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Black Hills, SD (Dec 3rd, 2023)

Black Hills Area Fishing Report

Ice season has officially begun in the Black Hills!  Since the cold snap that started on Thanksgiving, the local small trout ponds have all frozen over, with reports indicating that they all have between 4″ to 5″ of ice on them.  The bigger lakes in the region are on the way to getting ice, but more time will be needed, especially with a few warmer days coming up.  But reports coming in from both iced over and open bodies of water is that the bite is going strong across the board, a welcome change from the slower catches that have marred the lakes lately.  With these conditions in mind, here’s the current fishing report:

The walleye bite has picked up on Angostura and Belle Fourche Reservoirs as the walleye are on the hunt for food to bulk up for the coming hardwater season.  Lots of catches being reported on jigs and crankbaits along with bass in less than 15′ of water.  No ice on them yet and the docks are still in for the time being until the surface starts to ice up.  Crappie catches are also showing up at Angostura on slip bobbers and small minnows.

Pactola Reservoir has a hot trout bite going on at the south marina, boat launch, and in the bays along it.  Rainbows are responding well to minnows under bobbers while brown trout are following gold spoons.  Lake trout are being caught in depths of 40′ to 60′ on big tube jigs.  No pike activity reported, but that should change as ice starts forming in the Jenny Gulch area.  Sheridan Lake has ice along the highway 385 area, but its thickness hasn’t been reported.  Best to wait a bit longer.  Other than a strong rainbow bite along the north marina area, no other reports coming in as the lake is in a holding pattern for first ice in the bays.  Ice has covered the western area of Deerfield Reservoir, but no reports of how thick it currently is.  Activity on the lake has been relegated to the eastern side near the Dutchman boat launch area where lake trout were recently stocked, with many reports of 26″ to 33″ specimens being caught from shore on gold spoons and jigs with big white plastics.  Stockade is iced over, with ice fisherman starting to get on it as report of 4″ across most of the lake reported, but caution is still advised.  Bluegills and crappie are currently on the chow there. 

The best news for ice fishermen and women in the area is that all of the trout lakes (Center, Lakota, Mitchell, Roubaix, Dalton) have 5″-6″ of good ice cover and the fish are hungry with many reports coming in on the bite.  These lakes and conditions make a good way to test new ice gear and make sure everything is working as locals wait for the bigger lakes to become safe for walking on.  But still don’t forget the safety gear while hitting these locations—ice picks, boot spikes, safety rope, spud bars, and, of course, don’t go out alone.  For more information on the Black Hills region and its current fishing conditions, be sure to contact Scott Olson at dr.auger81@hotmail.com, on Facebook at Dr. Auger Ice Fishing Services LLC, or visit his website, drauger81.wixsite.com/drauger81.