With the Fourth of July celebrations and attendant fireworks displays tapering off, fishing pursuits can return to the fore at area lakes though temperatures soaring into the upper 90’s over the weekend may cause a bit of distraction. Fishing activity in area lakes has declined somewhat as waters warm and fish move to deeper waters. Fortunately for Black Hills area residents, access to area streams might be a good bet. That is if the sight of a trout on the line, the sound of rippling waters, and quick access to shady conditions appeal.
One thing for sure given the weather ahead: any fishing excursion will require plenty of water, suntan lotion, and a can of bug spray.
Angostura Reservoir: Reports received this week were mostly negative as the walleye bite has gone into midsummer, tail-off mode. So much so that even experienced anglers were coming up empty. Fish are scattered and the few caught on the small side. Crawlers and leeches have been working best.
Bear Butte Lake: Looking for an easily accessible, scenic location where the kids can have some fun Bear Butte might be the spot as bullheads are plentiful.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): The weekend storm created some havoc in the Gadens Point area though campgrounds for the most part escaped serious damage. The walleye bite has slackened somewhat though limits are still being caught on crawlers and leeches. Catches are typically a mix of over, unders, and slots.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Water flows have settled a bit though runoffs continue to muddy waters of Black Hills streams. Nonetheless, streams are still producing fish. Rapid Creek has cleared somewhat through town and trout are hanging out in edges and next to banks and responding to nymphs and larger flies.
Deerfield Reservoir: Activity on the lake remains on the slow side. Anglers are reporting a few trout and some perch though numbers have been limited. Actually, best fishing is probably found below the dam in Castle Creek at present.
Horsethief Lake: Rainbow trout bite has been on fire recently and worth a look see.
Pactola Reservoir: Bluegill bite is off the charts with fish available in most bays on minnows or crawlers. Also, northern pike are being caught in Jenney Gulch on frozen smelt, and trout remain active in spots as well.
Shadehill Reservoir: Walleye activity slowed a bit last week though fish taken are nice-sized. Some crappie activity as well.
Sheridan Lake: Trout remain active, and perch are starting to show up along the shoreline adjacent to Highway 385. Activity is most prevalent in early morning or late evening. A nightcrawler worked just off the bottom has been work best. Some northern pike activity (on frozen smelt) and some crappie activity as well though fish are typically small.
Stockade Lake: Bluegill and crappie bites reported--minnows, crawlers, or flies-- and a few smallmouth bass as well.
Lake Oahe: The walleye bite remains steady with the best action found from the mouth of the Cheyenne River to Minneconjou. Fish are typically located off the points and best responding to crawlers and leeches. Depths can vary depending upon whether walleye are feeding on smelt (25-30 foot of water) or shad (10-15 foot) however cold water from recent runoffs has generally kept the fish in shallow water. On an additional positive note, SD Game, Fish, & Parks recently stocked 2.1 million walleye fingerlings in lower Oahe, an action that should begin to pay off in three years or so.
Lake Sharpe: Anglers fishing nights in fast water below the dam are catching plenty of catfish including a bunch in the two to ten pound range. Catfish aren’t particular so a variety of baits--chubs, smelt or crawlers--will attract their attention. Though anglers are finding walleye activity from Pierre area to West Bend, the specimens showing up are typically under 15 inches and in the throwback category. Bouncers with spinners and crawlers are working best.
Lake Francis Case: Walleye bite has been solid in Chamberlain area though sorting is often necessary. Bluffs have been the most active with the fish located at depths of 5-15 foot of water and responding to spinners and crawlers.
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.