A quandary to be sure. A week or so ago in the midst of a spell of cold weather, boats were headed to storage and ice fishing appeared to be right around the corner. A prediction a little too precipitous perhaps, particularly with a high of 68 predicted for today and a spell of nice weather extending through Thanksgiving.
The uptick in temps has rejuvenated the walleye bite in some area lakes (and on the Missouri River), while trout activity in Black Hills area streams remains on full throttle as well.
While a few intrepid ice fishermen have ventured on to some hard stuff, Hills lakes are not yet safe and ice fishing is not recommended, a situation that will continue for most likely a month or so.
Angostura Reservoir: Angostura remains somewhat active for walleye though bite is a little more spotty than in recent weeks. However, there have been some nice sized fish showing up recently with some 28-32 inchers included in catches. Jig and minnow continues to be the bait of choice.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Anglers were on the lake again last week, and while the walleye were not streaming to the hook, the bite was improved from recent weeks. Despite the lake still on the low side (40 percent capacity), boaters (main dock remains in) and shore fishermen were enjoying moderate success. Dam area and Gaden’s Point have been the most active areas. Preferable baits vary though small chubs and minnows seem to be working best.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: Spell of nice weather ahead portends excellent fly fishing opportunities. Blue winged olives and midge hatches are resuming, and dry fly action should improve as well during midday hours.
Deerfield Reservoir: Limited activity reported due to onset of icing on the perimeter. Most action presently is to be found in Castle Creek below the dam where trout activity can often be found during midday hours.
Pactola Reservoir: No reports received this week though trout have been active recently near north marina (powerbait or trout spinners working best) and a few northern pike were being caught as well.
Shadehill Reservoir: The walleye turned hungry last week after a few weeks of lassitude. Included in the catches are some nice specimens measuring 27-30 inches. Back bays have been frozen (no ice fishing yet) though main lake is open.
Lake Oahe: An unusually slow walleye bite on the big lake that cut fishing numbers this season coupled with cold and wind will ground most of the activity for awhile. However, salmon will on the move which could create some late season interest.
Lake Sharpe: Anglers enjoying better weather (and not in Vermillion to watch the Pierre High School Governor's claim the 11AA football title) were catching walleye from the bridges south to Stony Point. Minnow jigs or minnow/bottom bouncers are recommended.
Lake Francis Case: An active walleye bite near Chamberlain continues with shore fishermen reporting limits along areas of riprap while boat fishermen have been locating the action around the bridges.
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.