There is a cool crispness that is starting to come over the Black Hills region at night now, perhaps signaling the coming of fall and better fishing conditions. Some warmer weather is still on tap though, so we can't start getting our hopes up too much quite yet. As such, some fishing spots have shown an improvement in the numbers of fish being caught, but overall, conditions are still pretty tough when trying to find a consistent bite.
The two walleye lakes, Angostura and Belle Fourche, are still seeing slow bites though Angostura has seen an increase in the number of fish being caught recently. Lindy rigs with minnows in 15'-20' of water is the best bet currently. Catches of crappie are also showing up at the south marina area. Belle Fourche Reservoir is way down in depth and is only 40% capacity at the moment. Walleyes are few and far between due to an abundance of bait fish at present, though, catfish are going pretty good near the channel when water releases are coming in.
Deerfield Reservoir has a decent trout bite happening on spinners and Powerbait for both shore fishermen and boaters. Perch are also showing up near the dam in 30'-40' with jigs and worms working best. No lake trout activity reported. Pactola Reservoir, however, has seen some large Lakers caught recently on big white tubes being jigged in over 80' of water on the main body of the lake. Bluegills are also schooled up at the marina area, though most are on the small side. As the temperatures drop over the next month, pike activity should increase with it.
Sheridan Lake is seeing limits of rainbow trout being taken closer to the dam while perch activity is starting to pick up around the north marina area. Spinners coupled with occasional cowbells are bringing the best luck for boat fishermen. Bass are being caught near the south campground area on spinnerbaits and a few pike are starting to show up again along the Hwy 385 inlet area. Stockade Lake still has an ongoing bluegill bite with a few good sized ones to go with the numbers of smaller fish. Some bass are still being caught on spinnerbaits, though jigs rigged with tubes or crawdads are quickly starting to catch more fish. A few pike are also showing up using shallow running crankbaits thrown along the weed edges.
The trout lakes of Sylvan, Center, Roubaix, and Lakota have reported little activity except for Roubaix, where an early morning bite is best at present. These lakes will also start seeing increased activity as the water cools in the next month or so. As we all wait for fall to officially start and we watch anxiously for the leaves to start changing color, it's important to make sure and get out in spite of the tough conditions. Every trip can be a learning experience plus it's hard to beat any time on the water even when it's like it is currently. But soon, cooler weather will return and the fish will begin to put the feedbags on. Start prepping for that time now and you'll be ready when it hits soon.