Seems but a few days ago an ice fisherman’s biggest concern was finding a patch of safe ice upon which to drop a line in the water. That obstacle has been quickly hurdled as with the exception of some mid-lake concerns on the area’s larger lakes the ice is firm and inviting (seven to ten inches on most lakes). With that, the main worry presently has to do with finding sufficient time to enjoy the opportunity. Don’t let warm weather enthusiasm short circuit normal cautionary measures. As always, be safe out there as warm temps and accompanying wind can create hazardous ice in a hurry. Don’t turn a trip to any of the area spots that make the Black Hills area a winter wonderland into a frighteningly wet experience. And don’t forget those ice cleats to protect the noggin.
Angostura Reservoir: Safe ice has formed on much of the lake though fishing numbers have been down because of the weather. Nice weather forecast for the weekend should change that as walleye have been active in recent weeks.
Belle Fourche Reservoir (Orman): Eight inches of ice reported on most of the lake though some areas (Fruitdale and below the dam) do require extreme caution. And with warm weather and wind ice can deteriorate in a hurry. Best areas for catching a few walleye at present are off Gadens Point where fishermen have been taking four-wheelers on to the ice.
Black Hills Fly Fishing: With warmer weather ahead, streams at lower elevation should be fishable particularly in town and below the dam. Mostly nymph fishing though a chance of midge hatch on the weekend.
Deerfield Reservoir: Good ice and lots of nice perch coming out of the lake in recent days. Also some lake trout activity reported and a decent trout bite s well. Gold Run area and around boat launch area have been the hot spots.
Pactola Reservoir: Understandably with the cold weather there hasn’t been a lot of recent activity on the lake. Anglers venturing out, however, have hauled up some nice-sized lake trout (a couple in the 30 inch range were caught last week). Also some crappie action reported in the Jenney Gulch area. Northern pike bite for some reason has not taken off as yet.
New Underwood Dam: Bluegill have been showing up on wax worms.
Roubaix Lake: Excellent trout bite reported with but one difficulty: most of the fish caught (jigs tipped with red maggots and plastics) are good-sized and unders have been hard to come by. Nonetheless, catching 12-14 fish on an outing certainly qualifies as fun.
Sheridan Lake: A late afternoon perch bite reported on wax worms and red spikes worked in 20-25 foot of water. Most of the action had been along Highway 385 and near the north and south marinas. Like Pactola, there hasn’t been much pike activity to date.
Stockade Lake: Some perch activity reported on small jigs and wax worms.
Tisdale Lake: Crappie bite reported with minnows and jigs providing the action.
Lake Oahe: No recent activity reported, though ice should be forming up in back bays though sub-zero wind chills have quelled the interest of fishermen.
Lake Sharpe: Some walleye activity reported in stilling basin as ice builds up throughout the system. West Bends and areas south of Pierre are probably fishable and productive though holiday activity and cold, windy weather has limited activity.
Lake Francis Case: Reports of safe ice along shorelines though as yet unsubstantiated. No reports of fishing activity have been forthcoming.
Upcoming fishing tournaments
Whitney Dock Club Ice Fishing Tournament: January 13th on Whitney Lake (Between Chadron and Crawford Nebraska), $25 per ticket with 100 spots available. Call Scott Gooder (308) 430-4896 for additional info.
Sheridan Lake Fishing Derby sponsored by Walleye Unlimited: January 28th, perch and northern pike, one-day tournament with a $30 entry fee per team. Call (605) 348-1470 or 381-9457 for additional information.
The Roosters Annual West River Ice Fishing Tournament: the year long contest features prizes awarded for largest catch in a variety of species. Contact The Rooster in Rapid City for additional details.
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.