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I just had 3 good friends/fishermen stay at my house and fish Oahe for two days and Sharpe for one day so I thought I would just do a little update on their trip for those of you that are still wanting to fish. Jim Randash Mike Kulm from Rapid along with Dave from North Dakota caught an avg of 11 keepers a day and also released an 11 I/2 lb and an 8 1/2 Lb plus walleye along with losing a couple of other big fish at the boat. The fish they caught and kept were all healthy and in good shape with all there overs each day.. They had to break thin ice going out of spring creek so as far as open water fishing goes it is probably about over on the big lake. They fished up around the Cheyenne and caught just about all of these fish on plastics (jigs pitched) in around 30 fow. The last day Monday they fished Sharpe around Pierre keeping only 7 keepers but the bite for the hardy fishermen has been ok most days on the river. I am not pushing this late open water fishing for everyone as a boat break down can be dangerous. If you go out go with another boat for obvious safety reasons These guys are all very good fishermen just looking for one last shot at some bigger fish before ice fishing takes over and are willing to put up with all the extra work involved. I am waiting until Spring due to a fact called age and putting 150 days on the water already this year or maybe just getting to be a woss. Any way there should be good fishing next spring and I would not be surprised if someone puts a new state record up maybe both on walleye and smallmouth. These guys also caught and released an almost 7 lb. smallmouth too. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and look forward to seeing many of you next spring.
Just a quick note to thank all of my repeat and new customers for this year and to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope to see all of you in the up coming season. 2021 is just around the corner.
I haven't kept these reports up as much as I have in years past and will see next year if I will keep them up. Fishing on Oahe has been excellent for smallmouth bass with 20 fow and just about anything that looks like a shad catching them. Walleye fishing on the big lake has been good for the better fishermen with limits coming in for those who know the lake. Jigs/minnows/chubs pitched away from the boat or drug a long way back in depths around 20 fow or less seem to be the best presentation. That being said many days even the best fishermen struggle. Lake Sharpe remains spotty with limits of nice walleye when the current is right common but hard fishing some days if the corps runs either to much or not enough power. Generally speaking for those that know the river limits are common. Jigs/minnows are the bait of choice with different depths in different areas .A lot of the fish are using the 20 foot holes around Pierre but drifting in 10 fow with jigs way back can work. Weather is always a big factor this time of year so usually just the hardy guys are fishing so that amounts to more experienced anglers on the water. I would like to thank all my customers both repeat and new for your business this year and look forward to a great year next year. One note is that unless I change my mind I do not think I will use Facebook next year so if you are looking for my reports just go to my website or possibly other outlets that I will post. I have switched over to Parler however just haven't figured that sight out yet. A great year bird hunting on private land with outfitters as usual and public land if researched for the right areas also very good. I will post another report around the Holidays but mostly just for season greeting. For now have a great Thanksgiving and if you have questions about the bite you can give me a call.
I haven't been keeping these reports up as frequently as mostly fishing has remained the same as the last report but will do an update. This year has been exceptional for big fish all up and down the river with more big fish being caught and reported than in past years going all the way back to the ninety's. I mentioned the 13 lb. walleye weighed in at the CVA group and Guide Paul Steffens won the 4 day tournament they had with 10 fish that weighted a total of over 60 lbs. The big fish are around both on Oahe and Sharpe. It would not surprise me if a new state record walleye comes in in the next year as I think one is out there .Oahe fish continue to be down deep with limits coming from 45fow to 60 fow on different presentations from jigging raps to btm bouncers rigs. Lake Sharpe is very good if you hunt the fish down but that can be harder right now . Once the weed growth dies off on Sharpe the fish will be easier to find. That being said if you find an area the fish and bait are using the fish size on Sharpe is very good with lots of 17 to 20 inch fish being caught . Surprisingly more big fish are being caught even on Sharpe. I just finished guiding the Sederling brothers Steve and Doug along with running mate Gary Simmons from down Kansas way. These guys are long time repeat customers of mine and they went home with full possession limits of fish that averaged at least 18 inches with a real fat 8lb 3 oz 28 1/4 incher that Steve caught. They also lost another fish at the boat that was I think over 10 lbs. Repeat customers like these guys have been the reason my career has lasted and also the reason I keep fishing. The bite on Sharpe is 10 fow or less and bouncer nightcrawler spinner rigs is what we used. COVID-19 is still around but our Governor Christy Noem has trusted SD people to observe practical guidelines and so far I think we have been at least above the national curve in some of the lower numbers. I like a Governor that thinks highly of the ability of her constituents to be safe and also think for ourselves and I am a real fan of this farm gal. Probably should stay away from political statements but it is hard for me not to recognize a Gov that has done a great job allowing use to continue to run our business and keep our State open. Anyway the walleye don't seem to be on a COVID vacation and haven't shut down and being outdoors in a boat has been a way for a record amount of people to turn out for some fun. The fishing should start to continue to be very good as the water temps start to come down getting the big lake fish shallower so I am looking forward to a great fall. Stay Safe.
