Though snowy weather and sub-freezing temperatures descended upon the region last weekend contributing to an acceleration in ice formation on area waters, caution, caution, caution remains the refrain for the wise this week as, with a few exceptions, an abundance of fishable ice remains a few days down the road.
Thus, for anglers who prefer a loud splash with their casts, the warmer weather predicted for next week might allow a last trip to Orman or Angostura for some open water fishing. And area streams at lower elevations have excellent flows likely suitable for good fishing throughout the winter months.
As for those ice fishermen with low patience tolerances, make it a must before venturing out (with ice cleats affixed to boots) to have a pair of ice spikes and a rope (throwback variety recommended) readily available.
Of course, before doing so, have developed a working knowledge of the lake and its structures, checked the ice thickness (at least four inches for walking), and committed to avoiding areas of snow pack and near open water.
Angostura Reservoir: Few anglers and fewer fish summed up the weekend as most would-be anglers chose to watch snowflakes through the warmer side of windows. Nonetheless, water is open and walleye have been active responding to Lindy rigs and minnows.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Winter storm added to what has been virtually a no-fish zone for the last few weeks as fishermen patiently await safe ice conditions.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Stream fishing remains quite good on days when temperatures are above freezing with nymphs the wise choice on most occasions though midge hatches will be beginning and bringing fish to the surface.
Canyon Lake: Trout bite reported on either powerbait or small spinners.
Castle Creek: Some open water trout fishing for the first couple of miles below the dam but too icy thereafter.
Center, Mitchell, and Roubaix Lakes: As previously reported, the aforementioned lakes do have fishable ice though caution and good ice safety procedures remain a must.
Deerfield Reservoir: A repeat of last week as no recent reports have been forthcoming. Ice conditions are likely workable in a few locations, particularly in the Gold Run area, though a week or two wait before venturing out is advised.
Pactola Reservoir: Open water fishing continue to produce some nice-sized rainbow trout (spinners and small jigs). Ice reported in Jenney Gulch though no reports of anglers out as yet.
Rapid Creek: The stream through Rapid City continues to produce trout and will be one of the area’s hot spots throughout the winter months. It’s mostly nymph fishing now though midge hatches will occur throughout the winter allowing for some excellent surface fishing.
Sheridan Lake: Ice forming though as yet no reports of fishable ice.
Stockade Lake: Fishable ice in a few locations along shoreline (carefully, carefully check depths before venturing out) and a report of walleye caught.
Lakes Oahe: For anglers willing to brave the weather on less wind-blown days, a few walleye are being caught in the Cheyenne. Not in numbers caught but in fish size as some fish in the eight and nine pound range are showing up. On the negative side, the lake does have lots of bait fish available at present.
Lake, Sharp: Excellent walleye bite in the Pierre area with the majority of fishermen out reporting limits taken on jig/minnow or bounce/minnow rigs.
Lake Francis Case: Not much fishing activity reported as of late. The few anglers out--primarily in the immediate Chamberlain area, and when temperatures allow--are finding limited walleye action.
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.