Ice fishing interest among angler and quarry in the Black Hills perked up somewhat in recent days. Improving ice conditions on higher elevation lakes due to cold nights, pleasant daytime conditions, and a variety of species putting on the feedbag were contributing factors.
Though temperatures will dip a bit next week, the low pressure coupled with tolerable conditions will provide plenty of opportunities for anglers and gathering families to perhaps enjoy mix some fishing with Christmas cheer.
Despite a few boaters getting out on Angostura in recent days, upcoming fishing activity will be largely relegated to area streams and higher elevation lakes as prairie lakes remain unsafe for ice fishing at present. On a positive note, Black Hills streams and lakes are easily accessible with ice-free roads, have the always impressive scenery, and are featuring an improving fish bite as well.
A word of caution, however, to those who will include a walk on ice to their holiday schedule. Due to wide fluctuations in day and nighttime temperatures recently, pressure ridges have developed on some lakes and are highly susceptible to breakage. Good ice is plentiful so avoid dangerous ice and make your Christmas Holiday season safe and enjoyable.
Angostura Reservoir: A few boat fishermen have taken advantage of the warm weather over the weekend--access is only available at the north marina. And reports indicate that the intrepid few were rewarded with walleyes caught on Lindy rigs and minnows.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): The lake does have four inches of ice in most areas though fishing traffic has been light with the few anglers out setting up off Gadens Point. Some walleye activity reported along with some perch action. Unfortunately, the warm temperatures and high winds of the last few days will play havoc with ice.
Bismarck Lake: A few anglers on the ice and a few perch caught.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Stream flows remain excellent for this time of year, a situation improved upon by this week’s warm weather. Mostly nymphs and streamer fishing at present though dry flies can catch attention during midday hours.
Canyon Lake: Trout showing up on occasion on powerbait and small spinners.
Deerfield Reservoir: Good ice condition reported and a good trout bite reported. Small jigs tipped with a minnow or wax worm seem to be the ticket. Perch bite continues in Gold run area on maggots and waxworms. Fish are small, however, and sorting is required to find 10 and 11 inch keepers.
Pactola Reservoir: Fishing activity is largely relegated to Jenney Gulch, one of the few areas on the lake that has workable ice with most of the lake still in an open water state. Anglers setting up in Jenney Gulch, extreme caution advised, are finding some northern pike and lake trout activity.
Rapid Creek: Excellent trout fishing from below Pactola down through Rapid City, a situation that should continue to improve as long as the weather stays upon freezing during daytime hours. Nymphs are recommended with occasional opportunities for surface fishing during warm weather midge hatches.
Sheridan Lake: Good numbers of fishermen were on the ice last week and were catching northern pike (sucker chubs or golden shiners), as well as perch (25-30 feet of water and responding to wax worms or maggots). As mentioned earlier, pressure ridges have built on around the north marina and should be avoided.
Stockade Lake: Ice fishermen out earlier in the week were catching some nice-sized perch and a few bass on fathead minnows and shiners.
Lakes Oahe: Some action back in the Cheyenne though with limited success. Better chances remain in bays to the north.
Lake Sharp: Numbers of boats out over the weekend below the dam and around the bridges and enjoying a solid walleye bite. Water remains open throughout the lake and warm weather has stymied ice fishing to this point.
Lake Francis Case: Limited activity the past week and no reports of success. .
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.