- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Rain, rain, go away. That’s what all the fishermen say.

Well, 2015 rains have not been listening.

The unseasonably wet start to the summer has flooded boat ramps, intensified creek waters and forced anglers elsewhere.

Some pro shops advise anglers to wait it out. Others say don’t let this soggy weather dampen your fishing desire. Even with less than ideal weather, a change in location and strategy can help you catch more fish in the worst of conditions.

“When the water’s high, go to the ponds and lakes,” Dakota Angler & Outfitters fishing guide and instructor David Gamet told the Rapid City Journal (https://bit.ly/1KceMLT ).

Anglers are still finding success in smaller bays, side streams and lakes with less runoff and slower, cleaner waters throughout the Black Hills.

Andy Pitsor, a fishing outfitter at Cabela’s, listed Sheridan Lake, Angostura Reservoir and Jenny Gulch in Pactola Lake as top options right now.

No matter where an angler ends up, safety should be their first priority - stay away from flooded creeks and do not wade into swift water; no fish is worth risking your life. People using boats should make sure docking areas are usable before heading out.

Trying to catch fish on high, fast and murky waters comes with a specific set of challenges.

For fly fishermen, Gamet said anglers can do a few things to increase their chances of success. First, keep a lot of weight on the line, so the bait stays low in the water. Try using heavy bug baits; they will stay down below the surface where the fish are feeding. Attach brightly-colored streamers to attract fish in the dirty, dark waters.

“Expect fish to be holding close to the bank,” Gamet said. “Streamers and heavy-weighted bugs are the ticket of the day in this type of water.”

If you are fishing on lakes don’t complicate things. For the most part, minnows always work.

Pitsor has also heard of anglers hitting fish using spoons, in-line spinners, nightcrawlers and power bait. But moving to lakes and small ponds requires keeping lines small.

Generally with lakes, fish rise in the morning and the evening. Both Gamet and Pitsor advised fishing at those times.

“Stick to your smaller stuff for now,” Pitsor said. “(The fish) are fairly shallow.”

Andy Weaver, an employee at The Rooster, said using rattle jigs will help in fast waters. The fast waters usually stir things up, making water murky and harder for fish to see a lure. The sound of the rattle jigs will get a fish’s attention through another sense.

“The lake fishing is pretty good with anything that will make sound,” Weaver said.

Every early summer or late spring will present different challenges. The numerous water options throughout the Hills allow numerous techniques.

“A lot of people are up at Orman (Belle Fourche Reservoir) right now, shore fishing for cats, walleyes and whatever else that bites,” Pitsor said. “If you’re on shore, I would stay away from Pactola for a few days, or a week.”

Still, be ready for some challenges fishing from the shore. Weaver said the fish will be hunkered down in the weeds, which makes them difficult to attack by casting.

Gamet’s pro tip for faster waters is to break streams into smaller sections. With rapid-moving creeks, smaller feeder creeks will be productive because fish will move into slower waters.

But for now, major streams are a no-go.

“For us fly fishermen, it’s great because in the smaller ponds there’s great fishing to be had,” Gamet said. “You use your belly tubes, your kayaks and your catamarans at Custer State Park, Center Lake and Sylvan Lake.”

Pitsor estimates heavy rains have kept most water temperatures in the Black Hills hovering in the 40s. Without the rains, waters in the Hills would usually sit between 55 and 60 degrees. Until the waters warm up fish will be less active.

“Once it hits a certain degree, that’s when everything spawns,” Pitsor said. “With all this rain, it throws everything off.”


Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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