As one fishermen put it this week, “the fish are banked up like cordwood and looking for bait.” Now granted, fishermen do have a tendency to lean toward exaggeration, but even if the report is sprinkled with a grain of salt — perhaps downgraded to “stacked up like kindling” — that would still be pretty darn good.
Credit a week of warm weather, and the usual early autumn upgrade in fishing activity for the good news forecast. Fortunately, the weather forecast remains on the rosy side for the next week or so, thus allowing ample opportunities for anglers to add a stringer of fish to an outdoor outing. The bottom line: should be another week where opportunities to hunt and fish abound for South Dakota outdoor sportsmen.
Angostura Reservoir: Walleye bite remains excellent particularly on the north side of the lake. Minnows worked in 15-20 foot of water recommended at present. Crappie — near south marina — and smallmouth bass in bays remain active as well.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Excellent walleye fishing reported last week as anglers were limiting out and doing so with plenty of overs including a specimen measuring out to 25 inches and weighing in at 7 pounds. Trolling with minnows in 20-25 feet of water has been the ticket. Fish are scattered so searching is likely required. Also, nice numbers of crappies — 12-13 inches — are being caught off the dam.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Another week of near ideal autumn weather should further stoke fly fishing opportunities in the area as trout will continue to seek surface hatches of mayflies, caddis, and terrestrials.
Deerfield Reservoir: Steady rainbow trout activity reported last week including some nice-sized fish as well. Trout haven’t been picky as minnows, crawlers, powerbait, and flies have all been producing fish. Excellent perch bite continues as well.
Keyhole Reservoir: No reports received this week though the walleye bite has been fairly strong for the last month or so thus perhaps warranting a trip to Wyoming if time allows. The lake holds some big fish as witnessed by 22 plus pound, state record drum caught earlier this summer.
Pactola Reservoir: A nice rainbow trout bite reported on powerbait, crawlers, or salmon eggs. Northern pike activity is picking up steam as water temperatures drop to near ideal 50 degrees. Trolling with tandem spinnerbaits, crankbaits, or jerkbaits recommended. And for those who like their fishing perhaps on the mild side, bluegill are usually available in bays on a bobber and piece of crawler.
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Shadehill Reservoir: Walleye and crappie activity is excellent with minnows and Rapala husky jerks the most popular presentations.
Sheridan Lake: Trout activity picked up last week as did perch and northern pike activity though on a smaller scale. As always the creek inlet near the highway has been producing trout and pike while perch are suspended two or three feet off bottom in a variety of locations.
Stockade Lake: The lake is back on the radar this week as the trout activity began to pick up on minnows, crawlers, or powerbait. Occasional northern pike action as well as fish are beginning to move out to edges of weed lines.
Spearfish Creek: Trout bite is excellent though finding a spot clear clear of leaves can be a challenge. Nymphing is typically the best bet though working surface can produce fish as well.
Lake Oahe: Varied walleye activity continues as water temps cool and fish move back into shallower water of bays. Pheasant hunting preempted fishing to a large degree in Central South Dakota though a continuation of good weather should revive somewhat.
Lakes Sharp: Despite the opening of pheasant season, the pleasant weather last week drew larger numbers of boats to the lake than in recent weeks with activity reported from Antelope Creek all the way down to Ft. George area over the weekend. Anglers were finding some walleye action with the best of it occurring during early morning hours. With another week of excellent fall weather in the offing this weekend, South Dakota outdoor sportsmen should be tempted with a near perfect scenario: chasing walleye in the morning and pheasant in the afternoon.
Francis Case: Fair walleye bite as best with most of the activity below Big Bend Dam.
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.