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    Just the Beginning

    I met the esteemed C.C. O’Harra from in the same place that most of the great twenty-first century minds hang out. Yup, you got it, on Twitter.  It was a chance encounter really. I use Twitter mostly to follow things that interest me and to get information about things I need to know. Oh, also, I use it to keep tabs on my two teenage kids. I digress.  I would venture to say a fair share, if not most, of my Tweets are about my one true obsession: fishing. It didn’t really dawn on me that anyone was paying much attention to them. Then, out of the blue, came a message from the aforementioned Mr. O’Harra: “You should write a fishing column for Sports Buzzard”.

    I am not an expert. I am not a master strategist or tactician. I’m not a biologist, fisheries expert, or even a professional. I am a guy, though, who is obsessed with fishing. I also happen to enjoy talking and writing about fishing. I talk to my co-workers, acquaintances, and people I’ve only met thirteen seconds earlier about fishing. C.C’s proposal intrigued me. This was potentially an amazing opportunity. I immediately did the first thing that came to mind. I asked my wife what she thought.

    Why wouldn’t my wife want me to write about fishing? What better opportunity to share thoughts and ideas with a group of like-minded people? Then, after-all, she’s off the hook for chatting all things angling. But instead of a black and white answer and instead of unbridled enthusiasm for the idea I got a thought provoking and chilling question in return: “Think you’ll be any good at it”? My response was simple. “Well”, I said, “I guess I’m not sure”.

    I’m not necessarily a writer. I write reports sometimes. I write e-mails, grocery lists, Facebook and Twitter statuses, but not anything spectacular or interesting per se. My grand vision for “Black Hills Bites” is to appeal to a wide audience. It is my hope that in this weekly column you will find some entertainment. Maybe it makes you chuckle. Maybe it’s some food for conversation or thought. Maybe it’s just something to distract you from work for a little bit. I hope that occasionally you will find a useful morsel of information. Perhaps that morsel comes in the form of a hot fishing spot or some cool trick to catch some fish that I happened upon. I hope that when you read this column you can identify with what I’m writing. I hope this column inspires some of you to get out and enjoy the bounty we have here in South Dakota, particularly on the Western end, and not take it for granted. I hope that through this column I can meet interesting people, learn a little bit, but mostly I hope I don’t suck.

    While I don’t profess to know a great deal about where and how to catch big and lots of fish, I am passionate about the art itself. I love to share thoughts, ideas, and stories about my obsession with others. And as much as I love sharing those things, I love to hear thoughts, ideas, and stories from others as well. Please feel free to respectfully submit your comments in the reply section located on the bottom of the page. I liken this new adventure to fishing a new lake. It might be amazing or it might be a bust, but in the end it’s still better than what I could/should be doing and it’s always nice to have someone along for the trip.


    Fishing Report for the week of 3-11-13


    It’s getting warm and any ice that remains should be accessed with caution. Many of the lakes in the Hills still have decent ice but they are developing soft spots and edges are becoming questionable.  I fished Horsetheif, Roubaix, and Sylvan on consecutive days. In each case the Rainbow Trout were predominantly found in 5-9 feet of water. Waxies, red maggots, and chunks of crawler on jig heads seemed to work best. Horsetheif definitely exhibited the signs of a warming trend with several soft edges, especially on the East side, and about 8-10 inches of ice. Roubaix had by far the thickest ice I have seen in the Hills this winter with a solid 20 inches of snow covered ice. The fish at Sylvan seemed to have lock jaw with neither my Dad nor I getting as much as a bite. The ice on Sylvan was about 16”. It’s also worth noting that the only access to Sylvan, as of now, is Highway 87 off of 385 out of Hill City. Both Highway 89 out of Custer and Needle’s Highway are currently closed. Check out for up-to-date road closure information.

    A couple of fly-fishing outfits I follow report good success fly-fishing through Rapid City on Rapid Creek. Spotty Blue Wing Olive hatches are reported which makes for good dry-fly fishing in the afternoon. Nymph patterns are also getting it done with a wide variety of patterns catching fish. I fished the stretch of creek through Founders Park mid-last week. I saw several fish, had a couple bites, but no takers. It was obvious I hadn’t used the fly-rod in several weeks.

    The key, no matter what species you are targeting or what presentation you are using, is to just get out and give it a try. The weather is supposed to be amazing come Wednesday and is supposed to stay relatively pleasant for the next several days. Again, be careful wherever you go, but make sure you get out and enjoy some great early spring Black Hills fishing. Fish on!

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