Warm and sunny temperatures this week have made for some excellent weather to get out on some ice, but the nicer weather has also brought on a high barometer, causing fish to be more lethargic. Patience and lure selection could be the name of the game for those who are looking at going out.
This weekend, temperatures are expected to be in the high 40s or low 50s, but the pressure will be heading downward as well starting Saturday, which could lead to some more aggressive fish and near perfect weather for families or groups. Caution is advised, however, for those looking to hit up the walleye lakes or the main body of Pactola. With these conditions in mind, here's the current reports from area lakes:
Pressure ridges have been observed on Pactola's main area which has just recently had walkable ice on it. The weather could make for unsafe conditions for Laker fishermen looking to get out so be extremely careful. It might be a good idea even to wait for the return of colder weather before getting onto Pac's main body.
The southside beach and dock areas have a good bluegill bite going on at present and Jenny Gulch still has good ice for ATV traffic. As one gets closer to Bear Gulch, however, caution is advised as the ice is much thinner there. Some pike and Laker activity has been reported.
Reports from Angostura and Orman Dam have been spotty this week, with ice conditions varying due to the warmer weather. Most bays on Angy are good for foot traffic, though ice thickness varies, and catches have been slow. Orman has been seeing some crappie action by the dam and Gaden's Point is seeing most of the walleye action. Reports from Orman also say the shad population is thinning, which could spur on better walleye action soon.
Deerfield has been seeing a lot of fishing activity, having the safest ice in the Hills with ice anywhere from 16" to 22" reported lake wide. Perch are biting fairly throughout most of the lake with most activity situated in the Gold Run area. Rainbows continue to be caught in the area as well in less than 10' of water.
On the west side, some decent Laker activity on shiners has been reported. Sheridan Lake, site of this Sunday's SD Walleyes Unlimited Perch/Pike tournament, has seen a drastic slowdown in the perch bite with fish scattered and roaming as they settle into midwinter patterns. A lot of searching will be required for tournament goers.
Only pike reports have been coming from the 385 area of the lake in 8'-10' of water. Stockade is seeing a decent panfish and bass bite, though patience is required. Shiners on dead sticks have been working on bass. Northland's new Mini Predator rig has been a killer on them. Pink or red jigs tipped with red plastics or red maggots has been a winning ticket on pannies. Lots of small pike are also being caught lake wide.
The trout lakes (Sylvan, Center, Lakota, Mitchell, Legion, Horsethief) have seen much activity with all lakes seeing catches of trout, mostly on small side. Some bigger specimens have been reported out of Lakota. Multiple presentations have been working on small jigs tipped with plastics or maggots or dead sticks with crappie minnows on them.
With the nicer weather this weekend, it's a great time to get out and enjoy some time on the ice, whether in the Sheridan Lake tournament or just for fun. Most of the lakes have thick ice on them and the fish should be on the prowl as well. It could be a good time to get those unaccustomed to ice fishing out for a try. So be sure to soak up some midwinter sunlight and wet a line soon!