South Dakota Fishing Report, June 20-22, 2017

Have you ever fished South Dakota….the land of rolling prairie, wide vistas, and pheasants everywhere?! Good fishing friend Tracy Hayward and I were invited to Kimball, SD, by Steve Schaefer from Sioux Falls. We met Steve a few years ago ice fishing and have ice fished the northeastern corner of South Dakota with him since. Steve invited us to come experience the walleye bite on Lake Frances Case and Lake Sharpe during June. We stayed in an older home converted into a “man cave” for hunting and fishing times by Perry Nugteren and a friend from Sioux Falls. Steve has access to the home and the massive garage storage and shared both with us during our stay. We drove over on Monday, the19th. Over dinner at Club Vega (a block from Perry’s place!), we planned out our fishing Tuesday. Early the next morning, we left for Lake Frances Case at Chamberlain. We slid the Ranger 620 off the trailer and headed out on a beautiful day to wack some walleyes! We spent our first day fishing with crankbaits only. Tracy and I showed Steve the “Dubuque Rig” setup using double Rapala F9’s. We worked our way up toward the dam fishing spots from Steve’s memory bank. We caught lots of shorts under the 15 inch minimum but managed four nice keepers. Steve felt “live bait” rigging would have been a better result. Day two found us taking the hour drive north to Lake Sharpe. We put the Ranger in at the north shore boat ramp and fired up the Evinrude 250 Etec for a fast ride upriver. We pulled bottom bouncers with “slow death” hooks on four foot snells. Tracy and my rigs had a few colored beads ahead of the hook with either a Mack’s Smile blade or a Colored Spin-n-Glow ahead of the beads. The fish hit consistently all day fishing the 17-20 foot break lines near the West Bend area. Steve did well with his setups, too. We had our limit of twelve to clean about 3:30pm so headed off the the lake to cool off from the warm temps at the fish cleaning station. The evening found us back at Club Vega for another fine meal. Day three came with a lot of wind from the north. We went to a boat ramp north of the Reservation but I felt the water was too rough to put the boat in so we went back to the protected north shore ramp. Perry had three friends from Sioux Falls join him in his boat on Thursday so we got to pal around with them on the water. We fished an area just south of West Bend the remainder of the day. I used the 15hp Evinrude kicker to go into the wind upriver while sitting up front using the Minn Kota Ulterra for direction. Once the winds laid down, we were able to troll with just the electric downriver covering our most productive spots. The breakline at 17-18 feet was most productive that day. Both Tracy and I caught a “tagged” walleye–mine was short but his was a keeper. We found later the SDDNR had tagged fish back in April to follow their movements on Sharpe. We had our limits by 3pm so made the run back to the ramp giving “Super Steve” a fast ride on the Ranger! Fish cleaning completed, we headed back to Kimball for a relaxing evening with our fellow anglers. Club Vega was short handed that night so Steve was a bartender and Perry took food orders–only in rural America!! We topped our meal off with an ice cream cone then enjoyed Perry’s fire pit while we went over the day’s catch. Perry took his group out Friday and they were done by noon with their limits! Tracy and I had bid Steve and Perry our goodbyes early Friday and headed back to Cedar Rapids. Tracy and I want to thank Steve for the invite, Perry for his welcoming us to his “man cave”, and the new friends we made. Put these South Dakota waters on your “bucket list” if you haven’t been there! Hope you enjoy the pics, too! Spike

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