With Angostura Reservoir being very hit or miss lately here in the Black Hills, as far as the walleye bite goes, my friend Matt decided to take his boat up to Orman Dam to see if the hot 'eye bite was there instead.
Recent reports had indicated it was the spot to go, but both of us are very unfamiliar with it since we don't get up there much and when we've been up there for ice fishing trips, it usually doesn't give up any fish to us.
We got some advice from a local guiding friend of ours, Kevin from Wild Walleye Outfitters, and we figured we'd have a decent shot at catching some fish. Trolling Lindy rig style baits or bottom bouncers was the ticket. The hard part was making sure to stay within the suggested depth when we were so unfamiliar with the lake.
When it comes to bottom bouncers, I like using Northland Tackle's Slick Stick bouncers because they rarely get stuck and they make it easy to feel the bottom compared to traditional bottom bouncers. I paired it with their Butterfly Blade rig since we troll pretty slow and the polycarbonate blade turns well at very low speeds.
On my other rod, I was running with a traditional Lindy style rig with a Northland Roach Walker sinker for some extra color in the slightly stained water. At the other end of the line, I've been enjoying using the super-sensitive Jason Mitchell Elite series rods from Clam Outdoors paired with Viper II reels from Piscifun this summer for a great walleye/bass combo.
It was certainly a hot day weather-wise. I was certainly happy to be wearing my Blackfish UPF-Coolcore shirt and gator to help with the heat and both Matt's kid and I appreciated the bimini top on his boat. While the bite wasn't necessarily hot, it wasn't too cold either as Matt or I both caught several walleyes each, most within the slot limit on Orman, though I did manage one nicer 19" specimen.
Not a trophy fish by any means, but a nice change regardless and we did learn a few things as well which should help us whenever we decide to head up there again. With any luck, we may try the spots we were at over the winter too and see if Orman will give a few 'eyes to us. While it isn't the most familiar place for us, sometimes you got to try some place new when your usual lakes are producing. You might be more willing to try it again next time and learn some more about it. Tight lines all!