Given the weather, only a few die-hards had a line in the water last week. And some of those trips were most likely mind-boggling to the less fervently devoted as temperatures were often more wintry than autumnal. Nonetheless, the walleye bite should remain active in area lakes deep into the fall as crankbaits and possibly jigs tipped with a soft minnow imitation and a paddletail come into fashion. With unpleasant weather likely to continue for the next few days, thoughts of fishing are perhaps best left to next week when nicer weather beckons. A good week to perhaps enjoy a pleasant week of fishing before the onset of the pheasant season and the others to follow. If inclined to test the waters in the next week or so, here are some spots perhaps worth checking out.
Angostura Reservoir: Fish looking for baited lines were mostly out of luck last week as anglers, chased away by the cold weather, were few and far between. Nonetheless, the walleye bite has been fairly steady the last few weeks as Lindy rigs and minnows worked in 15-18 feet of water have been producing limits including some nice-sized specimens. Bass and catfish have been active as well. Fish are scattered lakewide though the north end lake has seen the best results recently.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): A fair walleye bite reported with most of the action near the dam. The fish caught, however, are generally on the small size. Smallmouth bass are showing up as well particularly below the dam. And perch action can typically be found during early morning hours in sheltered, deeper water.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: As long as temperatures remain above freezing, the bite should remain excellent during the warmer periods of the day. A good hatch of blue-winged olives is in progress, conditions which should provide plenty of dry fly fishing opportunities. Nymph patterns in Rapid Creek should work through the city and elsewhere as well.
Deerfield Reservoir: Reports remain scarce, a situation certainly exacerbated by the recent spell of cold weather. Some perch activity likely available working bait five or so foot off the bottom as well as trout action both above and below the dam.
Keyhole Reservoir: Reports from the weekend fishing tournament indicate a solid walleye bite in progress including some larger specimens.
Pactola Reservoir: A nice rainbow trout was caught last week in the lake, specifics unknown, though powerbait, crawlers, or salmon eggs are are typically a good choice. Bluegill bite in bays continues along with what should be an improving northern pike bite in bays.
Sheridan Lake: The few anglers out last week were finding some perch activity — crawlers worked off the bottom. Northern pike bite has been slow though improvement should be in the offing.
Stockade Lake: No activity reported as fishing in the Hills was at a standstill for the most part last week. Look for some late fall pike activity if weather cooperates. Also, smallmouth bass bite typically gains momentum in late fall, and a minnow worked along a sheltered area might be just the ticket.
Lake Oahe: Unchanged in terms of fishing activity — walleye bite in the Cheyenne and outer bays on bouncers with crawlers or minnows in 10-15 feet of water — though the numbers of fishermen working the big lake are down as many sportsmen’s thoughts are now focused on fall hunting opportunities.
Lake Sharpe: Limits of walleye available, and fishing conditions made more amenable by reduction of boat activity due to weather and other interests be they sports or fall hunting. In addition to walleye — bouncer, minnow or crawler presentations in 15-20 feet of water, smallmouth and crappie are active as well.
Lake Francis Case: Walleye bite is beginning to improve around Chamberlain though limiting requires considerable sorting. Best fishing is either below Big Bend Dam — walleye, catfish and white bass — or farther south in the Platte area.
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.