working best. Limits of smallmouth bass and catfish bites are being taken as well.

Lake Sharpe: The Pierre area has been producing limits of walleye with fish located in 5-20 feet of water and responding to bouncer/spinners and crawlers. And limits of catfish are there for the taking.

Lake Francis Case: Steady walleye activity reported on bouncer/spinner and minnow or crawler combinations worked at depth of 5-20 feet recommended. Shore fishermen are finding plenty of action as well with minnows the preferred presentation.

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.

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