A glance at the upcoming forecast with more snow predicted on Friday, continued freezing temps on Saturday, and an April with temps generally topping out in the mid-50s pretty much sums up the 2018 spring fishing season. Days a bit too warm for fishable ice, and a degree or two too chilly to allow for comfortable conditions at locations where open water otherwise beckons. The result of the constantly fluctuating weather is that very few fishermen are trying their luck. And for the intrepid few that are venturing out, lady luck is quite fickle.
The ice on most of the mountain lakes — Deerfield remains the exception —has become unsafe, or inaccessible due to the breakup of shorelines. For fishermen who simply need to put a line in the water, Angostura has open water and boat docks available. Otherwise, a little trout fishing in an area stream can perhaps tide over anxiety until spring truly springs, or summer finally arrives.
Angostura Reservoir: A few boats have been out on the lake testing the newly opened waters and a few of the early birds have been experiencing some success catching walleyes with jigs and minnows.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Lake has plenty of ice though with shorelines open ice is inaccessible. With water releases from the dam, the channel is running swiftly stirring up muddy, unfishable, water. A few anglers have been fishing open water off points at Gadens and Fruitdale though with very limited success.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Another week of roller-coaster weather conditions will complicate area stream fishing though warmer days will offer plenty of opportunities to lure a trout to an attractive presentation. Dry fly fishing with blue-winged olive mayfly or little black stoneflies should be promising. And nymph and streamer fishing should be excellent as well.
Deerfield Reservoir: Deerfield is one of the few Black Hills area lakes that still has fishable ice though extreme caution is a must near shorelines. Best ice is in Dutchman’s and Gold Run areas. Anglers working those areas with waxworms and red spikes have been locating perch in 40-50 feet of water.
New Underwood Dam: Anglers have been catching bluegill by dangling nightcrawlers.
Pactola Reservoir: A combination of inclement weather and deteriorating ice have curtailed fishing activity at present.
Sheridan Lake: Lake remains in transition until ice clears.
Lake Oahe: Some of the lakeshore points are open and a few anglers have been out seeking northern pike, though without a great deal of success to this point. Elsewhere, plenty of ice awaiting the melt of warmer weather before 2018 fishing season can proceed to spring bite.
Lake Sharpe: As elsewhere, the weather continues to make for unpleasant conditions though reports indicate some walleye activity near the stilling basin and around the bridges. Weather has largely curtailed activity in typical hotspots to the south.
Lake Francis Case: Anglers have been catching walleyes either from boat or shore in the Chamberlain area particularly near rocky shorelines working jigs and minnows.
Fishing Tournaments Notice
Walleyes Unlimited: April 28-29 at Lake Angostura, 60 two-man team limit, $120 entry fee per team. Entry forms available at area hunting and fishing merchandise outlets or by contacting Walleyes Unlimited.
Keith Merrell Memorial Kids Cancer Fundraiser sponsored by High Plains Anglers: April 28 (9 a.m.- 1 p.m.) at Belle Fourche Reservoir. At time or registration (Wheel and Bait Shop (18696 Fishermen’s Road) participants will be provided with a 30-inch kids fishing pole ($10 per child, $30 adult) to use during the event. Hot dogs, chips and drinks will be served around noon. Prizes awarded for biggest fish caught. Contact Wheel and Bail Shop (605-892-3000) for additional info.
3rd Annual Jared Roe Memorial Walleye Fishing Tournament: June 2 at Angostura. $50 per 3 person team. Briefing at Shelter No. 3 at 7 a.m. Prizes include money and fishing gear with a portion of the proceeds donated to the South Dakota National Guard Supplemental Mission Fund. Visit jaredroememorial.com for additonal info.
Fall River Swim Team Father’s Day fishing tournament: June 16 at Angostura. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional info.
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), and Angostura State Resort have contributed to this report.