BUSY is still the word as lots of anglers and boaters using Lakes Oahe along with Sharpe this year. It just hasn't let up much but I suspect August may see a little let off with the lake usage. I have been on the water most days and with the exception of one real bad day on Sharpe fishing for me and most guides has been limits daily. I did spend 4 days on Sharpe catching nice fish but the last day there was just very hard either because of not the right current or big wind but 2 of the days were limits of nice 16 to 19inch fish so the river can be very good.. I used nightcrawler spinner bouncer rigs but a few of the guides were pulling plugs. Most of the rest of the period I have been on the big lake (Oahe) and fishing is very good as long as the weather lets you fish. The fish on Oahe are deeper from 25 fow down to 45 fow and many different methods are producing the fish I have been staying with nightcrawlers but plugs and jigging raps are also working. The big CVA group just left and is it not hard for me to mention that once again guide Paul Steffen did a run away with their company tournament weighing (get this) a 6 lb. average for 5 fish a day and also weighing an almost 13 lb. walleye in these catches He has a history of winning this almost every year and that is saying something as most of the best guides on the lake work this group. Nice to see these kind of weights are possible and there are more big fish coming in lately so if you are coming over maybe a big one will be in the books for you. Thank you to CVA for once again bringing a real nice bunch of company personnel up for your annual trip and thank you to all my other customers for your business. Biting fly's in many areas can make for Bermuda shorts wearers doing a lot of slapping so taking a pair of long pants along if wearing them a very good idea. Water/Gator aide type drinks and sun screen make for both safer and better trips. Covid is still an issue so doing the things Governor Noem recommends are still required to be safe and to respect other people’s safety so practicing distancing and Masks when needed is just being responsible .I will mention that I have heard of a better Salmon bite lately but I am not in touch with information other than maybe down around 75 feet is where most down riggers are being set at.
Busy is the word. The lake is just full of fishermen and boats and it doesn't even thin down in mid-week. Full boat ramps and full fish cleaning stations are common. Fortunately we have a lot of water to fish so once you are out of the ramp you can find plenty of places to fish either with other boats or by yourself. I think the reasons for the numbers can be tied to COVID-19 escapes outdoors, the Canada boarder closing. and maybe the arrival of the baby boomer generation. Whatever the reason the bite has been excellent so most angler are going home with plenty of fish. I have been on the water with limits usually every day catching the walleye on Oahe in around 30 fow most days. My bait of choice is still nightcrawler bouncer rigs but just about all methods are working. Hot weather has been prevalent so getting limits early and beating the afternoon heat has been working most days. Keeping some eaters along with the nicer fish enables earlier limits and beating the heat right now is very good. I was on Sharpe one day last week and actually it was a lot harder to limit than I had expected with bait fish everywhere. Most of the fish we caught there were in around 23 fow and we got limits but worked hard. The fish we caught were in the over 15 inch year class. Lots of over 20 inch fish this year on Oahe and also lots of 13 inchers so the future of the lake is looking good for numbers as long as the bait fish hold up. Right now that looks good with both lakes full of baitfish. Water and Gatorade type drinks are essential to every trip. I have been fortunate to have been guiding some really nice groups to some really nice fish so thanks to all of you for the business.
