Cold temps this week and into next have got many of us itching for the lakes to start freezing up around the Hills area. Some higher stock dams and ponds are reported to be frozen over, though with less than an inch of ice so far.
With nighttime temperatures getting down into the teens, near single digits, for the next 4-5 days, it's possible that a few ambitious fishermen might try to get on some hardwater next week, but if so, be sure to take extreme precautions and bring every safety device you own as well as a buddy. Temperatures will rebound back into the low 50s later in the week which could spur on a great trout bite around the area. In the meantime, here's the current reports coming out of the lakes of the Black Hills:
On the lakes of Angostura and Belle Fourche, the cold weather has been keeping all but the diehards off the lakes. Walleye are currently being caught in 20' to 25' of water in Angy with jigs tipped with minnows or Lindy rigs working well. Most of the activity is taking place on the north side of the lake.
High winds on Belle Fourche have kept most off the lake, but the warming weather next week could spur on a late fall bite, especially in the bigger 'eyes over 20". Bass and crappie were reported being caught off the face of the dam, making it an ideal place for shore fishermen to take a shot at the lake.
Pactola is seeing a good trout bite at present, especially back in Jenny Gulch early in the morning with some good-sized fish. Working silver and blue spoons over the weeds is working best. The pike activity in the area should also start picking up now that cooler temperatures have persisted. Some lake trout were also reported being caught in deeper water on the main body.
Sheridan hasn't seen much activity, though perch and crappie had been reported as being caught with jigs tipped with chunks of worms and kept about 2' off the bottom in 15' to 20' of water. Pike activity has slowed but could pick up with the colder weather near the Hwy 385 inlet.
Deerfield is seeing a good trout bite from shore fishermen working spoons or slip bobbers with worms or salmon eggs at present. Stockade has been quiet, but the warm-up next week could spur on a good bass and pike bite working spinnerbaits or shallow running cranks along weed edges. The panfish bite should also start picking up as it gets closer to ice lock-up.
The trout lakes (Sylvan, Center, Roubaix, Lakota) have been steady with fishermen working spoons, spinners, or worms from shore, but the warmer weather near the middle of next week, could spur on a rapid uptick in their feeding activities.
The transition from open to ice fishing has started for many of us and now it's just a matter of waiting for the lakes to lock up and get some safe ice on them. It shouldn't be too much longer once the next warm stretch passes next week. Start getting your reels spooled, check on your sleds and hubs, and charge those Vexilar batteries because the hardwater will be coming to the Hills soon!