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Black Hills, SD (Jan. 16th, 2024)

Brrrrrr, has it been cold outside!  Like most of the Ice Belt, the Black Hill region has been subjected to the harsh Arctic front that came through over the weekend.  Temperatures have been well below 0 and wind chills have been well below -30 degrees for the last several days and low temperatures will continue for another week before they rebound into the 30s and 40s.  While outdoor activities have been limited to all but the hardiest of ice fishing individuals, temperatures are leading to a massive buildup of ice in the area.  What lakes still had some open water are now locked tight and adding inches.  This is good news for those who have been waiting to get onto Pactola Reservoir, where large lake trout will begin to be targeted now.  And, despite the frigid temps, the bite has been good around the Hills.  With these conditions in mind, here’s the current fishing reports for the Black Hills region:

Belle Fourche Reservoir is frozen over with anywhere from 5″-7″ of ice, but the reports are prior to the deep freeze from the weekend, which will have added more inches onto the lake.  A fairly good walleye bite is currently going on.  Other than the bays on Angostura Reservoir, no other reports have come in from it, either of ice conditions or the bite.

While ice fishermen and women have been hitting Pactola’s gulches and bays for a few weeks now, the main lake freezing over now will open it up to those looking to target the big lakers that prowl its depths.  A few nice 30+” specimens have already been caught.  But prior to this, Jenny Gulch was covered with over 8″ of ice and was seeing a lot of fishing activity as people have been going after pike that are normally caught in there, with a few nice ones coming up through the ice.  Large rainbow trout have also been being caught, mostly on gold or silver spoons.  Sheridan Lake has been seeing heavy fishing pressure on the weekends as people have been going after its bluegills and perch.  Small tungsten jigs in pink or purple tipped with waxworms have been working well in 8′-10′ of water.  With the entire lake frozen now, the perch will be targeted hard in preparation for the tournament on the lake at the end of the month.  Stockade Lake has a decent bluegill and crappie bite going on, but the bite can be sporadic and ends in the late morning before picking up again later in the afternoon.  A few northerns are also showing up in the north and western bays.  Deerfield has seen loads of activity as people have been targeting the lake trout that were stocked back in October.  Many 30″ or better specimens have been caught.  Laker activity will shift to Pactola now that the main body has frozen over. Lots of rainbows, splake, and perch are being caught as well.

As far as the trout lakes (Sylvan, Mitchell, Roubaix, Lakota, Horsethief, Center, Legion) are concerned, they all have 10″ or more of ice and are seeing fairly good trout bites though barometric pressure has been affecting the bites on all of them.  On low and moderate pressure days, the bite is on fire on most 4mm and 5mm sized jigs in about any color.  But on high pressure days, it is a tough bite, even on the normally high catch location of Center Lake.  For more information on the fishing and ice conditions of the Black Hills region, be sure to contact Scott Olson at dr.auger81@hotmail.com, on Facebook/Instagram, or check out his website at drauger81.wixsite.com/drauger81 for more tips.