A lot of days the fish are moving deeper with catching them from 20 fow to 30 fow common. The wind was blowing today and we caught fish shallow in around 10 fow but wind makes mud lines and on these kind of days it is usually good to look around in them. I have been using spinner bouncer nightcrawler rigs but almost all presentations and baits are working. The fish are biting with most boats getting limits daily unless the weather (wind) slows things down. I finished guiding repeat customers the Robinson group and went on to help Scott Van Lierre guide a nice group of guys to limits of fish for all. Most of the guides were using crawler baits fishing down to 30 fow. Even during the week the lake is very busy with lots of boats and fishermen on the water so expect busy ramps and busy cleaning stations. Covid 19 is still an issue so keeping recommended distances and observing all the protocol that our Governor suggests is just good common sense. Using the outdoors as a way to contend with the isolation of staying at home for the most part seems to be one of the safer ways to enjoy some freedom from the Covid regiment. Lots of water/gator aide drinks, sun screen , and bug/fly spray make for better trips. Lots of bonus fish around this year with the walleye. Nice smallmouth northern and catfish keep rods bending an make for lots of action I believe the annual governor's cup tournament is next week end so a lot of good fishermen will be out looking for the winning fish and it will be interesting to see the results. I will stick my neck out and predict it will take a 2 1/2 lb. avg to be in the top 5 this year maybe 3 lb. avg to win it if the weather allows.
Fishing on Oahe is very good (excellent). Almost all boaters with any experience are coming in with limits of walleye. Size is also good on Oahe with most bags having some 17 to 19 inch fish included with smaller eaters. I am guiding along with Ne John the Robinson group of repeat customers and due to a strong storm cell in the area we decided to spend the first day down at west bend as the storm had cleared there early. I hadn't been down there since around May so I wanted to see what was going on. We caught 27 smaller walleye needing 32 for a full limit so actually the bite for that day was harder. Caught most of these in around 20 fow on crawler bouncer rigs. Then today we went on Oahe and limited out with much nicer fish (40) and some numbers of 3 to 4 lb. smallmouth bass. We caught most of these fish deeper than they have been with even the bass coming out of 25 fow on bouncer nightcrawler rigs. Prior to that I was on the water over the 4th getting limits daily in mostly 14 fow or less. There is no doubt that for now Oahe is the best choice for nicer fish in your catches. Lots of little ones also but good numbers of 18 inch or over year class fish. The boat traffic this year is the most I have seen in my career and the 4th of July week was just phenomenal. Every boat ramp in our area was near or full. I do think most of the fishermen caught plenty of fish so that was good. I am not sure why this is but maybe the covid 19 thing has more people buying boats and RV's and heading outdoors to escape the confinement of staying home or maybe just the baby boomer generation arriving. I think everyone is being cautious though and trying to play by the new covid rules so respecting those around you using the great lakes we have is just part of the game. Hot weather is the norm now so drinking lots of water or gator aide type drinks along with lots of sun screen and bug repellant are essential items for a safe trip. I will mention again that wearing Bermuda shorts etc. is cooler and nice but taking along some long pants just in case you get in an area of biting fly's is a very good idea. I am just lucky to have had a real nice bunch of customers over the 4th and along with the bite just had a great 4th and I hope that everyone that used our area enjoyed a great time. A repeat tip for catching more and nicer fish. Watch for areas that other boats are not using and try to stay away from community spots. With the kind of pressure being put on the lake with the number of boats out there doing this will enhance your chances for much nicer limits. The lake has a lot of walleye so moving around until you land on a nice bunch is also a catch improver.
Fishing is excellent especially on Oahe. Sizes of the limits coming in by almost all anglers is just great with most bags having lots of 17 to 19 inch fish along with a few over 20 inchers. I have been on the water daily and most days we are done by noon or one with limits of nice fish and throwing numbers of smaller fish back. I am not the only one as getting to the boat ramps around two is still a wait in line to trailer event. There are just a lot of anglers and boats around so if coming expect busy boat ramps and at times busy cleaning stations. It is summer for sure with plenty of 90 degree days and wind but the wind is nice blowing across the water and serving as a mini air conditioner. Watching the forecasts and it looks like hot will be around for at least the next two weeks but it is not as noticeable when on the lake. I am still looking for the active fish in around 12 fow and most days able to find them at that depth. Mud lines and stained water are starting spots . A lot of fish are deeper and catchable but not as easy as the ones shallow as they are there to feed making them active and not as hard to catch. Once again the biggest key to catching the fish is to fish away from other boat traffic and try to observe places were other boats haven't been. Community spots usually have some fish but also have been picked over so size and numbers are never as good as unfished areas. One of a guides biggest advantage is the fact that I am on the water daily and always looking for spots that aren't receiving lots of pressure. A huge advantage and all guides are observing places receiving little traffic so looking for low traffic area's plays a big part in a successful trip. It is getting harder to do though as more and more people are using the lakes now. I am using nightcrawler bouncer small blade spinners for the most part but just about all baits are working with leeches minnows and pulling plugs all catching fish. Covid is still an issue but most places are open. It does pay to check to make sure your favorite restaurant is serving though as a few are either carry out or still closed.
