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    Good News for Black Hills Anglers

    Good News for Black Hills Anglers

    I, for one, could barely contain my excitement when I read a July Rapid City Journal article about the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service plan to drain, dredge, and improve three of my favorite Black Hills Lakes. The story outlines a plan to remove sediment and improve fishing access at Horsetheif, Lakota, and Bismarck Lakes.

    Anyone who has fished Lakota any time since May knows why this project is important. Over time it, like Bismarck and Horsetheif, has filled in with sediment and debris. The water levels have lowered while water temperatures have risen. The bottoms are full of algae and aquatic vegetation and the shorelines socked in with cattails. This is partly to blame for a decline in the fishery aspect of the three lakes. This plan seeks to remedy these issues and improve not only access, but aesthetics of the lakes as well.

    If you have been to Dalton Lake recently you know the benefit of such a project. Since the Dalton Lake dredging project in 2011, the lake has, in my opinion, fished better and looks better. The addition of fishing piers was a great touch. The access around the lake is improved and gives more access to allow for more people to use the lake.

    If you are interested in reading the details of the project they can be found by clicking here.

    I'm on one hand bummed that at one point or another during the next two years, any one of these lakes won't be fishable. But, I'm willing to wait so that once finished we can all enjoy quality recreation at these outstanding and scenic Black Hills fisheries. 

    Fishing Report

    I had originally thought that a couple of fire assignments and Rally work had gotten in the way of catching fish. Apparently I was wrong. While these have hardly been the "dog days" of summer, the fishing has reportedly slowed considerably.

    I'm told by co-workers that Angostura and Orman Walleye action is slow at-best. The best fish have been produced vertical jigging a jig and minnow in 20-40 feet of water. If you're a Bass fan, try Twister Tail jigs or big spinners to get decent Smallies.

    Friends and colleagues of mine, including The Trout Men Co-Founder Jim Carpenter, have been doing pretty well in float tubes on an assortment of different flies. Try Blue-Wing Olives or Adams on the dry side or Soft-Hackle Hare's Ear and Bead-Head Pheasant Tail for nymph patterns. Fly fishing seems to be the most consistently successful method of catching fish, at least the past couple of weeks.

    Finally, I took a page from a fellow ice-fisherman's book and tried ice-fishing tactics for sluggish fish at Center Lake. Using my Vexilar, I dropped a Gold Swedish Pimple tipped with Dilly (small crawler) over the edge and twitched it much like I would through the ice. Working in 20-40 feet of water the results were great. Our storm-shortened outing got me several very good hits, a couple of smaller and one 14"-16" Rainbow.  

    Best of luck to all of you. Keep an eye on the clouds as these nasty cells seem to pop up out of almost nowhere. I've been reluctant to get too far out in my float tube recently just because it's tough to make a break for it if you need to. Share your success, or even your failure, stories down below. Enjoy what's left of summer! Until next time, Fish On!


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