Western Region Fishing

Encompassing nearly one-third of the state, the western region of South Dakota includes the pine-covered mountains of the Black Hills and the spires and gorges of the Badlands.

The Black Hills run nearly 100 miles by 50 miles, and reach elevations of nearly 7,000 feet.  They also contain 14 mountain lakes, and nearly 400 miles of streams. Anglers will the area’s mountain lakes and hundreds of miles of mountain streams rife with brook trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout.

The region also contains more than 50,000 stock dams with northern pike, pan fish, and largemouth bass.   Many of these stock dams are on private land, so be sure to obtain permission before casting on private land.

In the Black Hills, the main species to be caught is the rainbow trout, found in copious amounts in small streams and mountain lakes. When fishing for trout, successful anglers approach streams furtively, avoid sudden movements, and conceal themselves under cover of brush along the banks. Flies and live bait can also assist in snaring trout. During the winter, many fishermen have success with ice fishing in Western South Dakota.

On the prairies of Western South Dakota, a wide-ranging number of bodies of water provide an abundance of fishing opportunities. Anglers can find everything from two acre ponds to 8,000 acre reservoirs. The most popular species in prairie lakes and rivers are walleye, bass, perch, bluegill, crappie, and northern pike.

Below are some quick facts on Western Region fishing:

  • Most Popular Fishing Species: Brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleye, perch, bluegill, cahnnel catfish, northern pike
  • Most Popular Fishing Waters: Deerfield Reservoir, Sylvan Lake, Pactola Reservoir, Stockade Lake, Sheridan Lake, Rapid Creek, French Creek, Spearfish Creek, Spring Creek, Castle Creek, Belle Fourche Reservoir, Angostura Reservoir, Little Missouri River, Murdo Dam
  • Fly Fishing: Elk hair caddis, adams, blue wing olive, hare’s ear nymph, flashback scud nymph in sizes 16-20 or streamers in sizes 4-10
  • Spin Casting: Small spinners, crankbaits, spoons and plugs, crankbaits, jibs with plastic tail bodies
  • Bait Fishing: Salmon eggs, marshmallows, night crawlers, crayfish, frogs, wigglers, leeches, minnows, corn and grasshoppers (in season)


Tags: Fishing

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