Thanksgiving turkey and leftovers instead of fresh fish are the likely fare this weekend as warm weather is expected to visit the area this weekend and last into early next week.
And while ice fishing enthusiasts find stretches of ice that are said to be viable, a definition that differs considerably depending on the perspective, the brief warm spell will halt most fishing activity for a while until they appear colder days and thicker ice.
However, there has been limited fishing activity in both open and ice-covered waters, and with some success as well. Lower-elevation lakes have open water in front of their shores, and several smaller, higher-elevation prairie lakes and ponds have marginally viable ice.
Viable when approaching safely is the main concern and the necessary items on hand to ensure a safe experience.
Such as creepers to prevent slipping on the ice, a rod to check the depth of the ice, float picks and a float suit, a launch bag with rope, mobile phone and a whistle and if possible a buddy-up to ensure capable assistance if needed.
And last, and certainly not least, adherence to ice thickness guidelines:
– 3 inches (7 cm) (new ice) – KEEP AWARE
– 4 inches (10 cm) – suitable for ice fishing, cross-country skiing and walking (approx. 200 lbs)
– 5 inches (12 cm) – suitable for a single snowmobile or ATV (approx. 800 lbs)
– 8-12 inches (20 – 30 cm) – suitable for one car, group of people (approx. 1500 – 2000 lbs)
– 12-15 inches (30 – 38 cm) – suitable for light pickup truck or van
Here are some updates on the waters in the area:
Angostura Reservoir: Open water and some walleye activity on minnows and jigging raps as reported recently. Also some smallmouth bass activity.
Beautiful Fork Reservoir (Orman): No fishing activity reported.
Black Hills area lakes and streams: Lakes in the higher elevation Black Hills area do have some ice, especially in smaller bodies of water. Cold weather has hampered fishing in the creek, but with temperatures rising above freezing for a brief period. Lower streams will likely produce a trout bite this weekend.
Dalton Lake: Viable ice has been reported and an ongoing trout bite.
Deerfield Reservoir: The main lake is open, although there is some ice in the coves.
Mitchell Lake: 5 inches of ice reported.
Pactola Reservoir: Open except for ice build-up in ravines, though probably not safe.
Lake Sheridan: Some ice, although it doesn’t work. Some fishing spots along the coasts are possible.
Stockade Lake: A possibly viable ice accumulation on the west side of the lake (6 inches according to some reports). Caution is advised.
Sylvan Lake: Workable ice (5 inches in places) and some trout activity reported.
Lakes Oahe, Sharpe and Francis Case: Cold and windy weather largely shut down fishing activity last week. A few smallmouth trout were reported prior to this.