Well, the dog days of summer have kicked in big time in the area. Hot weather is here and here to stay for at least the next few weeks. Afternoon trips will have to be avoided to stay out of the intense heat in the area or perhaps spent in the lake rather than on it to cool off. Fishing activity has generally slowed down to almost a crawl on many lakes other than some trout ones. But for the intrepid anglers in the area, there are still catches to be made in the morning and evening hours when the heat is not as intense. With that in mind, here is what area lakes are currently looking like:
The walleye bite on Angostura has not changed much since the summer started-slow to nonexistent most days. Bass have proved more susceptible to being caught in weedy areas on topwater baits and there has been crappie activity reported in Horsehead Bay.
On Orman Dam, timing is everything right now as the walleye only seem to be on the prowl for a short time before shutting off, but there has been no consistent time when the bite is turning on and it's more about being in the right place at the right time. Those catching walleyes are having more luck with crankbaits in 20'-25' of water than with bottom bouncers at present.
If there is a bright spot in the area for fishing, Deerfield is seeing a pretty good trout bite lake wide on small crankbaits, flat fish, and flasher lures in 7'-14' of water. Perch are also biting near the bottom, but sorting is required as usual.
Pactola is also seeing a good rainbow bite with larger specimens being caught. The bays still have a decent bluegill bite going on the standard, kid-friendly bobber and worm setup.
Sheridan is seeing a perch bite along the buoy line at the north marina in 20'-25' of water on small jigs and worms. Some trout activity also reported in the Dakota Point area. Fish are deeper with the water temps hovering around 74 degrees.
Reports from Stockade indicate it still tough on the lake, with few catches of bass, pike, or bluegills.
The trout lakes are reporting good catches in the evenings as the fish hunt near the surface when it is cooler. Center, Sylvan, Lakota, Bismarck, Horsethief, and Roubaix are all seeing better catches after 5pm and on a variety of baits, from spinner and small spoons to worms and salmon eggs. To catch a fish right now for kids or the kid at heart, these are probably the best bets, especially from shore.
And New Underwood Dam is seeing some impressive bluegills coming out of it lately, with the fish suspended in 6'-8' of water.
So, there are places to catch fish at in the Hills, but none of the area's most desired fish seem to be cooperating as usual during this time of the year. The air is hot, the water temps are warm, and only much persistence will bring in some fish. So, plan those trips for the early morning or later evenings when it is cooler and you might just get lucky and find some fish to be caught, regardless of the species. Best not to be choosy about what's biting and just enjoy being outside and catching whatever is biting!