Your Best Spring Fishing in South Dakota

Your Best Spring Fishing in South Dakota

There's plenty of great spring fishing in South Dakota. Whether you're trout fishing on Castle Creek or walleye fishing on Reetz Lake, these are the tactics you want to use.


South Dakota's Reetz Lake is a place to go if you're looking for a trophy walleye for the wall. The lake has a special limit of one fish over 28 inches. There are plenty of walleyes under that size to keep you busy while looking for the ONE. The lake also has a good population of perch and crappie. A minnow head on a jigging spoon or a lively shiner on a dead stick is hard to beat for the biggest 'eyes, but the perch and crappies tend to key in on the freshwater shrimp that are flourishing in the lake. Use scent-enhance plastics on teardrops for the specs and jumbo yellow-bellies.


High water levels a few years ago produced a bumper crop of northern pike on South Dakota's Lake Oahe. Those pike are now reaching trophy proportions. Northerns in the 10- to 15 — pound range are average. Pike in excess of 20 pounds are common. In the spring, the fat spawn-laden females had for the backs of shallow bays to find warmer water and spawn. Savvy anglers spot dead smelt rigs in their path to tempt the hungry pike. You can lay the baitfish on the bottom or suspend them under a float. Hot bays change from year to year depending on water depth, so anglers need to be mobile and persistent to score. The rewards are giant pike.


Run-off is beginning to subside on streams like Castle Creek in South Dakota's Black Hills in May. The streams still have a brownish tinge, which makes the trout less spooky and easier to approach. The timing also coincides with South Dakota Game and Fish planting schedule. Combination of newly planted trout and holdovers from the previous season means are plenty of targets. Trout are hungry after a winter fast and will eagerly take flies, hardware and live bait.

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