FIRE LOL that is the word everyone likes to use when the fishing is excellent so right now the best way to describe the bite on both lakes especially Oahe is the lake is on fire. Just about everyone is catching lots of walleye’s. I just finished a two day trip with the Curry family a father and three boys. Just as nice a bunch of guys as you would want to guide. They had great weather and both days we put the boat in around eight and had twenty walleyes in the boat by one o'clock. We threw a lot of smaller fish back and especially day one they had exceptional fish with a couple of over 20 inchers and lots of 18 to 19 inch really healthy fish. We caught all of these fish in 12 fow or less on small blade spinner nightcrawler bouncer rigs. I think if you want though you can catch them on minnows leeches or even pulling plugs. Right now the fish are very active so a lot of methods work. There are boats everywhere so be prepared for busy cleaning stations and boat ramps full of trailers. This is stacking up to be an exceptional year and I think throwing a complement to our GF&Parks for generating the bait and fish that are in Oahe is in order. The lake is full of bait and full of fish and great year class action for 17 to 19 inch fish. I think these guys deserve at least recognition for some of this. Sharpe is still going strong and as a result of that taking a little traffic that way but busy is the word on both lakes. This time of the year listening to reliable weather reports and keeping an eye to the sky should be a plan for all of us as strong storms can pop up real fast and get trouble started. I have been caught many times over the years so doing what you can to stay informed and safe is essential to every trp. Remember that if you see a storm coming waiting for that last bite can get you at a boat ramp with 25 other boats circling waiting to load so leaving a head of the crowd sometimes can avoid sitting under a 5 gallon bucket in your boat with hail beating on it. Yes I speak from experience .A little humor now but for sure not then. Sunscreen Bug Spray and extra pair of long pants if wearing Bermuda shorts are good things in your boat.
I finished the LAHMA group from all over the country in big wind (55 mph when we trailered) getting full limits of fish before the main front moved in. A great bunch of guys that had a fun time even in unfavorable weather conditions. The fishing on Oahe has been exceptional with almost all boats doing well. We caught all the walleye in around 12 fow on nightcrawler/bouncer rigs but a variety of baits like minnows leeches and pulling plugs are working. I also think that in many areas of both Sharpe and Oahe the fish are moving deeper so looking around in 17 fow to 25 fow works in many areas. Oahe is putting out some really nice walleye this year with numbers of 17 to 23 inch walleye in most bags daily. The biggest down side this last week has been winds/weather with some real blow days recently. Wind is a real enemy as boat control is harder and the ability to move locations is limited. Most of the days that we have less than limits are days we have weather related issues. Covid 19 is still an issue so respecting other anglers space around cleaning stations and boat ramps is required. I think the outdoors is a great way to get out of the house and so do a lot of others as the area has been as busy as I have seen it. Lots of boats/fishermen around so be prepared for busy ramps etc. when you come. Lake Sharpe is still putting out limits of over 15 inch fish and that is about to get a lot easier as of the 1st July until the !st of September the 15 inch slot limit goes off and you will be able to keep the smaller fish if you like. The lake is full of 14 inch year class walleye so limiting with these should be even easier. Summer is here so flies are around many days making long pants an item to at least have in your boat if you are going out in Bermuda shorts. Lots of water/ Gator aide type drinks and sun screen in the boat make for safer trips. I also always mention a couple of times a year that finding the walleye/fish (the art of the hunt) for most of us that have been on the water for a long time the best part of fishing. Catching walleye is great fun and eating them is all a great part of the trip but hunting the fish is the part of the sport that can be challenging. It is also the part that separates the average fishermen from the experts. Learning to find the fish and not just finding other boats is the part that is to most experienced anglers is the real fun and also the most rewarding part of the sport. It is all fun though and often people with limited time will fish in community spots and usually catch some fish. If you want more and bigger fish look for spots away from other boats .Surprisingly all the fish in the lake aren't under those ten boats you see grouped up getting away from it all. Learning to look at the skill of finding fish as rewarding makes the sport complete. It can be challenging though and requires time to develop finding fish skills so patience with this part is required. In the end just have appreciation for the great lakes we have to use not to mention the great state they are in.
