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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 letís 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