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Hutch's Guide Service Fishing Reports.

2015 Fishing Reports

SDGFP would like to invite you to attend a presentation and open table discussion on the results of the 2014 Lake Oahe fisheries surveys and discuss the 2015 angling season.

The meeting will be held March 24th at 2:00 PM in the Ft. Pierre Conference room (50641 SD HWY 1806, Ft. Pierre, SD, 57532). I will give a PowerPoint presentation on the 2014 survey results and we would like to get your input on the 2014 angling season. I will also be giving the same presentation to the general public that evening at the Ramkota hotel and conference center in Pierre at 7:00 PM.

Oahe baitfish continue to rebound, walleye conditions improve.

By Nick Lowrey

The conditions in Lake Oahe continue to improve for walleyes and other game fish, said Game Fish and Parks Senior Fisheries Biologist Mark Fincel.

Baitfish populations devastated by the 2011 floods are rebounding, according to 2014 fish survey data Fincel presented at the GFP Commission meeting Friday. Fincel estimates there were about 20 million rainbow smelt in the lake last year, or about double the number from 2013.

That number is important because rainbow smelt are one of the biggest reasons Lake Oahe produces large walleyes. Smelt have a high fat content, which bigger fish need to survive.

Another piece of good news for the lake was the estimated 167.2 million cool water baitfish Fincel’s survey’s found. Most of those were lake herring he said. Herring aren’t as fatty as smelt but they can help fill in nutrition gaps and take pressure off the smelt so they can recover more quickly.

“This year was a very good year for lake herring,” Fincel said.

Last year was also another record-setting year for warm water baitfish production, Fincel said. Warm water baitfish species include minnows and juvenile game fish such as perch, crappie and white bass.

The solid baitfish population seems to have translated into a healthier walleye population. Fincel’s data show the walleye population is growing and the condition of each fish is improving.

Fish larger than 20 inches long are the exception. The number of big fish is a fraction of what it was before 2011, Fincel said. However, the number of fish between 15 inches and 20 inches long increased in 2014, he said. The average size of the walleyes anglers caught in 2014 was 14.8 inches.

The abundance of baitfish didn’t exactly make things easier for anglers, though, Fincel said. Catch rates on Oahe were well below average in 2014.

“That’s actually a very good sign,” Fincel said, explaining that the fish were harder to catch because they weren’t quite as hungry this year. That means they were better fed and healthier on average.

Lake Sharpe, for its part, produced an average number of fish that were also about average as far as health.

“Lake Sharpe is really a rock,” Fincel said.

Populations of the reservoir’s main baitfish, gizzard shad, don’t crash as rainbow smelt populations have been known to do. But shad aren’t as fatty either. That makes Lake Sharpe a more consistent fishery than Lake Oahe, while at the same time means it doesn’t produce as many fish or as many big fish.


Information on seminar topics, dates, and speakers

I will have my booth at and will be a featured speaker at the River City Sports show in Council Bluffs Iowa this Friday Saturday and Sunday so if you are in the area stop by and visit. This is a great show and has become one of my favorites. Parking is free and admission is reasonable. This year as a plus they have the gun show again so if you are looking around for a gun stop by. I will also have my booth at the Omaha Boat and travel show the 19th, 20th, 21th and 22nd of Feb at the QWest center and might be at the RC SD show the week before. I will post that next week.

Hutch's Guide Service


Month by Month Guiding Breakdown

April/ May

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.

October / November

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 bttm/bouncer/crawler/minnow/leeches than the plugs but pulling plugs is always a good alternative and sometimes can be the best.

Kent Hutcheson


Cell Phone: 605-220-2844

2015 Reports & Photos
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2014 Reports & Photos
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2013 Reports & Photos
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2012 Reports &
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2011 Reports &
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2010 Reports &

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Hutch say's...

The 2015 season is fast approaching and so once again I will update this section. I would like to thank all my new customers and my repeat customers for their business in 2014.

We caught a lot of fish (pictured on the fishing reports/pictures tab)and had a lot of great times. Once again my guide service put together at least a 98% limit success ratio for the year and if you scroll thru the years above you will notice a lot of the same faces every year. This speaks to the fact that my guide service runs on repeat business. I think this speaks a huge amount about the super fishery we have here on Oahe and Sharpe around the Pierre area.

Last year Sharpe remained steady with limits of nice 17 inch average size walleye the norm and excellent smallmouth fishing. Oahe was tougher for bigger fish with a lot of the limits coming in with 14 to 15 inch walleye and smaller numbers of over 20 inch fish in the bags.

Smallmouth /northern fishing was very good. The best limits that we put together in 2014 were in the fall with some real nice 18 to 19 inch fish limits coming in. With that in mind and the fact that we have a great food base back (rainbow smelt numbers up 40 %) and normal pool water I think being optimistic about the fishery producing very good fishing in 2015 is in line.

I think Sharpe should remain stable with nice 15 inch to 17 inch average size walleye and maybe even putting out another state record smallmouth this year. Oahe could do a record smallmouth also and I look for an over all improvement in bags sizes hopefully to a 17 to 19 inch size walleye limit being not uncommon.

There are also a lot of nice northern in Oahe now (years of high water/ bait coming back) so these along with the smallmouth will continue to be bonus fish in most anglers catches. Both lake are full of channel cats and white bass with no limit on catfish on Oahe so they will still provide great fishing for those interested.

I will continue to do the fishing reports/ pictures tab again this year in the hope that it will aid you in seeing the size of the fish, the areas we are fishing, the depths we are fishing and the baits we are using. This information can aide you both in planning trips hopefully and saving a little time getting to right depths/areas/baits.

If you are looking for a guide service I would love to have your business or if you need information about the fishing hopefully the fishing reports page will help you out. I will update hunting info later in the summer and try and put projected pheasant numbers out but it should be another great year again in 15. The Pierre area and Lake Oahe /Sharpe continue to be the closest destination for Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa Wyoming anglers to experience the level of fishing we offer so we hope to see you around in 2015.

Bring a skillet because we have a lot of fish that need cooking.

Hutch's Guide Service