I have been on the water most days and the fishing has just been a great
summer bite for the most part. Some days when weather (big winds) interfere
it has been challenging but for the most part the bite both on Sharpe and on
Oahe has been rolling. Starting with the Davis group thru Jim becks group
and on to the Mccewen group we have been sending possession limits of
walleye, smallmouth bass some northern and catfish home with those fishing.
The avg size on Sharpe on walleye is probably around 16 inches with a bigger
average size on Oahe but probably not as many bites so if you want numbers
Sharpe is there but more 18 to over 20 inch fish in your bag I would fish
Oahe. Most of the fish we have been catching both places have been shallow
in around 10 fow or less but recently the walleye are starting to move out
to 17 to 20 fow many days. Looking a little deeper is for sure a starting
point. My choice for bait for the last week or so has been
nightcrawler/bouncer small blade spinners but minnows are still working some
days along with leeches. Trolling plugs produces for those that like that
method. So far it seems that most people are respecting the 19 virus stuff
and giving space around ramps and cleaning stations and for sure this stuff
is still around so doing the recommended precautions is the only way to go
probably all this year. There is and has been a lot of boat traffic here
this year. Some of it was workers that had time off because of COVID but a
lot of it is the result of boat sales, RV sales etc. being at all-time highs
recently so more people are using the outdoors as get aways especially on
weekends. Be prepared to experience busy boat ramps and full resort /motel
rooms. Planning a trip as far ahead of time as you can get you into the
better resorts etc. but Pierre is geared to fishermen and hunters so you
will find rooms most of the time. Hot weather means lots of water/gator aide
in the boat and of course fly repellent and sun screen are essentials. One
thing I always mention this time of year is Bermuda shorts. They are cool
and great to get a tan but taking along long pants (sweat pants etc.) to
slip on when you get in areas that have biting fly's will make for a lot
less slapping and a lot more pleasant trips. I keep horse stable spray in
the boat but sometimes that doesn't even work.
Summer seems to have arrived and so has the fishing bite. Lake Sharpe and Lake Oahe both are doing well most days especially for those fishermen that know what areas of the lakes to spend time in. That being said the first area that I will mention is staying mostly in 10 fow or less (many days less than 5 fow) is one key. Looking for stained water on Oahe is also were to concentrate efforts. Right now a lot of different presentations are working i.e. jigs/minnows bttm.bouncer/minnow or crawlers spinners/crawlers/minnows or pulling shallow plugs are catching fish .I have been on the water catching limits of walleye daily along with smallmouth and sometimes northern/ catfish. My latest trip was with some of my all-time favorite repeat customers Scott and Anne Rose from Ne. and Scotts brother from Colorado. We filled their limits of walleye daily with mostly nice eating size walleye (16 in. avg.) along with plenty for supper Since they already had their possession limits of walleye day three we went catfishing and got a big bag of these to about 12 lbs. along with one northern so the Roses went home with some real nice bags of fish for their summer eating. We caught most of the walleye in around 6 to 10 fow on spinner/crawler combinations and we caught the catfish and Northern in around 3 fow on smelt. There are a lot of boats everywhere around Pierre as I think people are looking at being outdoors fishing is one way to beat the confinement of the 19 virus. I do think that it is still a very good thing to practice all the recommended precautions to avoid this stuff but if you know who you are fishing with I think being outdoors is as good a way to spend recreational time as there is. Being safe is still the biggest key still though so be aware of all of the recommendations put out for your safety and others. Fortunately in South Dakota we have had the good sense to elect a Governor ranch gal that gives all of us credit for being able to take care of ourselves and watch out for others. The lakes/boat ramps bath houses cleaning stations etc. are all open Respect for other fishermen's space around bathhouses and cleaning stations is especially important this year (19) and it is again time for plenty of water bug spray and sunscreen.
