Wednesday’s arrival of this winter’s seemingly endless crop of snowstorms will limit fishing activity in the Black Hills for a spell, until snowplows do their work and open access to waters in the region.
On a more positive note, the colder temps on tap into the weekend will assure safer conditions when ice fishermen return to the ice though a snow cover coupled with temps warming into the 40’s next week can contribute to a change in that status. And the recent up and down temperature weather patterns prevalent in the area can produce treacherous pressure ridges.
A glance at fishing activity over the last week doesn’t reveal much change. Activity on higher elevation Black Hills area lakes remains steady bites while action on prairie lakes remains slow or non-existent.
All in all, given the weather in store for the next couple days, staying close to home and perhaps taking in a session of the South Dakota High School Wrestling championships at The Monuments Summit Arena this weekend might be a better choice.
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Angostura Reservoir: Limited activity with a few reports of some walleye activity. Ice conditions have been okay for the most part though a plank or ladder may be required to gain access in spots.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): No fishing activity reported.
Black Hills Streams: Trout activity in Rapid Creek through town has been steady when temps (above freezing) allow. Midge hatches have been producing a steady bite during midday hours. Nymphs remain go-to choices with small midge patterns and pink hot spots jigs working best.
Curlew Lake: Mixed reports with reports of pike bite amid low water conditions. And a report of unsafe ice in mid-lake ice areas.
Custer State Park Lakes: If you can get there, trout are probably waiting.
Deerfield Lake: Perch (typically small) and trout bites continue. Perch have been showing up in 10-20 feet of water and responding to a variety of presentations.
Pactola Reservoir: Perch, trout, crappie, and northern pike bites reported. Perch and trout have been active in the south marina area while Jenney Gulch has offered a nice pike bite. And, a few lakers are being caught in deeper waters. Also, beware a pressure ridge reported near the north marina.
Sheridan Lake: Perch, trout and northern pike action at times. Working bays and inlets has worked best for perch and trout with waxworms, red spikes, small minnows, or lure presentations. Chubs and similar large presentation offerings have worked best for pike. Also, a few of the walleye fingerlings introduced to the lake have been caught though as yet quite small.
Stockade Lake: Bites of perch, bluegill, and pike reported though time and locations vary.
Lakes Oahe: Walleye activity is hit and miss. Some success in northern locations on spoons, jigs and minnows. Bite has been slower farther south. Northern pike activity reported in bays as pike explore possible spawning locations. Mid-week blizzard will limit access and shut down activity for a while.
Lakes Sharpe and Francis Case: Inclement weather trumps all at present.
Ice Fishing Tournaments
- The Rooster Lake Trout/Pike Olympics: February 14-28, $300 gift cards to the largest released fish (photos required) in each category. Contest is free though participants must sign up at The Rooster prior to catching fish. Additional details are available at store on Facebook site.
- Wild Walleye Outfitters Series: Angostura (April 29-30), Orman (May 13-14), Shadehill (June 10-11). Early registration advised. Check out at wildwalleyeoutfitters.com or call (605) 519-4286 for additional information.
Dakota Angler & Outfitter, 513 Seventh St., Rapid City; The Rooster, 1441 W. Main St., Rapid City; Wheel in Bait Shop, 18696 Fisherman’s Road, Fruitdale, and West Prairie Resort, 28354 182nd, Pierre (605-264-5303) have contributed to this report.