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    Madness in March

    “Wait”, said the concerned voice of my 6 year old. “Why are you putting the ice fishing stuff in that box?” he asked. I was in shorts and flip-flops working from the tailgate of my truck. I was resistant, at first, to admit that ice-fishing season had come (sort of) and gone. The warm sun on my arms and legs had done enough to convince me though. I had come to the realization that I had enough fun being cold and was ready for warmer days and open water. I was packing ice fishing season away for the summer.

    That was last week. You know, seven days and two snowstorms ago. “Welcome to South Dakota. If you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes” or so the saying goes.  In this particular instance, it seems quite apropos.  Out my window snow is falling and my furnace intermittently kicks in telling me it’s getting cold outside again. The forecast calls for cold and snow for the next few days. Winter’s re-appearance doesn’t change the fact that ice fishing season is done in our house until hopefully November, but probably December. Much to the chagrin of my youngest whose new favorites are Pike on tip-ups, Vexilars, and ice shacks, the ice gear is retired for the next few months.  

    So it goes in March in Western South Dakota. March seems to be the transition month in most cases. The ice is becoming sketchy in several areas and in some cases, too sketchy to fish on. There’s open water in several areas but the docks aren’t open enough to be useable.  March, for me, has largely become a fly-rod month. I take the opportunity to get my presentation back into form and work the banks in areas where late spring, summer, and early fall vegetation make fishing them difficult at best. The bite is as hot with the fly as it seems to be most anywhere during this time and it also serves as an opportunity to fish in water that was not so heavily pressured during the winter months.

    If you happen to be a brave soul who is still on the ice I wish you good luck, but do be careful. A spud bar is an ice fisherman’s best friend during late season ice. Such is also the case for a good fishing buddy. Remember to let someone know where you are headed and when you expect to be back in case you run into trouble. Let’s also not forget that, in large part, what we are doing is not subsistence fishing. It’s all in the name of sport and fun. Take time to think about whether or not a day on the ice is really worth your life.



    Fishing Report for the week of 3-18-13


    Word on the street is that both Angostura and Orman are open and ready for boat traffic. Two good friends of mine hit Angostura on separate days and report slow fishing. Walleye are reportedly being caught in 20 feet of water on jig and minnow. Rumor is they like them jigged sllllllooooooowwwwwww.

    The hottest reports I have heard thus far have been on Spearfish creek through town and Rapid Creek in town. Midge and gnat patterns are reportedly working best as well as some smaller nymph patterns. I have yet to break through with the fly-rod this year but hope to get off the schneid this week.

    That’s it for this installment of Black Hills Bites. Thanks for reading and remember to pass along those reports whether they are hot or not. Sometimes where they aren’t biting is as important as where they are. I encourage you all to put down those basketball brackets, pick-up a fishing rod, and get out and enjoy South Dakota. Best of luck to you all. Fish on! 

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