I just finished guiding a real nice group from down around North Platte Ne. The group lead by Brad Morrison had reasonable weather and decent bite. We worked hard day one fishing on Sharpe and came in a few fish short of limits but made up for it day two filling both walleye limits and smallmouth limits. We caught most of these fish shallow in around 5 fow on both bouncer minnow and flicker shad plugs. The corps had dropped the water level in Sharpe day one and then just ran current like crazy with the goal to flush out mud and sand bars that had developed over the winter months. The water wash really muddied things up day one. Water temps on Sharpe are in the low 50's and colder on Oahe. The bite around Pierre on Oahe is still slow, I have heard up river it is going. Lots of boats and RV'S around but from what I observed everyone is being respective of this 19 virus stuff and keeping up with the precautions recommended. Caution is still the word but getting outdoors with a fishing rod in your hand seems to me to be as good a way to minimize risks and break the cabin fever occurring from the stay at home life many of us have been doing. Most of the fish cleaning stations and bathrooms are no open now.
Just a quick update. The fish cleaning stations are open now and the state has said that bath house /restrooms' will all open on the 15th of May so further steps towards normal is starting. The virus is still a big factor so using all the cautionary measures to ensure everyone's safety are still in play. I assume all this summer will be that way so adjusting to the masks and hand washing, and social distancing is just going to be part of life for a while. The bite is still going well on Sharpe but we have had some colder spring weather. It is supposed to warm up for the weekend.
We have been having some real nice spring days around Pierre along with a blustery one now and then. Typical spring weather so along with the 19 virus watching the weather this time of the year is a no brainer. I have been getting some reset trips because of the virus and had a couple days off so my longtime friend Jim Randash drove over from Rapid City to help me do a little scouting. Jim has helped me guide in the past so we went looking for some new spots along with checking some old ones down at West Bend on Sharpe. Caught lots of fish (walleye and smallmouth) in around 5 fow both on Jigs/minnows and on bottom bouncer/minnow rigs. The size limit on Sharpe is 15 inches for walleye so we kept a limit of walleye over that but threw back a lot of smaller fish. We also kept a limit of the smaller smallmouth throwing back the larger female fish. I think the smaller bass eat better and most of the time the bigger ones are female and full of eggs so that seems to be the best way. All the walleye we kept were milking males so that is good for future populations too. The fish on Sharpe are bigger (18 inchers common) around Pierre but they can be harder to catch due to current, muddy water with rain and more boat traffic. Oahe other than Northern /catfish is much slower due to water temps in the 40's. Fifty degree water or more down at west bend so the fish are more active. Covid 19 still is a real factor so call ahead to see if your favorite eating facility is open as many are still carry out only and some are closed. For the most part motels and resorts are open along with most stores with social distancing policy's along with masks the norm. Caution for sure is the word. I think we have been fortunate to have Governor Noem a ranch gal making the way for South Dakota in all this mess. She has been getting national recognition and deserves it. From my viewpoint she has done as good a job dealing with this as can be expected. The Governor is still saying South Dakota won't peak with covid cases until June. Not trying to scare anyone as I think being in a fishing boat on the lake with people you know is as good a place to be as any but caution about how you do it is essential. In other words be safe and follow guide lines for both yourself and those around you. I think that means exactly what the Governor recommends and that boils down to using a lot of caution and common sense. Fishing on Sharpe is good and slower around Pierre on Oahe.
