The frigid air of the past few days, kept all but the most hardcore of ice anglers off the hardwater, but those that ventured out were rewarded with some good catches of fish. The temperatures will be more seasonal for the next week or so and this weekend will be a very nice one, with highs predicted into the high 40s or low 50s before returning to normal winter temps. Here are reports from the lakes in the Hills:
Angostura Reservoir has good ice in most of the bays, with most of the action going on in Shep's Canyon or off Horsehead. The walleye bite, though, has been slow and those that are being caught are on the small side. Spoons with a minnow head or dead sticks have seen most of the action with fish being caught in anywhere from 15' to 25' of water.
Belle Fourche Reservoir, thanks to the frigid air, hasn't seen much activity this past week and those that ventured out reported a slow walleye bite after sunset. Despite the cold, there is still open water off Gaden's Point, so do not assume the entire lake has good ice.
Pactola Reservoir is seeing a decent Lake Trout bite happening on the south side, from the visitor center area to the beach. Lots of smaller ones (20"-26") being caught with a few over 30" in the mix as well.
Jenny Gulch is seeing some pike action as well. The main lake body is still open so use caution and stick to the better ice areas
The big Sheridan Lake perch/pike tournament this past weekend saw large numbers of perch caught, though most were on the small side. Tungsten jigs tipped with red maggots or waxies caught most of them in 15'-25' of water. There was a good pike bite as well as dozens were brought in to weigh, including a 21 pounder that helped that team win first place.
Deerfield Reservoir continues to see a good perch and rainbow trout bite with perch (mostly small) being caught in 25'-35' of water on plastics or maggots and rainbows being caught in less than 10' of water on larger pink, red, or chartreuse plastics. Some Lakers are being caught as well in shallower water.
Stockade Lake has a decent crappie and bluegill bite happening on the north and east side of the lake with most of the action concentrated near the dam area. A few largemouth and smallmouth bass have been in the mix as well. Red maggots or small plastics are having the best luck. Some pike action has also been reported on the west side on shiners or frozen smelt.
The trout lakes (Sylvan, Center, Mitchell, Bismarck) have decent bites happening as well, with plastics, salmon eggs, or corn reported to be working well.
As we head into the mid-winter doldrums, the fishing could get a bit harder as the fish begin to head deeper or scatter so now is a great time to get out and catch some fish. Be sure to check on lake conditions at local bait shops or online fishing forums. We have some great resources at our disposal to help us get on good ice and find some fish.