I guided a real nice bunch of guys from Nebraska ramrodded by Doug Hoops. These guys had a planned trip to Lake Erie but found out due to the 19 virus they couldn't buy out of state licenses so headed up here instead. I took them down to west bend on Sharpe and we caught full limits of smallmouth bass (20) along with walleye. We caught probably 18 or more walleye but could only keep 9 of those because of the 15 inch minimum. All in all I think the bite all up and down Sharpe is going and most boats (a lot) are catching plenty of fish. Minnow jig/ Minnow /Bouncer rigs seem to be the best but pulling plugs can be good also especially for bass. Shallow is the word on depths in most places with water temps on Sharpe just starting to get in the 50's.Oahe around Pierre has water temps still in the 40's so all fishing is remaining tough. I do think that warmer days will get things going on the big lake soon as fish start to get more active with warmer water. Caution is for sure still the word all thru SD with the 19 virus. If you are coming be sure to check on places to stay and eating facility's as carry out only is still going on at many local eateries. The state still hasn't opened fish cleaning stations and many restrooms at campgrounds remain closed also. Be prepared to clean you fish in make do areas and use the outdoor bathrooms. A little bit of an inconvenience but if you are like me getting outdoors in some of this great spring weather is worth it. South Dakota folks in general are exercising the Governors recommendations with face masks and social distancing and are state in general is staying on the low end of this covid stuff so far. Governor Noem has trusted the people to do the right thing and I think everyone for the most part have responded favorably. Being in a boat out on the lake seems to me to be one of the better ways to deal with all of this necessary isolationism as long as you use common sense. Knowing who is in the boat with you is part of that. I think the hardest part of this virus is the fact that you could have been exposed or could have it and not know for a few days so caution is still the big word along with common sense. A quick word about our Governor. We elected a farmer rancher gal with a real handle on the above (common sense) and as far as I am concerned is doing just as good a job as anyone could ask. That alone speaks to the fact that you can still come and fish in this state. I hope you appreciate that. I do.
I got lucky and got a call from a real nice family from Texas to take them fishing so on a beautiful spring Sunday, I got to practice social distancing in my boat with Josh Muirheid and his wife and boy. We traveled down to west bend on Sharpe and did not distance ourselves from lots of fish getting full limits of nice smallmouth bass (20) but did poorly on walleye. We caught all the smallmouth with some on minnows but more pulling flicker shad plugs in around 5 fow. Just couldn't find keeper walleye though and felt that staying right around Pierre probably would have been better for the walleye. The plus was we didn't fish around another boat all day so that part was good as that is very hard to do around Pierre right now with lots of boats around. Most boats are coming in with fish on Sharpe but reports for Oahe at least around Pierre aren't as good. Water temps on Sharpe were almost in the 50's but hanging in the 40's on Oahe. The warmer days should get things going so maybe the next report for Oahe will be better. Now to the corona virus stuff and the effects it is having, many cafe's and steakhouses are carry out only and resorts are open but in many cases the cafes are just open for food to your rooms. I have been told by some of the bigger ones probably after the first of May that could change but no one really knows what course all of this is going to take. Things are still up in the air and require caution and concern. Calling a head is the best route to take. I think as far as being outdoors with others that you feel safe with on the lakes is a great way to eliminate some of this cabin fever we are all experiencing. Our Governor is saying the peek in SD is still going to be in June so making plans should include that fact. We have very low numbers of the virus around Pierre so that is a plus. The best advice is to check out SD covid 19 Government site for the most updated information. I will start posting more reports now but this year is sure going to be different with social distancing and safety just having to be the priority. I do wish they would find out eating fresh fish was a cure but unfortunately no word that way yet. I have read and saw reports that sunlight and warmer weather might be good for slowing this enemy down so let’s hope that is factual. The fishing is starting to go but caution is the word. Staying safe and fishing can be done but doing all the face masks social distancing etc. is the smart way. It was just great to be back on the water catching fish.
To start with I hope that all of you are well and dodging any run in's with this covid 19 virus. This whole situation will require a lot of common sense and discipline to over come so my recommendation to everyone is use common sense and follow all the advice that is out there from both the President and our Governor when it comes to fishing and social gatherings (fishing guide recommendation lol). That being said the fishing is starting to go with catches of both walleye northern and Salmon going on. The main bite for walleye has been of Sharpe from Pierre all the way down to West Bend with weather and current being the big factor. There has been a lot of boats out around Pierre whenever nice days show up and for the most part most boats are coming in with some nice fish. Jigs minnows along with bouncer minnow combinations are the main presentations. Depths on Sharpe vary depending on were you are fishing from 10 fow to 40 fow. On the big lake I have heard of a few salmon being caught and a lot of nice northern pike. Trolling for the salmon shallow is best with bank fishing for the northern with smelt sets the main presentation. Since social distancing is one of the main recommendations on dealing with the 19 stuff I think a lot of people are thinking getting outdoors with safe friends is a great way to end some of the boredom of total isolation. I agree and think that if you use some common sense around boat ramps etc it should be as safe a thing as we can do to keep a life going. This isolationism is good advice however it gets real boring real quick and a trip outdoors is a great way to beat the boredom. I am not a doctor but I have read and seen that sunlight is good and so far I haven't heard of any walleye being carriers so for me hitting the water in the warm spring days is a self prescribed remedy for the hardships imposed on staying isolated. Distancing from other anglers is probably something that specialist government figures recommend and that is a good thing if it saves lives so I will just say using common sense on the water is a lot more prevalent now with this un seen enemy around. Weather is the key to the fishing now but the bite is starting for the anglers that know how to catch the early cold water fish. Have a great Easter.
The river (Sharpe) below the dam in Pierre is open and local fishermen that are going out are catching real nice fish all the way down to stony point on jigs minnows primarily. Guide Bob Propst Jr has been getting some nice limits of walleye about every time out. Ice fishing up on Oahe Is spotty but more numbers of bigger fish are being caught.
I WILL BE DOING THE BACK HILLS EXPO AND SPORTS SHOW THIS FRIDAY THE 14TH THRU SUNDAY THE 16TH IN RAPID CITY. I WILL ALSO BE DOING A SEMINAR ON FISHING THE PIERRE AREA (OAHE/SHARPE) ON SAT THE 15th IF YOU ARE IN THE AREA I WILL HAVE MY BOOTH THERE SO STOP BY AND VISIT OR COME BY THE SEMINAR FOR UPDATED INFORMATION ON THE FISHERY THIS YEAR.
Another piece of local information for those planning trips to Pierre:
SPRING CREEK MARINA HAS BEEN PURCHASED BY THE STATE SO BOOKING CABINS THERE WILL REQUIRE GOING THRU THE GF&PARKS WEB SITE. THEY ARE TRYING TO LEASE OUT THE BAIT/CAFE/BAR BUT IF THEY DON'T IT WILL BE CABINS ONLY. YOU WILL HAVE TO CHECK WITH THE STATE TO FIND OUT WHAT IS AVAILABLE.
I WILL LOOK FORWARD TO VISITING WITH ANY ONE COMING TO THE BLACK HILLS SHOW. IT IS ALWAYS A GREAT ONE.
This is just an update on sports show information. I will have my booth at the River City Hunting and Fishing Expo in Council Bluffs, Iowa and I will also be doing some seminars on fishing Lake Oahe and Lake Sharpe. This show starts January 18th and goes through Saturday the 19th and Sunday the 20th. If you are in the area stop by and visit or get information related to fishing Oahe or Sharpe, or just fishing in general. I look forward to visiting with many of you. I think both Sharpe and Oahe are looking very good for 2020, and hope many of you will take advantage of these great fishery's located approximately 6 or 7 hours (all interstate) north of you. The closest destination that is available for the kind of quality fishing offered for the Omaha/Council Bluffs area. I will also be at the Rapid City show in February and will publish more about that in my next post. I hope all of you had a great holiday season and wish everyone a great 2020.
Both of these month's produce excellent walleye fishing along with great smallmouth/ Northern/ Catfish. Weather is a factor so many times we have to stay off big water because of high winds etc. but this is a great time to go after the big northern and catfish in the back of creeks/bays to beat the weather. Also fishing on Sharpe below Dam keeps you out of wind and produce's nice limits of walleye. Jig fishing when water temps cold along with btm. bouncer presentations as water warms most common .Boat traffic can be much more around the Pierre area.
By far the busiest month on both lakes.( School out and just traditionally start of summer season] so book early if possible to get best guides/lodging. The fishing is excellent for all species. Weather can still be a factor. We are usually fishing with Lindy or btm. bouncer's.
Best all around month for both fishing and weather especially family trips Walleye fishing at seasonal peak especially in high water periods on Oahe. and Sharpe good two. Btm. Bouncer presentations most common.
Same as July but there can be hotter weather. If there is a breeze it is not to bad as big lake water temps keep heat down. Fish can be a little deeper but still great fishing.
Very good on the walleye fishing with fall weather great toward end of month. As water cools jig fishing starts to come into play again.
Fishing is still good but weather coming into play again Jigs work best especially in colder water. Combination Hunting /fishing trips most common. Just a note: You can catch fish in all the months above tolling or casting plugs and we do that often. But I have found that guiding people over the years most prefer live bait hover fishing better so I spend more time with btm/bouncer/crawler/minnow/leeches than the plugs but pulling plugs is always a good alternative and sometimes can be the best.
Cell Phone: 605-220-2844